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child loss, Faith, Family, grief, Infant Loss, SIDS

5 Things I’ve Learned Since the Death of My Son

Sudden Infant Death Syndrome is the leading cause of death in infants under one year of age, yet I never believed that SIDS would claim my precious, healthy, and SO loved nine-week-old son, Markie Gordon Montañez. Today, September 24th, marks the one-year anniversary of the day that I lost a son became a Mommy to an Angel.

Analyzing all that has happened this past year, including marrying the man of my dreams, I realize that due to my son’s death, I have dived deeper and gone farther in the quest of learning more about myself, figuring out my purpose, and discovering who I truly am.

I have a deep understanding NOW of how hard it can be to continue to move forward in life, and get up, showered, dressed, ANDDDD still manage to put on make-up to appear not completely insane “normal” to the outside world, each and every day, when all you truly desire is to go back in time, sulk in bed, or drown your sorrows.

I realize NOW the power of deep, passionate, unconditional love, and how special time shared between loved ones really is. I treasure the time that my friends and family have taken out of their day to spend with me or even share kind words and uplifting messages to my husband, Marcus, and I. Y’all truly do not know how MUCH each simple, sweet message means.

I also NOW know what it is like to be in this strange, awkward, un-talked about group in society. Are we parents? What do I say when people ask my husband and I do we have a kid? How am I supposed to respond to the people who STILL (a full year later) ask how the baby is??

To narrow down all of these feelings into a single blog post, without ranting on forever, here are the 5 Things That I’ve Learned Since The Death of My Son.

1. You literally HAVE to surrender.

Okay, so I guess you don’t REALLY have to surrender, but it sure helps. When everything first happened, I had a ZILLION questions.

“What happened to my son?”

“Why did this happen to my son?”

“How could this happen to my son?”

“What did I do wrong?”

“Why would God let ANOTHER person close to me just die?”

“How am I going to move on from this?”

“What in the world is happening to ME?!?!”

If you take a look at all of those questions, only one thing is the same in each question.

ME & I.

AKAEGO.

I know there is nothing humanly or scientifically possible that can be done be done to bring my son back (trust me, I’ve Googled it more times than I’ll admit), so why do I punish myself with all of these selfish, self-centered questions, that will literally get me nowhere?

In order to grow, I must LET IT GO, surrender my worries to The Universe, and continue to move forward with my life, while still cherishing and nurturing the memory of my sweet Markie.

If I choose to drive myself absolutely insane with the “what-ifs”, I won’t be able to enjoy the now. Surrendering is a daily thing. Over time, and with LOTS of practice, I’ve grown better at surrendering to every situation.

As my father always told me, “98% of what happens around you is outside of your control. Focus on your 2%.”

2. It’s OK to not be okay.

If you wake up and want to cry, do it. Stop holding it in. Stop telling people to put their chin up. Somedays are REALLY hard. Men, also, need to let it out. Crying is NOTHING to be ashamed of. You don’t ALWAYS have to put on a smile. Going through these emotions allow for the grieving process to actually take place. And even if you are not grieving anything, it is OK to not be okay! We are only human and I guarantee that after you have yourself a nice good cry, you will feel SO much better. Communication to others, for myself it’s talking to my family, best friends, and husband, about how I feel, why I feel, and what I am feeling help in my recovery process. Which leads me to my next point…

3. The people who CHOOSE to be in your support system WILL make themselves known, while others fall by the wayside.

If you would have asked me a year ago, “Who would be in your support system if you lost your son today?” I promise you, I would have given a list of names of people that I have not talked to in *now* over a year.

The few friends people I assumed would be there, wanting to be supportive and either call or text me to check in to see how I am doing, have hidden in the shadows, only throwing an occasional like here and there on a social media post about my son, but remaining completely silent otherwise. (I still have the same number, y’all!)

I don’t miss those friends people, but I do catch myself asking why they are no longer apart of my life. To be honest, they probably don’t know what to say to me. Heck, I don’t think I would even know what to say to me, but that’s no excuse to not say anything.

If someone you know and love is going through something, a simple I love you and I’m thinking of you goes a VERY long way. Remember that if you find yourself asking what you can do to help.

