Thursday, January 14, 2016

Ronan's Food Drive

Dear Friends, 

As many of you know, our son, Ronan Cooper, passed away when I was 7 months pregnant back in January 2008 due to the complications of Trisomy 18. It was unknown to us at the time that our active little boy, who looked great at all ultrasounds and had a strong heartbeat, would only be with us for this very short time. 

Time has moved on for us, and we have been fortunate enough to have 2 healthy children since his passing. But as any parent knows, you will never forget your children---no matter how long they were on the earth. 

Every year in January we strive to honor our first born, usually quietly as a family. This year, on what would have been his 8th birthday, I am asking my friends and family to join us for a tribute to him. We are raising money and accepting donations for a food drive to help combat childhood hunger in local communities. We will be working through the Feeding America Backpack Programs and Summer Food Service Programs that aim to feed hungry children on the weekends and during the summer, when no free lunches are available for them through schools. We have seen this program implemented in our local communities here in the Dayton area and feel that it would be a worthy program to donate in Ronan’s name. 


http://www.feedingamerica.org/about-us/we-feed-children/backpack-program/


http://www.feedingamerica.org/about-us/we-feed-children/summer-food-service-program/

If you wish to donate money, we have a Paypal account set up or would gladly accept checks (e-mail me at letters.to.ronan@gmail.com for the address). If you send us the money directly, the donations will be split between the Dayton, OH and San Antonio, TX (where he was born) food banks that sponsor these programs. If you wish to donate in your local areas, please follow the links above and click on “Food Bank Locator” and put in your zip code. You can navigate your local food banks for programs that are targeted for children and make your donations that way. Most food banks ask if this is a memorial donation. If so, we would appreciate if you would write his name in this space. Our goal for this endeavor is $1000, which would help fund roughly 8,000 meals for hungry children. 

I thank you for the constant support of our family, and continued love and support you have shown us on January 26th every year. 

Thanks for reading. And thanks for helping us keep his memory alive. 

Love, Reese

Monday, January 26, 2015

The Art of Grieving

What I have learned in the last seven years about grief is that when you stumble upon it years after the trauma, the severity and shape of it is unknown until you are right in its face. Sometimes grief is a bunny rabbit, soft and subtle, and makes you sit with it and remind you about the simple beauty of the world. Sometimes, though, grief is like a rabid wolf, attacking when you are most vulnerable, and all you can do is try to avoid it taking out your jugular and dying. You fight it with all your might, because you can't die---others depend on you and need you. Failure is not an option. All you can do is pray that you get out without too many wounds and that you are still recognizable to the outside world after the attack.

Grief is also an asshole, making sure to whisper at every happy moment, moment of sheer bliss, beautiful moment with your living children, "your son is dead," reminding you that you do not live in a normal reality now. Your reality includes a world where babies die. The majority do not live in this world, nor wish to know about this world. It's understandable to feel that way. As a person who resides here, I can tell you that it sucks. And I wish I could go back and live in the other reality. Life was so much easier there.

In the ~2,555 days since Ronan died, I have learned how to weep softly in a bathroom stall, my office, in the corner of a lab, clenching soaking wet Kleenex at the corners of my eyes, praying that the tissues can hold while the storm is passing. I have lost friends (close ones), gained friends, and learned about the human experience in the way that can only be learned when your world is turned completely inside out.

For the majority of my days, grief is around, quiet...waiting. I keep it in check. I acknowledge its presence and respect its power. But for one day of the year, I put down my guard and allow grief to flow freely as it's meant to at that given time. January 26th. Ronan's birthday. I allow myself to remember the way the technician's voice sounded when he said 'nothing' looking at a still ultrasound on the screen. I allow myself to remember the way Peyton stood facing the windows in the hospital room as he told his father his grandson was dead. I remember the pain of the 8 tries to get an IV in that night, bruised and bloody, until the doctor whispered to leave me to rest and to try again in the morning. I remember weeping when we were finally alone, sobbing in a way that was unearthly and us holding on to each other like frightened children who were thrown into a dark dungeon, unsure of what the morning light would bring.

I remember the horrifying 17 hours of labor, worst of the three I have now experienced, how I begged my nurse Tonnya to kill me as she pushed the narcotic to help ease the pain, and how she hugged my nearly unconscious head after her shift and said 'you can do this, I know you can do this.' I remember the pop of the epidural, the quieting of the pain, and holding the white flower they tape to your door to tell everyone 'in code' that the baby is gone. I remember hearing the lullaby that is played when a baby is born at least 10 times that night, and how sad I was that I was not going to hear it being played for Ronan, for they only played it for the living children.

I remember 3 pushes and how quiet it was when he was born. I remember thinking that the word 'stillborn' was appropriate, because except for the sound of my breathing, I heard nothing. No cries. No happiness. No speaking. Just sorrow. Up until that moment, I was not aware sorrow had a sound, but it does. I remember Ronan's red lips, his dark hair, and his feet that were miniature replicas of Peyton's feet. And just how robbed I felt at that moment holding him. So very robbed.

