Friday, May 29, 2009

The Day Evan Earned His Wings

Part II

The next morning, Noah came into our room and woke us up. Being the fact that Evan was up coughing, I wanted to let him sleep. We all went downstairs to eat breakfast. 8:00 came and Evan was still not up. I was sitting on the couch with a very unsettled feeling. I grabbed Noah and we started up the stairs to Evan's room. We walked into his room calling Evan's name. Evan was sleeping on the top of his bunk bed facing the wall. I said to him, "Evan! It's time to get up!" I knew instantly that something was wrong! I pushed on his little back and felt the coldness through his shirt. I then stepped up on the side of the bed in a panic and saw my precious little boy just laying there. I touched his arm and he was so cold and stiff. His color was very yellow with purple spots all over his face. I began screaming hysterically. I kept telling Evan to wake up and that he had a ballgame to get ready for! In my mind, I thought that Nate would be able to wake him and that this wasn't really happening. Nate came running up the stairs and rushed into Evan's room. I remember pacing back and forth screaming what happened? Nate was yelling over and over "oh God not my son!" Our precious little boy was gone and there was nothing anyone could do to save him. Our lives were shattered!

Nate told me to call 911. I remember making the call, but I have no idea what I told them. The next thing we knew, our house was flooded with cops, pastors, family, friends, and worst of all, the coroner. This was and still is every parents worst nightmare. How could our child just have died in his bed where he is suppose to be the safest? How could this have been our Evan? Experiencing true "shock" is such a terrible feeling. The police officers and coroners were questioning us about fevers, medicine, and whatever else they could think of. We were treated with nothing but respect and compassion the entire time.

I kept thinking that someone was truly going to wake me up from this dreadful nightmare. How could this have happened?? The coroner bent down to me asking about medication and what I gave Evan. Cough medicine and motrin were the only two. I remember asking him who he was. He replied, "honey, I am the coroner." Reality set in! This was very much real and happening to my family. My emotional state turned from shock to complete hysteria. I don't remember much after that, but I remember hyperventilating and seeing everyone's shoes because I couldn't get up off the floor. I also remember screaming at the coroner that Evan needed to eat breakfast before they took him. In times of sheer tragedy, I don't think the mind is capable of working right. And also, Evan was suppose to have a T-ball game, not an autopsy. The mere thought is absolutely horrific! I know that it had to be done, but the thought of that was enough to make anyone crazy.

Usually the scene of the "event" is suppose to be preserved. They were incredibly gracious to us and let our family go back up to his room and say goodbye before taking him. I crawled in his bed and looked at his innocent little face. Tearful and shaking horribly, I told him that I loved him very much and I was so sorry I couldn't save him. I kissed his cold little cheek. Nate talked to him also, but I don't' remember much of what he said. Everyone stood in a circle and prayed. My little boy was being taken away, never to come back and sleep in his own room.

The following days were such a whirlwind! It was like walking through a tornado and everyone was spinning around us. I couldn't even comprehend anything anyone said. We were suppose to be heading to Disney World, and there we were, sitting in a funeral home picking out Evan's casket! Tragedy struck our perfect little family. How were we going to plan a funeral for our 6-year old? More importantly, how do we live the rest of our lives without Evan???

Thursday, May 28, 2009

When Our World Changed Forever

Part 1

Many have already asked me if I was planning on writing about Evan's death. Well, knowing what a difficult endeavor this could be, I figured at least I would start before the 1st anniversary.
I think it is certainly important to talk about the Friday evening before he passed away.

I got him off the bus at 4:00 as usual and took him to a friends house to play. Nate picked him up after he got off work. My mother stopped by with her sister who was in town from Oregon. Evan of course begged my mom to go with her to spend the night. In six years, my mother never told Evan "no" about anything. On this evening she said no and that Evan could go spend the night on Sunday or later that week.

We had dinner as usual. Evan ate pork tenderloin and asparagus, his favorite vegetable. Weird,I know. At dinner, we were discussing the fact that Evan had a T-ball game the next morning. He was really happy about that. After dinner, I gave the boys their baths. We then settled down to watch the Cardinals game on TV. Out of nowhere, Evan began crying. This was not wining or moaning, this was full blown crying. Those who knew Evan would tell you that he never cried about anything. He was usually a content child that never got upset at little things. Evan was hysterical about T-ball. Nate and I looked at each other with amazement. Earlier, he was excited about his game in the morning, and all of a sudden he didn't want to play anymore. He was running a low grade fever and had a cough, so I attributed this to him not feeling well. He continued crying, saying how he was not any good at t-ball and that he didn't want to play anymore. He was also rambling other things that really didn't make sense. We went ahead and put Noah to bed. I sat on the couch and Evan layed across my lap. Nate sat by us and we both spent about an hour telling him how proud of him we were and how much we loved him. I specifically remember Nate saying, "Buddy, we don't care if you're any good at t-ball, we just want to see you have fun." We spent so much time telling him we loved him. I sat there and hugged him tight and wiped away his little tears. I looked down at him and said, "Let's go to bed a pray for Jesus to give you courage to play t-ball." So, we got up and Evan gave Nate a kiss and a hug. We then headed upstairs. Evan even asked if I would carry him up the stairs. This was the first time in a long time that I carried him anywhere! We got to his room and he climbed in bed. I tucked him in and we prayed together. I said to Evan, "Goodnight sweetheart, I love you". He said "I love you too mom." This was the last time I ever heard his little voice. Little did we know that we would never again hold him or talk to him.