…but to get away from the one’s who don’t deserve praise, let’s bring up those that do.

I have been so BLESSED to have the AMAZING friends and family I do. This past Mother’s Day, as well as again on Markie’s birthday, I had two different friends send me just the cutest, sweetest, little gifts. (PS my love language IS gift giving, so y’all rock! It’s like y’all know me or something, hehe) These two amazing human beings really mean a lot to me, and although they both live out of state, they have been there for me 150% of the time when I needed them.

I have gotten many phone calls, text messages, and even a letter(!!), from old friends. Friends that I hadn’t seen or been in regular contact with since my middle school days, went out of their way to let me know that they are sending their love, prayers, thoughts, and blessings towards me and mine, during this difficult time.

Because of y’all, I know that whatever I go through, I am NEVER alone.

4. There is no RIGHT way to grieve.

Nothing is right, when everything is wrong.

If you want to pretend like everything is OK (like I did for probably, eh, the first month), do it. You WILL experience the ups and downs of the grieving process and at some point, whether it’s today or a decade from now, your feelings will eventually come spilling out.

My husband likes to go on runs with our dog, Maverick, when he gets caught up in his feelings. I prefer to go take a walk through the breaking waves on North Clearwater Beach. There is no RIGHT answer, so if people tell you something, and you don’t agree, take it with a grain of salt. That may be what works for them, but could be absolutely detrimental to you.

According to Elisabeth Kübler Ross and David Kessler, the five stages of grief are denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance. These five steps are a part of the foundation of learning to deal with a loved one who is gone.

The stages of grief are in fact, interchangeable. Sometimes you will find yourself screaming, “WHY DID THIS HAPPEN?!” one minute, and then the very next second, you’re bargaining with The Man Upstairs begging, “Please bring my child back, and in place, take my life! I’m not even that great of a person anyways.

Grieving is not an overnight process, and there really is no tell-tale sign of when you are “done grieving.” Acceptance takes time, and is the hardest stage of grieve to go through. No one wants to believe their loved one is gone. People have a hard time losing a lover, let alone a child.

I continue to have to accept what happened daily, because I knew the internal turmoil I put myself through when I choose not to surrender to what is, is detrimental and devastating to my sanity and serenity.

I don’t think I will ever be done mourning the loss of my son, but I do know that…

5. Time doesn’t “heal”, but it SURE helps!

Time does not heal all wounds, but it sure as hell makes the pain hurt less.

I am so thankful and blessed to have spent the time with my son that I did. My now-husband, then baby daddy, allowed me to take online classes and work from home, so that I was able to be a stay-at-home mom, and spend every waking moment with our sweet baby.

Marcus, I don’t tell you this enough, but you are a great man, an even better husband, and literally the best father this world has ever seen.

So far, my husband and I have taken three major trips since our son passed, with our fourth scheduled in two weeks. While we can, and do, go out and enjoy ourselves, I won’t lie, it gets hard. On Christmas morning, at my husband’s grandmother’s house in New Jersey, I sat outside on her porch, crying, yearning for my sweet boy to be here, with us, to celebrate his first Christmas with his huge, loving, Puerto Rican family.

When we were down in Puerto Rico for our Honeymoon, I did not cry over the fact that my son wasn’t there, I was happy that because of my belief in God, I know that my son is in Heaven above, with my mother and grandmother, watching over my husband and I. I am thankful that even though we lost the most important person in our lives, our little love creation, we are STILL able to continue making happy memories by traveling the world, all the while growing closer to each other. The loss of our son, truly solidified our love for each other. (For those who don’t know, we had a small wedding the day after our son’s memorial, only two short weeks after.)

Time passes and memories, unfortunately, start to fade. Our generation is so blessed to live in an age with technology AND live in an age where Mom’s take a jillion pictures of their children each and every day. **Thank you, Snapchat!** 

My heart goes out to those who find themselves in the same situation I am in. Any loss of a child is tough; whether you lost your 35-year-old son to addiction OR you lost your unborn, unannounced child, privately in your home through a miscarriage.

Losing a child is THE absolute hardest thing a parent EVER has to go through. While we are not in this alone, and the battle is an ongoing one, know that you WILL live to see another day, the crying WILL begin to slow down, you WILL be able to smile and be happy again, and the next day WILL be a little easier, if you learn to let go and surrender to what is.