I remember the older security guards who walked with Peyton as he brought Ronan to me on another floor for the last time. How one of them wept and hugged me, saying he was so very sorry. How I promised myself to remember this cop whenever I got pulled over for a speeding ticket. How I sat alone in the room by myself when they took Ronan away for the last time, and how I made myself look at the setting sun to calm the panic I felt that he was gone for good, telling myself he was in the light. Look at the light. Spell the colors of the light. P-I-N-K. R-E-D. Y-E-L-L-O-W. He's in the light.

Grief has been at my doorstep since Christmas, and I have been fighting with it, knowing that when my guard was down today, that I would take a beating. Some years are easier than others (unfortunately), and all I can do is cover my head and let the day come. I respect this process, because despite the pain and the sorrow, I don't ever want to forget him or what he meant to me. My firstborn son, who would have been 7 today. Today I mourn what Peyton and I have lost, and honor the memory of a child that held so much promise and hope for us---a baby who taught me so much in his brief life and so much more in his death.

Tomorrow, I will order grief back in its resting place. But for today....it has full reign.

Happy Birthday, Ronan. I miss you. Love, Mommy.

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Six

You are missed.

You are loved.

You will always be my baby boy.....

Happy 6th Birthday, Ronan.


Thursday, December 5, 2013

Time to Move On

I have written on this blog for almost 6 years.

In the last two years, I have been having a hard time coming here, as this space feels sacred,  beautiful, and only for Ronan. There was a time 5 years ago that I never thought I would be able to move away from this blog, but I left work yesterday and saw a sliver moon---my favorite moon, and felt the need to write about something, anything other than grief. Life has been moving on, chaotic and crazily so. I need to start fresh, and keep moving, holding the lessons and love that I have found along the way.

Ronan will always be my son. And as I hang a new Christmas ornament every year for him, I feel him closer in some ways, and in others, like I am moving on from that weeping woman who gave birth to him stillborn almost 6 years ago.

I hope you keep in touch. You have all been so wonderful on this journey. I am glad to call you friend.

http://slivermoons.blogspot.com/

Love,

Reese

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Books! Books! and more Books!



I am not sure who can still find me, seeing how evil Google got rid of their beloved reader....

For the few that remain, I wanted to update Ronan's book drive. We felt the love. We felt it in a big way. Over 100+ books were donated in libraries across the U.S. and over $750 was raised. We were able to fund 3 sets of books for baby story time here locally and several sets of toys to accompany it. 

Some wonderful titles that were donated:






I am amazed and humbled by the love everyone showed for our sweet boy. :)



Saturday, May 11, 2013

Mother's Day

I feel on certain days that I go through the day-to-day motions of motherhood.

I get up, help get the children ready in the morning, grab a quick shower, go to work, check in with P three or four times a day, then rush home, make dinner, hang out with the kids, baths, reading, bed. Lather, rinse, repeat.

Today, my son got his first haircut and went from Davey Jones form up above, to looking like a bona fide little boy. And it just hits me like a ton of bricks that these babies grow up and will be little children who will be teenagers who will then be adults. It happens just as quickly as all the mothers before me have said (and probably will until the end of time).

For this Mother's Day, I wish time to stand still, to reflect on my journey to this place, to remember the way all my children first felt in my arms---starting with my precious Ronan. It is really such a powerful thing when a doctor hands you a baby that has been inside of you, rolling around, making you feel powerful and fragile all at the same time. May my children always know that I loved them the second I  learned of them, and that I worried 24/7 the entire time they were in me, talking that silent language that crossed mom's brain to the placenta. Please come home to me---please be safe in there. Please know how many people want to meet you and see your smile.

Ronan made me a mother 5 years ago. My other children have the mother he molded me into. That is his legacy for his siblings. And for him and them, I am grateful that I am a mother....

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Five

I was driving to work after my 'maternity' leave after Ronan was born and Ordinary World came on the radio. And even though I had heard this song a million times, hearing it with this fresh perspective resonated with me. I didn't know at the time what my everyday, ordinary world was going to be like now that this had happened to us. How does one move on from the grief, the pain that was so powerful that it brought me to my knees at any given moment? I can tell you now, 5 years later, that my new ordinary world has consisted of extreme scary lows, but also wonderful glimpses of kindness, honesty, and truths that I may never have seen or appreciated if I wasn't thrown into this new place. I have witnessed great love and depths of friendships that only come when your heart is exposed, raw, and eager to heal. I have learned patience and compassion that I pray I am able to pass on to others, especially the children that I am now fortunate enough to raise. As this day seems to be a reminder of what is gone, I strive daily, hell sometimes hourly, to focus my thoughts on what remains--the love that my son represented.

Happy Birthday, sweet Ronan. We miss you every day.

Ordinary World