Three and a half years ago I said hello and goodbye to my sweet baby Ty. He passed away shortly after birth due to a placental abnormality that caused him to lose most of his blood several times before birth. His poor little body tried hard but couldn’t recover from the long-term, severe blood loss. Unfortunately we had no idea how sick he was until after he was born. I originally wrote these journal entries at CaringBridge.org. I have been wanting to share them here in chronological order to go along with some of my other writings that deal with loss and grief. Grab your tissue box or handkerchief and join me for this short chronicle of love, loss and healing. When I re-read these journal entries, it is the sense of gratitude that stands out to me. That and the sea shells!
Written Apr 2, 2010 9:43pm
We will let him go from our world, but never from our hearts. Just before 8:00 tonight, we said goodbye to little Ty. He went peacefully in the loving arms of his parents, surrounded by friends and family. Thank you all for your support and love.
Written Apr 10, 2010 9:09am
It’s hard to believe it has been a little over a week since we said goodbye to our little angel. In many ways, we feel that he is still with us. We want to thank our friends and family for helping to ease this difficult time for us. Your caringbridge.org guestbook messages, cards and more have let us know that we are not alone in our suffering. Ty touched many hearts with his short life. We are grateful for the time we got to spend with him and the memories that we made.
Written May 1, 2010 12:25pm
How can one tiny baby give so much and touch so many lives? Ty has cracked open all of our hearts and showed us what is inside. He inspires us to love each other more and be better people. Cards and memorials continue to arrive daily. Thank you to everyone who has reached out to honor Ty and show us love and compassion for our grief. All of this affection and generosity has sustained us through these difficult weeks.
Here is a partial list of memorials to Ty:
8 donations to Caringbridge,
donations to NILMDTS
at least 3 donations to the Ronald McDonald House,
a donation to the Meriter NICU,
two friends walking for Ty in the March of Dimes March for Babies,
a brick at Rotary Gardens,
a memorial scholarship to Cornell College
a plum-tree and a cherry tree,
an oak tree,
plants and flowers,
a memorial garden.
In addition, I have been able to donate “Ty’s milk” to the Mother’s Milk Bank of Ohio, where it will be used to nourish other babies in need. I want to say a special thank you to the friends and family members who have kept us nourished during the last four weeks. Your food also serves to nourish the babies who will be receiving Ty’s milk.
Written May 3, 2010 8:18am
It is never easy to lose someone you love. Losing Ty, we also lose our hopes and dreams for his sweet life. We feel so blessed to have the support and love of friends and family during this time. You have all been cradling us in your hearts and thoughts and prayers as we cradled Ty during his short time with us. We have received hundreds of cards and kind words during this past month. Please know that every card, visit, phone call, and electronic message touches us in a unique way and helps us cope. I want to share some writings that I have found especially helpful.
Three years ago, when AJ was a baby, I opened up my new issue of Mothering Magazine to an article about a family who lost their baby daughter to an umbilical cord accident. As I read the article, I curled up on the couch and cried my eyes out. As a sensitive soul and also a mother, I could imagine the incredible pain of losing a baby, though I really didn’t want to imagine it. Recently, I re-read the article and found that I still cry my eyes out, even more than before. I also find that it offers me hope and comfort in knowing that I will always be a mother to Ty. I am proud to be his mother and forever thankful that I have been able to share his short life with so many wonderful people. Here is a link to the article.
A friend who recently gave birth to a baby boy of her own sent the following card:
“Love begins before a baby is born. . .
and that love will live forever in your heart.
When you lose a baby, you lose not only the promise of a very special human being, but you lose many beautiful hopes and dreams as well. That’s why, at this sad and difficult time, you have the caring thoughts and sympathy of so many.”
Many many thanks to all of you who have opened your hearts to let yourselves be touched by Ty’s story.
Written Jun 5, 2010 9:58am
Written Jun 17, 2010 7:00am
My sister, Carrie, put together this beautiful slide show in memory of Ty. Thank you, Carrie.
Written Dec 28, 2010 5:03pm
We are thankful to all of our friends and family and the staff at Meriter, who have continued to show us love and support during this difficult year. We are especially thankful for the Christmas gifts in memory of Ty. You helped us feel his presence during the holiday season.
It seems like having Ty in our lives has made our hearts a little more fragile. This means that the tears still come easily. To me, however, it also feels like our joy is a little more joyous. Tears of joy can come from the simplest and most unexpected places, and every little blessing is accepted with awe and gratitude. We look forward to a New Year full of more blessings and joy.
One Year Later
Written Apr 2, 2011 5:40am
Of all the uses of the word, my favorite is TY, an abbreviation for “Thank You.” Today I choose to focus on Thank You. I’m thankful for the five days of hope we had in the hospital. I’m thankful for getting to see and hold my baby all pink and beautiful. Most of all, I am thankful for the friends and family who have reached out and supported us throughout everything.
In this past year, we’ve said goodbye to other friends and family as they have joined Ty in Heaven. Some dear friends have also moved away. Two families who were very close to us and to Ty are moving to other states this week. These goodbyes are never easy. Because Ty has tied us together, we know that we will always be present in each others’ lives regardless of physical distance.
TY. Thank you for being in our lives. Thank you for your many gifts. Thank you for the comfort we have when we think of you in Heaven with our departed loved ones. Thank you for the friendships we have strengthened in the past year. You are never far from our minds and hearts. We are forever better for having known you.