If my words help at least one other person, I believe that blogging about my story on  SIDS Sucks, was well worth it. Feel free to share your story with me in a comment below, or message me directly on my contact page. I would love the chance to remember the joys of our Angel Babies, together.

“I’ll love you forever, I’ll like you for always, As long as I’m living, My baby you’ll be.”

**Mommy, Daddy, Maverick and family miss you SO much, Markie Mark! We will always remember our Grumpy Pants. Rest in Peace, Marcus Gordon Montañez, Born on 7/18/16 – Taken Home on Angel’s Wings 9/24/16**

 

 

 

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Baby, child loss, Family, grief, Infant Loss, Uncategorized

Accepting the Unacceptable

I wake up, roll over to grab my glasses, and like most 23-year-olds these days, unlock my phone and immediately check Facebook. This has become a habit that has taken over a good portion of my mornings more times than I’d like to admit. I don’t check because I want to see if who is doing what today, or if somebody commented on my picture of my adorable dog, Maverick (who truly is a good boy). No. From July 18 – September 23, every year from now until the day God takes me home, I get to relive, if only for a brief moment, through a simple Facebook feature called “On This Day”, the life of my beautiful baby boy, Marcus.  

Losing him to Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (also known as SIDS) almost a year ago, has completely changed my perspective on life. Life is extremely short. People close to you are going to let you down. Your car will get a flat tire and you’ll have to call your Dad to come fix it because it is dark outside and you’re stuck on the side of the road terrified because of all the insane things you see on crime dramas (specifically Criminal Minds).

Learning to accept the unacceptable is now my everyday reality. My sweet baby boy was so precious and innocent and pure. To look back on all of his adorable pictures that flooded my Timeline last year, and see the cute comments that were posted by all of our loved ones during such a happy, joyful time, brings the feeling of an eerie emptiness in the depths of my heart.

I’m grateful and thankful and blessed for each moment I spent with him. Every sleepless night, every *poopy* diaper, even him peeing all over me… and the wall… and the dog… and his Daddy. He was a my cute little grumpy pants. Maverick, our dog, protected his brother and even alerted Mommy and Daddy when he was about to poo. (Like I said, he is a very good boy!)

Although my son had a very short life here on Earth, and I still don’t understand why, he taught me something that I had never learned before, even in my six years of college (Go Bulls!). He brought to my life something that I didn’t even know that I needed, until I had him. Through the life of my perfect child, I was able to experience (and understand) the power of unconditional love.

The bond a parent has with their child is something that only a parent would understand. I thought that I knew (because according to my Dad, I think I know everything), but I didn’t even have a clue. Without your love, days seem longer, and the nights are even harder. Your Daddy and I miss you so much, Markie, and every day we are forced to move forward in our lives while accepting the unacceptable.

 

 

 

Baby, Family, Infant Loss

276 Days

Nine months and three days. 6,624 hours and counting… That’s how long it has been since my baby has been gone. It feels like yesterday and forever-ago, tied into one. I miss your sweet face, baby boy, and I long for your touch. A mother should never have to bury her young, infant son. We all miss you, your Daddy, your doggy and I. Day by day, hour by hour, I feel like time isn’t on my side. Thank God that you were born in an era of technology. I thank the Lord for my photos of you, it’s like an endless gallery. But it did end, September 24th, the date engraved into my brain. I miss you, Heaven’s sweetest angel, Marcus Gordon Montanez.

 

Baby, Family, Infant Loss

The internet doesn’t know my Baby is Gone.

What is the first thing most people do when they wake up?

Check their Facebook? See if they have any new followers on Twitter? Maybe even checking your text messages/ emails?

Well, according to a survey from the consulting firm Deloitte, it shows that 43 percent of consumers check their phones within five minutes of waking up, and 17 percent check them immediately.

Now, as most new mothers (especially those born into the online parenting era) know, the internet is FULL of motherly newsletters to subscribe to, baby coupon subscription, and now, even a tracker that emails you the status of how your baby is growing/ the milestones they should be hitting.

But what happens when the unexpected happens?

