We lost our precious lil' love to AML Leukemia on March 8, 2010. As an incredibly strong family unit, we fought this horrid disease for 2 1/2 years........only for it to come back a fourth time to finally claim Hunter's life. Zen and I are truly devastated and the beautiful light that used to brighten our days and enhance our souls, no longer exists. Our hearts are truly and forever broken. We have a long journey ahead of us, but we are committed and devoted to surviving and living our life embracing Hunter's amazing spirit. With tremendous honor, we will carry on his legacy of love, his legacy of courage and his remarkable ambition to live strong, live fearlessly and live with passion.

You will remain forever in our hearts baby love. We carry you with us every moment of every hour of every day.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Mental Survival

Funny how the mind works.......somedays I feel in control, and other days.......it's completely out of my hands.

I honestly felt as if I was doing "OK" these last few weeks, until Zen made a couple of comments last night in bed. It doesn't take much to trigger any teardrops these days, and all he said, in a round-about way, was that my sparkle is gone. Man did the floodgates open then.....

I guess I was trying to fool myself, and fool others, with my sometimes "fake" smile - but Zen can obviously see right through me.

Even with Ryder's arrival and all of the wonderful things that have happened in our life the last couple of months - I still don't feel "happy". The happy-go-lucky girl that was once inside me, filled with never-ending hope and smiles and wonderful laughter.....sadly enough, no longer exists. I've lost her. And Zen has noticed a "heaviness" to me that seems to be taking over my personality and that truly, truly saddens me. I've never felt this lost or this empty or so hopeless and defeated in my life. I admitted that I am so completely surprised over how much I still continue to think of Hunter. I can't get him out of my mind. He just comes in and takes over and I have to struggle like a mad woman to get my thought process back up to where I can function.

I am breastfeeding Ryder and most times I am completely engaged in him and his beauty and everything that I am doing. I read to him, I sing to him, I recite the alphabet and numbers.....anything I can come up with to enjoy my time with him and NOT think of Hunter. And even with all that going on, in all those feedings, when he's laying in my lap, drinking his milk - I still catch myself looking off into a deep daze - staring off into never-never land. I usually become aware of it once it starts to hurt really bad or my eyes start to swell up with tears - which is when I have to snap myself out of it by looking back down at Ryder. But wow, is it ever challenging me mentally to stay in the moment. I use to be so good at that - that was like our motto - "stay in the moment", "live in the now"........be "present". We didn't know how much time we'd have so we treasured every last moment. And now, it's like that all got flushed down the toilet.

I think my nights have also become increasingly harder because Ryder is up so much during the night eating.....I have to get myself back to sleep around 4-5 times. It was hard enough before getting myself to sleep once, let alone 3 or 4 or 5 times a night. Now my mind races and twists and turns and there's sadness, and emptiness and guilt mixed in with love and joy and sweet precious moments. So conflicting. And to feel all of these emotions and then have to drift off into a sweet sleep is just impossible sometimes. So I then wake up, in a fog, and try to put on my "happy" face to start my day. Sometimes it just feels so artificial I don't even bother. It is what it is.

I, sincerely, crumbled when Zen said my sparkle is gone. I miss that person that once existed. I miss going through life with my ignorant bliss when everything was just perfect. I want to find some resemblance of that being and get it back. I feel as if I am fighting for my life right now. For my life, for mine and Zen's life, for Ryder's life. I can't go on like this. I can't function. I have never wanted to put goals on our grieving - but I'm feeling the need to want to progress to certain stages. I need to hit some stepping stones and get myself through them or else I feel as if I am going to go under.

I feel the need to think about Hunter to keep him close. It seems as if he's already so far away from me - and I truly hate that feeling. It's such an overwhelming feeling of loneliness tied in with extreme heartache. Zen reassured me that I am not doing Hunter a disservice by NOT thinking about him. He's there. He'll always be there - in our minds, in our hearts.....in our memories. He'll never, ever, ever be forgotten. That could just never happen. But, in some strange way - I don't ever want Hunter to think I've forgotten him, or have stopped thinking about him, or just simply replaced him with another child. I want him to always know that he truly changed my life. He brought such a wonderful blessing to every single one of my days. It was my honor and such an amazing treat to be his mother. I couldn't have asked or wished for a more beautiful or loving child. He was my superstar.

Tomorrow is mine and Zen's anniversary. It's also the 6-month mark of Hunter's death. (Once again, another happy day sprinkled with some sadness......but whatever). I want the 6-month mark to be a stepping stone for me, and I also want Hunter's birthday, which is later on this month, to be another stepping stone for me. Positive and happy stepping stones. Beautiful and nurturing stepping stones. Peaceful, warm and comforting stepping stones.

I don't want to miss a beat of Ryder's life. And I don't want my relationship with my husband to become dull and shadowed by sadness. Ryder and Zen are the only things that seem to bring genuine smiles to my face these days. So it's time to start filling my mind with thoughts of THEM. They are here and they need me and I am here and I need them......more than anything else in the world right now.

Ryder in my belly about a week before he entered our lives.