Ty’s 2nd Birthday
Written Mar 26, 2012 10:01am
“I tell you this to break your heart, by which I mean only that it break open and never close again to the rest of the world.” – Mary Oliver
As we get ready to celebrate our Ty’s second birthday in just a few days, I pause to reflect on the past year. It has been a good one, though I can’t say that it has been all easy. Though our family has seen many blessings, I’d have to say that the year has been more about bringing us personal growth. Sometimes it seems that our challenges really do make us stronger, if we choose to let them. Personal growth and grief are similar in that they both rarely happen in a straight line. There will always be setbacks and difficult days. Ty opened up many of our hearts. Being open can make us more vulnerable to the suffering around us. At the same time, we are more open to experiencing the love that is around us and within us every day. For Ty, I try my best to live in that love, for it is during those times of love that I feel the most connection with my dear angel boy.
Some say that those whom we love never truly leave us. I used to think that it was our memories of time spent with our loved ones that kept them alive in our hearts. When an infant or child passes on, we can easily feel shortchanged in the memory department. We cherish photos, footprints, anything we can hold. Meanwhile there is a child growing up in heaven who I know stays with us spiritually in some way.
I really believe that Ty is still a part of my life, and I’m learning that other parents who have lost children feel the same way about their angel kids. When my grandmother lost her baby boy, Doug, she began finding stones that were in the shape of a baby’s foot. She believes that Doug sent her these stones to show her that he is still with us. Similarly, AJ and I have been finding tiny seashells in some of the strangest places. It seems that we find the seashells whenever we are moving in a positive direction with our lives: on a spiritual retreat, getting in the car to go to Faith’s Lodge, moving into our new apartment. It’s true that the seashell connection may be all in my head, but I still hope to find more seashells. There are other coincidences that I sometimes ponder. For example, our address contains both Ty’s birthday and the name of the holiday on which he was born. Did Ty want us to live here? The place definitely suits us. (I can’t take credit for figuring out either of these coincidences, by the way. It was my mom who noticed the date and AJ who pointed out the street name.)
Our family said goodbye to some dear friends this year. Marnie, who taught us to live life bravely to the fullest, promised to find Ty in Heaven so that she could rock him and give him our love. Thanks, Marnie, for your faith and love. Cinder Cat, my loyal companion of seventeen years, also passed on. These changes have been especially challenging for AJ, who will revisit her early losses throughout her life as she reaches the various developmental stages that allow her to process her grief on different levels. Though I know that these early experiences will make her strong and compassionate, I still would choose to protect her from the pain if I could.
Though I don’t openly grieve very often, Ty is never far from my heart. It is impossible to see other babies and two-year-old boys without wondering what Ty would have been like at these ages. As I write this update, I am preparing to support my best friend as she gives birth to her third son. Is it mere coincidence that her baby boy is due around the time of Ty’s birth and passing? I know that we will share many tears as she brings her boy into the world, mostly tears of joy. It has been a joy to be close to her throughout the pregnancy, as I remember how my pregnancy with Ty was such a joy and a gift. I truly loved carrying him and feeling him grow and move. I don’t know if I will ever get the chance to have another baby, but I find that I’m very brave and open to the possibilities. At the same time, I have a sense of peace in knowing that life is as it should be. I can’t change the past any more than I can predict the future. I think Ty would want us to enjoy the present and to live with an open mind and an open heart. I know that wherever he is, his essence is pure love. I could use tragedy as an excuse to close my heart to love, but I find that my heart has been broken open and will most likely remain open in a very positive (though sometimes painful) way! I hope that Ty’s short life has had a positive impact on your heart as well.
All the best,
Written Apr 2, 2012 11:33pm
How amazing that today I found myself holding a sweet new baby boy as he took his very first breath! There are no words to describe the awe and joy that I felt as I helped pass this beautiful, healthy, crying boy into his dear momma’s waiting arms in the birthing pool. I am honored that I was so intimately involved in his birth. I am also glad that I didn’t let my own grief and fears prevent me from being a part of such an amazing event.
If you have read my previous entries, you know about my connection to sea shells. We used a sea shell in Ty’s baptism and received another one as a gift upon leaving the hospital. Since then, AJ and I have found sea shells in some pretty unusual places, seemingly whenever we have been doing something that was particularly good for us spiritually. After the birth today, I wanted to pick AJ up from school a little early and tell her the good news. As we walked out of her school, there on the sidewalk was a perfect sea shell.
Ty’s 3rd Birthday
Written Mar 28, 2013 9:01pm
Ty is three years old in Heaven today. So much has happened in just three years, yet not a day goes by without thoughts of my sweet boy. As the Easter season comes around, I think about him even more. I also remember all the wonderful friends and family who were there with love and support through the entire week and through the last three years. I’m so thankful to all of you. If I haven’t thanked you personally or recently, please know that your kindness will never be forgotten.
This year in particular has seen a whirlwind of change with a new job, new relationship, new marriage, new house (complete with sea shells) and new hopes and dreams. Today we visited the cemetery and found that Ty’s grave is not only near my own great grandparents but also right across from my husband’s grandparents and great grandparents. To me this seems like another big coincidence in a long string of wonderful synchronicities that keep me going when the winter seems long and I wonder if I’m on the right track.
Ty’s sister AJ is doing well. She is truly the happiest I have ever seen her. She is thoughtful and caring but also very clever and funny. I sometimes wonder what Ty’s personality would be. I imagine him as sweet but mischievous. I think of him looking out for his big sister and the rest of his family as he grows up in Heaven. I think he also sends us signs from time to time and maybe even plays a few jokes on us.
Happy birthday, Ty!