Every morning, I wake up, and have new coupons from a brand like Huggies… for my son, who is no longer here.

I go on Facebook, and at the top of my feed, what is that there?

Oh… it’s my son’s first ultrasound. (below, Hello, little guy!)

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The list goes on and on… and on… AND ON.

The internet doesn’t know my baby is gone. The internet doesn’t care. The internet doesn’t know how hard I strive for perfection, in my life and in parenting, but my son still was a victim of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome.

Everyday I deal with the struggle of reliving that terrible morning, seeing the flashbacks of my beautiful boy, already gone. Things no 22 year old should see, especially, or ANY parent for that matter.

As a Social Media Coordinator, public relations student, and a self-proclaimed connoisseur of social media, it is difficult seeing all of this, and I feel like I can’t escape.

Sometimes, I feel like I really just need a hug. Sometimes, I really just need an “everything will be okay”… although, in reality… it is anything but.

So internet, social media, email lists, newsletters, and all other baby-related spam I get on the daily, I do not want to unsubscribe to you all one by one. I don’t even know where to start…

I think it would feel like I’m deleting him……

I guess today is just another day, where I wake up, and get reminded of the best thing that has ever happened to me.

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I’ll love you forever, I’ll like you for always, As long as I’m living, My baby you’ll be.

Rest Easy Baby Markie & please blow a kiss to ALL of our Angel Babies!

Baby, Family, Infant Loss, Uncategorized

Not much to say, but posting anyways

It is Tuesday night and, unsurprisingly, nothing out of the ordinary is going on. Just finished up reading about different focuses of a news release, when a thought pops into my head.

I haven’t written on here in awhile.

It’s not that I have nothing to say, because I do. And lots to say at that.

But.. what more is there to say.

I miss my son. Every day. Every moment of Every. Single. day.

Missing him doesn’t bring him back. And it all hasn’t gotten much easier for me yet.

I do keep myself busy with school and an internship.

I’m currently taking 4 classes on campus this semester. (I’m a Senior studying Public Relations at the University of South Florida. Go Bulls!)

One day, I hope to start a non-profit called SIDS Sucks, where I can help other families who have been in the same situation I am in.

For now though, I sit here, studying away. Missing my baby.

Happy Tuesday and God Bless 🙂

Baby, Family, Infant Loss

High in the Sky, Letting Time Pass By

img_0317Oh, Mondays. The first day of the work week, usually. Today, hubby and I leave on a six day vacation to the always beautiful, Omaha, Nebraska. As I sit on our flight, I notice something strange. The adorable, **and surprisingly quiet**, little babies have yet to begin their cries. Maybe all of them are fast asleep, but I have yet to hear even a holler from one of the many infants on this flight.

 

Today was supposed to be my son’s first flight, first time out of state, and first official family vacation. I want to say I am sad, but I’m actually not. With the holidays almost here, there will be lots of babies… everywhere. I don’t want to say I’m getting used to him not being here, because I totally am not, but as I sit on this plane with my husband passed out next to me, I feel calm. I’m not sad that the couple two rows ahead have their baby here, yet I don’t. The jealous of other’s happy families has finally started to subside. Although I do not understand why God picked my perfect baby, I am constantly learning new things and adapting to new situations.

 

Recently, I have noticed myself giving more. To strangers, to friends, even family, I have been much more generous lately than I have been in a long time. Could be the holiday season, but I doubt that. I see Markie in others. I see his smile. I hear his laugh. As weird as this sound, a lot of young’uns remind me of him.

 

I may only be 22, and I may not know a lot, but I am really enjoying blogging. I am so humbled by the love and support I have been shown just starting out SIDS Sucks. I am very excited to see what the future holds for this idea I have.

 

If anyone has any questions, comments, suggestions, opinions, critiques, whatever, please email me at samigordon@icloud.com or feel free to text, Facebook, or call me with anything you want me to write about/ look at/ talk about.

 

I love each of y’all so much and I am so grateful for the love and support from everyone. God is good, and remember, if no one has told you that they love you today, I LOVE YOU!

Baby, Family, Infant Loss

The Results are in

img_6587Yesterday, my husband, Marcus, finally got the call from the coroner. Markie’s autopsy was done and his blood work results had finally come back from the lab.