We had a pretty severe storm that evening. After putting Evan to bed, we sat in the sun room and watched the sky filled with reds, purples, and blues. I remember telling Nate just how beautiful the sky looked. Shortly after, the power went out. I remember it getting hot in the house and Evan's coughing had gotten worse. I gave him cough medicine around midnight. He sat up, took the medicine, and went right back down. That was the last time I saw his little face while he was alive.

After losing Evan, I look back at this night in amazement. What a gift from God! The evening was just so out of the ordinary. It wasn't normal for Evan to be so emotional. I now realize that we were given the chance to say goodbye to Evan and we didn't even know it. Our last moments were filled with hugs, kisses,and prayers.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Happy 7th Birthday Evan!

On May 24, 2002, God blessed us with the most beautiful little boy I had ever seen! Little did I know that I would only have six short years with Evan. Here are some pictures from his parties last year. Yes, he had two parties, one family and the other was with friends from school. Evan was really into Scooby Doo, so that was the theme. These were that last pictures of him ever taken.

May has probably been the hardest since Evan died. With Mother's Day, his birthday, the day he passed away, and not to mention, many of his little friends turned seven this month, it has been a struggle. I kept thinking of all the parties that I didn't get to take him to. The thought of celebrating Evan's birthday this year was tormenting. How do we celebrate without Evan here with us? The entire week leading up to his birthday was awful. Evan should be turning seven years old. We should have spent all week preparing for his birthday party! That just wasn't meant to be. Instead, we went to the cemetery to release balloons in his honor. We released seven red balloons with spider webs on them in honor of his seventh birthday. We then released lots of other balloons of various colors for people to write messages on. It was so sweet to watch them soar up to Heaven!

Throughout our journey, we have been so incredibly blessed with love and support. Thank you to everyone who helped make this day so special!!

And most of all, thank you God for such an awesome little boy!
Happy Birthday Evan! We love you and miss you very much!!!

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Mother's Day

I have truly been dreading Mother's Day for quite sometime. I think just the anticipation of my first Mother's Day without Evan was enough to cause anxiety. Last week Nathan asked me what I wanted to do on Mother's Day. Just that question alone was enough to start the tears flowing. After the dedication at Evan's school, I decided that I wanted to plant a tree in our yard for Evan. So, that is what we did. We planted a flowering cherry tree in our front yard. On this day I did not want to be honored, but instead honor Evan. So after bringing this extremely heavy tree home, we dug the hole, and planted our tree. We also wanted to make this special for Noah by involving him. So after digging the hole, Noah jumped in! That was his part in planting the tree!!

I also planted flowers. You may now be asking why this is relevant. Well, last year at this time I planted my burm full of petunia's, as I do every year. Evan walked up to me last year and asked if he could help. I graciously accepted his offer. At the time, I was wondering why he choose to help me instead of riding his bike or playing with friends. Anyway, Evan and I spent 2-3 hours planting flowers. He would dig a hole and ask, "is it deep enough yet mom?". He always wanted everything to be just right. He stayed by my side faithfully until all of the flowers were planted.

Evan was suppose to graduate Kindergarten on Monday, June 2nd of last year. He passed away just two days before. Nate and I attended the little ceremony that was held. During the ceremony, the Kindergartners were asked to read what they wanted to do that summer. Evan said that he wanted to plant flowers! This is something that I will hold in my heart forever. We were getting ready to go to Disney World in June and of all the things he wanted to do, was plant flowers. How awesome is that! I still cannot believe such a simple thing made such an impression to a 6-year old. Sometimes in life we take the small things for granted. It doesn't take much to reach the heart of a small child. Planting flowers with me was very special to Evan and I will hold that dear to me forever.

So, today I planted flowers. Yes, it was extremely bittersweet. I did not have Evan by my side this time. Although I have been anxious about this day coming, I actually had a sense of peace. I planted my flowers thinking of Evan every step of they way. I know that no matter what I do or where I go, Evan is always with me.

On this day, I also focused on how incredibly blessed I am to be a mommy! Noah just kept me going all day. He is just so full of energy and giggles that one cannot help but to smile. Thank you God for my precious children!

"Mothers hold their children's hands for a short while, but their hearts forever."

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

In Memory of Evan

On Monday, Evan's school conducted a Memorial Dedication in his honor. It was so sweet and so special. Back in September, the school had a small fundraiser to raise money for a bench, a plaque, and a maple tree. The bench was red and below it the plaque depicted Spiderman and my favorite quote. Everything was set up just across from the playground where he played. I am certain that Evan would be proud, being the fact that he LOVED recess! We also sent bubbles up to Heaven!

The dedication was certainly moving, yet hard all at the same time. Some of Evan's classmates from last year also attended. Seeing how much they have all grown in a year was hard. They have all changed so much. Of course this made me wonder what Evan would be like today. I know that it has not been long since Evan died, but I will never again get to see how he changes. He will always be 6 years old to us.

One little boy was wearing his T-ball shirt from last year, which had #4 on the sleeve. Evan's T-ball number was 4. It was so great to see him wearing his shirt in honor of Evan. After Evan passed away, all the little boys had his number put on their sleeve. While I was thinking of T-ball, I figured I would share this picture. I absolutely love his sweet little smile in this picture. And of course, that is daddy in the background with the video camera!

Getting to see Evan's teacher and principle was also wonderful! Evan loved his teacher very much. I can only pray that Noah will be lucky enough to have her when he gets to Kindergarten. It will also be so special for Noah to play on the playground where there is a Memorial dedicated to his big brother. Notice I said when! I am really trying hard to think positive about our future.

Nathan and I were so moved by this dedication! It is truly amazing how many people came together to honor our son. There are so many people that we cannot even begin to thank. This is yet again, another blessing in the midst of tragedy...

"While we try and teach our children all about life, our children teach us what life is all about."