  1. As A Mom I understand the need to be in the moment .You are going through A process 'the Grief Process' There is no time limit on that Hon !You can't rush it or slow it down.Beautiful Hunter will always be with you.There will never be A child that could replace him .Cry when you need to laugh when you can ..Your Sparkle will come through again ,but only in time .You are A super Mom to Ryder as to Hunter !! Zen will always be there and the two of you will come through this together :) I'm praying for your Sweet ,Beautiful Family .You are so Blessed !!
    Your FBook Friend, Andi

  2. Hi Lenore!

    Congratulations on the arrival of Ryder! I attend the same church as Cody and Jessica and I've followed your journey for many months now.

    I know there's no words to comfort anyone during a loss but I can pray that you take time to enjoy Ryder every day. He, too, is a gift sent from God and it's my prayer that he helps you heal--even if it's in small steps.

    It put a smile on my face to "read" that you'd delivered...

    In my prayers,
    Pat Castillo

  3. I look at photos of the past and immediately comes the thought: that's when we were still happy. But I still laugh, so I guess that isn't quite it. Perhaps what's over is happiness as the fundamental tone of my existence. Now sorrow is that.
    Sorrow is no longer the islands but the sea.

    Nicholas Wolterstorff, Lament for a Son

  4. Lenore,

    I wish I had so many things to say to make it better or give you some clever tip but sadly I don't. All I can say is that you have an incredible amount of strength and that I truly honestly wish you were not going through this.

    People all over I am sure think of Hunter, he will never be forgotten. Yesterday I read most of your post from the long weekend and last night when I was putting my son to bed I was looking at him and thinking of Hunter. I hear certain song and for some reason I think of your son. I never met you but his amazing spirit will always be close to me, reminding me to love my children with all of my being EVERY SINGLE DAY!

    The other night I was watching QVC and they had the WEN special.. I know he was one of your sponsers and when he said his dogs name is Hunter my mind went to you.

    I never met your son Lenore but I miss him and I cry (like now at work) and I so SO SO SO much wish things had turned out differently.

    Know that there are many people that are praying for you, for Zen and little Ryder. I know that it will not take the pain.

    ALl my love, smooches and hugs
    Your Stranger Friend

  5. I have never lost a child. I did loose someone very close to me though. And months later, when I still had trouble picking myself up off the floor every morning to start my dreaded day without them, I finally realized something. The person that I loved so much, and loved me back, would be crushed to see me like this. Even more hurt to know that they were the cause of it. They would want better for me, for me to be happy. Hunter doesn't want you to be miserable. Your pain would be heartbreaking for him. He knows how much you love him still and wants you smile. I know it's easier said than done. Everytime you find yourself slipping, just think of what Hunter would want from you. Your going to make it :0)

  6. Hi,
    I know it may feel as if the old you is gone, but she is not. She is sad, she is hurt and she is hiding. You're sparkle will return when the ache is not so tremndous. I know i don't "get it" but I know true depair. And I know true sadness and I know darkeness. The light will shine again.


  7. I know I'm a complete stranger, but I just wanted you to know that I see Hunter at least once a week in the smiles and faces of children that remind me of this wonderful little spirit I never had the chance to know. I stumbled on your blog and, because of this, I hold my sons tighter. I'm more patient of their tantrums. I appreciate their smiles and their kisses more than before, which I never thought was possible. I leave the dishes in the sink now to chase the two year old around the house and allow the floors to remain sticky with spilled juice so I can rock the seven month old for five more minutes before bed.

    I guess what I'm saying is that, when you can't think of Hunter because it may bring you to a place that is so hard to come back from, know that there are a million strangers out here that are thinking of him for you. That he's everywhere because he's in the hearts of those of us that were touched by his short life. I don't know if that will bring you any comfort. I just wanted you to know that your little guy is still so present, still doing his work here, that he could never be far from the parents he so clearly adored.

  8. Hi, Lenore!

    I'm so sorry that it never ends. I think you're entitled to lose your sparkle. It will come back differently but it's only been six months. You're still grieving and always will in some form. While I do agree with you that you shouldn't let it ruin your relationships, as you have much to live for, I think it's still necessary to let yourself feel. My heart is with you and so are my prayers.

    Happy anniversary, by the way! Mine and my husband's is at the end of the month. You're lucky he's your rock. :)

    Also, I don't know how religious/spiritual you guys are, but I thought I'd let you know that today is the Blessed Virgin Mary's birthday! I'm sure She's with you, one mother to another. :)

  9. This entry breaks my heart for so many reasons. You spent three years battling the Cancer that took your sons life. To have to deal with that is overwhelming. Add to that the hormonal issues that come with giving birth and the lack of sleep that comes with a newborn is just mind boggling to me. Have you considered talking to a therapist? It helped my friend deal with the loss of her son. You have a great marriage to Zen where you talk things out, but sometimes talking to someone outside of the house can help sort out your feelings in a different way. Its never something you can get over, but its about finding a way to make your life work as best as you can given the crappy circumstances you were given. I know someday you will sparkle again...maybe a different kind of a sparkle but a sparkle just the same.