Not that there was ever a doubt in my mind that this was my fault, but there was.

“What if I rolled on him?” “What if it was too cold… or too hot?” “What if a blanket fell on his face even for a brief moment?”

So many “what if’s”… now, I finally have an answer.

I don’t know if finding out that Markie aspirated made me feel any better, but knowing now, that my baby didn’t feel a thing, he passed so quickly and gracefully… that… that I can find comfort in.

God has blessed me so much in my short time on this earth, but He has also taken much away. I lost my grandmother, my mother, my stepfather, and Markie, all within a span of three years.

Thank the Lord, the Bible has a great example of this exact, give and take, type of scenario for me to learn from.

Many have heard the story of Job. Job was a wealthy man. He had it all. Land, livestock, children, servants, everything. One day Satan stops by Heaven to argue that the only reason Job is such an obedient follower, is because he hasn’t had an trials or tribulations.

God grants Satan the permission to test Job, but he cannot take Job’s life.

So Satan goes, one by one, taking, destroying, and killing everything Job has.

This is my favorite part though, not ONCE, not even ONCE, did Job turn away from God.

He even goes to say in Job 1:21, “And he [Job] said, “Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked shall I return. The Lord gave, and the Lord has taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord.””

In the end, Job loses it all, but God blesses him with twice as much property, more beautiful children, and a long life!

How amazing! I pray everyday to have the strength to get through the day, but also thank the Lord for all he has blessed me with.

We are only a week away from Thanksgiving, and of course, it is time to remember what you are thankful for.

I’m thankful for those two precious months I spent with my baby boy. I’m thankful for having the peace of mind that the Lord just wanted my son to come be with him, and that I did the best I could as a mother. I’m thankful for my husband, my family, and all of my friends who are loyal and support me in all I do.

But most of all, I am thankful to God, for being my Rock and my Strength.

Baby, Family, Infant Loss

Every Morning Since

I wake up. Every morning. Like I have been for the past 22 years. Today, and for the past almost 2 months, it has been different… to say the least.

The day I woke up next to my beautiful baby, whom had already left to Heaven with Jesus, was the WORST day of my life. Now, I still wake up with that feeling in my chest, like I am going to roll over and see his precious face, but him… be gone.

Guilt. Guilt is something everyone has felt. It is an awful feeling. It effects your entire body. Something that you can’t forget about, shower off, or even drink about. Guilt is debilitating. It has caused me to miss work, school, and social functions, that before losing my son, I would have never dared to miss.

Every morning, I wake up. My husband is there next to me. On the side of the bed that I used to lay. I guess you could say I switched spots with him because I don’t want to remember laying on that side of the bed. Next to my beautiful, perfect child. But, that’s not it. I CAN’T sleep there, I’ve tried.

I am not sure what the future holds anymore. I go to school, I work, and I have my amazing husband, who would do anything to keep me happy, but it’s not right. Not having my baby here, who may not have been planned, but was loved, so deeply, from the start, has changed who I am.

I miss being a Mommy. Waking up all hours of the night. Walking and rocking him all across the room to try to get him back to sleep, so Daddy could try to get some shut eye before he had to start his day. I miss the explosive poo’s my little man had. I miss washing his clothes, towels, blankies, and especially, those little socks that would constantly stick to the bottom of the washer.

Unfortunately, I can’t change a thing about what happened. We were the best parents we could be, and it still happened. I can question God, “WHY?! Why my baby? Why me? Why now? What did/ didn’t I do?” ….but unfortunately, with SIDS, there truly is no answer.

Every morning, I wake up. I look over at my husband. I look up at the roof over our head. I look over to see his Xbox, my MacBook, his work boots, and our dog, Maverick, lying in his bed.

God has truly blessed me with so many things to be thankful for. As much as I don’t understand the “Why?” in doing things, I praise the Lord for the family and friends who have supported me in moving forward with life.

I praise the Lord that I got to meet my baby boy, and spend two beautiful months with my precious angel.

Every morning since, I wake up and PRAY. Because I know, that may be all that gets me through today.

Psalm 17:6- I call on you, my God, for you will answer me; turn your ear to me and hear my prayer.