Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Sweet Baby Gabe

I'm going to share something with you today, in hopes that it will help some people understand just why my grief over losing John has been so profound. I also want to commemorate another sweet little person we lost this year. This year has been tough, and we have lost so many precious lives...

Dustin has a friend, Amber, that I have never met. I've never shook her hand, or hugged her in person, but I love Amber just as much as one of my sisters. 

The very first time I spoke with Amber was after she and her husband had suffered a terrible and heartbreaking miscarriage. I didn't know her, but after Dustin's mother told me that Amber had lost both of her twins, fairly late into her pregnancy, I was compelled to reach out to her. I was worried she would think I was a lunatic, someone she didn't even know was reaching out to her during one of her most private and difficult times. But she was sweet, and kind even though she was heartbroken. I offered whatever words of encouragement I could, and offered a hand of friendship. I learned that prior to this she had suffered a couple of other miscarriages. What I really learned that day is that the one thing she wanted most was a baby.

Dustin has always spoken so highly of Amber and her husband Wes, and after speaking with her myself, I knew he was right in doing so. She is good people. One of those women that gives so much of herself to make sure everyone else is happy. She is strong, so very strong. Beautiful, amazing, loving...she's Amber. I could never tell you enough about how amazing and strong I think she is.

After losing the twins, Amber and Wes were blessed with their Rainbow baby, Gabriel. A rainbow baby is a child born after a miscarriage, stillbirth, neonatal death or infant loss. The term has encouraged parents to share their stories of loss – and the babies that followed. Gabriel was born on January 14, 2013. He was 8 lbs 14 ounces. Every bit the perfect and healthy baby. Another little chunk. Beyond loved, and waited for! I remember crying when I saw he was born, mostly just relieved that they had a strong healthy baby. And Gabe became a big brother in 2015 to Miss Abbigail, and again I was relieved to see another healthy baby. 

Amber is a good mommy. She loves her babies, and worked damn hard to get them here. They live on the other side of the country, but you can see through photos, and messages that those children are her reason for breathing. Gabe's smile always the size of Texas in pictures.

Life has this cruel way of dangling amazing things in front of you, only to snatch them too soon. 

On July 23, 2016 Gabe was found unresponsive in the pool, and died as a result of his injuries. I will never forget opening the door, and Dustin's uncle standing there telling me that something bad had happened to Amber's son and we should call. He didn't have many details, doesn't even know Amber, but he made a trip so I knew it was bad. I told him to tell me what happened, that I did not want to make any blind calls. He told me that Gabe had drown and at first I thought he was okay, that he was just injured...

When I learned he didn't survive I just laid in the bed as Dustin held me and we cried. We cried for Gabe. He was beautiful. He was 3...a baby. We never even had a chance to hold his sweet self. We cried for Wes...a Daddy having to bury is boy. We cried for little Miss Abbigail...a little sister that has to grow up without her brother. I cried because even though I never met Gabe, never held him, I loved him, and I love his mommy. But mostly I cried for Amber. Amber wanted that boy so bad she could taste it, and she got him..only to lose him. Unfair. The statement I find rolling off of my tongue so much these days.

Gabe was so beautiful, so full of rambunctious life! He was such a great big brother and loved his baby sister. Amber told me at one point that Abby looked for Gabe following the accident, and my heart just fell apart. She is so tiny, and has no way of understanding yet. I sat and scrolled through picture after picture trying so hard to find the ones that could give you a glimpse into who Gabe was, and how much he brought into this world. If I could share them all I would. He was a sight to behold. I'm so sorry I will never get to hold him. I regret so much never having been able to.

My heart aches to hold Amber. Let her know that she stays on my heart and mind constantly. Her loss just a few short months before ours, and no less profound than ours. Two babies lost in one year. Your heart can't recover from that. It's so unreal. And we become so engrossed in our lives and our own sorrows, that we fail to stop and realize others are struggling too. 

The hardest part is that while I know Amber's heart wants to be with Gabe, she has to be strong for Abbigail. And she is so incredibly strong. And when we lost John, I knew one person in the whole world who would understand more than anyone. I reach out to Amber when I just don't know what else to do. Even though she is grieving herself, she has not once shied away from letting me throw my emotions all over.

And Amber, I know you will read this, and my heart breaks knowing that you will. It never gets easier reading about the babies. I can never explain well enough in words just how much I adore you, and your family. I know that wherever they may be, Gabe and John have found each other and they are probably giving everyone a run for their money. I would give anything to take away your pain, to give Abbigail back her big brother. I don't know why our families were the ones to have to bare this burden, but I know one thing for sure...you were meant to be a part of my life, and I'm so glad you are.

"I am a mother with a broken heart. A deep hole where my son's memories play over and over. I survive everyday with the support of all my family and friends. We all feel the pain of loosing sweet Baby Gabriel. Our 5th child. My "rainbow baby". I think that's what they call it. I wish he was here to celebrate Abbigail's birthday and everything that we do. I love to talk about him with people. It does hurt, but he was such a character and the stories about him are endless. His growling and barking, how I miss it. The I love you bunches and forever. He rests here with us at home eternally. All his grandparent and cousin know our pain and theirs too. I think about you all the time my sweet baby boy. I keep hoping to see you when I dream, but they never come. Mommy doesn't dream anymore. Someday i hope I will see you in my dreams. Till then my sweet baby, you will always be on my mind, always! I love you bunches and forever. Watch over your baby sister. She will never forget you. I promise."

My heart just can't take much more.

*Photos Courtesy of Amber Horn.

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