  10. I am so very thankful for all of my online "therapists".....seriously. All of your wonderful words of encouragement & all of your shared stories that arrived yesterday through emails, comments & posts helped me tremendously. I cannot express enough how very grateful I am for all of your love. I feel many arms wrapped tightly around my family.

  11. Janet Melton Byrum - sending you hugs.....xxoo

  12. Emily Perry-Tresser - OH Lenore.... tomorrow on many levels. The strength that comes from all that has happened -is you and Zen, together.

    Happy anniversary to the most beautiful,connected and "full of chemistry" couple. May you continue to get through each day. Thank goodness Zen is keeping an eye on your spark. He is such a love.
    But your hormones and emotions are a bit stronger right now. Allow yourself to rest. I wish I lived closer. I would love to go for walks with you and the babe in the stroller. And then we could find our way to ice cream!

    I don't know about the process of healing after the death of a child, but, all I can say is, don't stop writing. And I hope you and Zen hold each other extra tight tomorrow. < I know you will>

  13. Tammy Muffett Bottemiller - I wish so badly I could take away your heartache...i'm so sorry

  14. Cathy Donovan Holt - Lenore, Hunter's ceremony was beautiful and profound. The love that pours out of you all for him still and always is infectious.

    Wishing I had perfect words or the perfect hug to make your heart find the peace you so deserve.

    Like I said and will always say, Hunter makes me strive to be a better Mommy. His never-ending gift....
    xooxox to you all xoxooxoxo

  15. Brandi Gilpatrick - Lenore, I only Know you from fb and vikki.. I read your blog and just couldnt imagin the pain. Is All I do know is that you and Zen are amazing people.. Hunter was very lucky to have you two as parents and Ryders is Lucky too! You both are Inspiring and strong. Like Elleigh said It takes time.. ♥

  16. Corrin Crone Phillips - Oh Lenore, how I have loved following you along your path. This post was beautiful and hope filled. You will always be that girl, she is in you and whether you believe it or not, she is there inside of you urging you forward. I love you sweet one, don't give up the fight. You WILL shine again.

    And never forget the depth of love; sparkle and laughter isn't all it's about. Love is multidimentional, just as you are. Which is why Toddy loves you so much (why we all love you).

  17. Katie Drake - Thinking of you today. Love you. K

  18. Chris Schmitt - Saw this quote today and thought of you.

    Perhaps they are not the stars, but rather openings in Heaven where the love of our lost ones pours through and shines down upon us to let us know they are happy. ~Author Unknown

  19. Monica Raber Miyashita - I love reading your writing....it is so authentic, and really expresses many of the same emotions I have had. Thank you for your honesty, and for being willing to put yourself out there and help the rest of us heal as well. God Bless!

  20. Hadley Fried - agreed^...

  21. Jelena Djurdjanovic - Sweet Lenore, don't forget your hormones are still all over the place right now. You haven't lost your sparkle it's still there! It will just take a little time. Don't worry about anything right now just enjoy life minute by minute.

  22. Raina O'Hare - sweetheart you just had a baby! A newborn is a beautiful and wonderful thing but there is so much mental downtime - especially during those late night feedings when the world is quiet around you...it's enough for even those of us without your added burden of grief to lose some of our 'sparkle'. I know personally that is a hard time for me to keep the melancholy away. I always have my phone along and i'll play scrabble or 'words with friends' or any other little game or app. hang in there!

  23. Tami Sullivan - Raina is so right, I remember those downtimes and getting up at night and all. You have been through so much trauma these last few years and even tho babies are amazing gifts, I got a little depression with each of mine. I just pray God's big strong arms around you girl!

  24. Tami Sullivan - I just re-read what I wrote and it's so inadequate.....I hurt for you. It's just the most unfair thing I can imagine someone experiencing.

  25. Cathy Donovan Holt - Oh sweet, sweet girl. I have no words nor advice on how to make your heart feel better. Living in the moment masks pain that is still inside of you and always will be. Dealing with that pain I guess is something everyone needs to find out how to do on thier own. No one is the same, and no one thing works for everyone.
    For now, Tell Ryder about happy times, good times, times that made your belly burst with laughter. He will LOVE hearing about his big brother. Heck, who would not? Hunter was a blessing burst of sunshine that made hearts happy, and break all over the world. His goodness MUST prevail....

    Hugs, Hugs, Hugs to you! xooxox Cathy

  26. Mary Kay Patrick - Dearest Lenore, Your words are authentic and raw. Please know that the grief and post-partem hormones make for some mental chaos. Your sparkle is still with you but hiding for the present. There will come a time that it will be happen...like layers of an onion the grief will peel away and the sparkle will return. Hunter is always here with you, part of your beautiful family. As always, Love & Light, MK

  27. Jenna L. Berndl - Those days are going to happen and you are entitled to every teardrop, breakdown and temper tantrum. Let yourself feel your emotions as it is a part of healing and know that you have so many people who are here for you and love you sooooo sooo much!!!

  28. Lenore, can I come out to your house for a visit? Maybe next week? I need to hold that baby, and give you a big hug as well...I still have the Champagne chilling...Wishing you strength and peace of mind...it's all a matter of time...remember, baby steps when healing your heart...