If you're a dreamer, a wisher, a liar
A hoper, a prayer, a magic-bean buyer
If you're a pretender come sit by my fire
For we have some flax-golden tales to spin
Come in...come in...
~Shel Silverstein

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Overcoming Adversity...

Today is the Adversity Bloghop, hosted by Nick Wilford at Scattergun Scribblings. This bloghop is to raise money for college for Nick's stepson, Andrew, who has cerebral palsy. I think it's an excellent cause and would highly encourage anyone reading this to check out Nick's blog to learn more about it. 

P.S. As a quick addendum, I've been looking around at other people's stuff and realized I did this wrong. My apologies. I guess it was supposed to be a short story--more like a fiction kind of piece. I thought we were supposed to talk about actual adversities we'd overcome. So, I guess I messed up the rules a bit, but I'm still leaving this up cause I wrote it and I tried but, fair warning for anyone reading, that this is not like the other stories on this bloghop. 

I thought a lot about what to write for this. We all have our things in life to overcome and I've definitely had my share of adversity. There are a lot of things that would've been much easier to talk about than what I ended up choosing.

But, in the end, I decided to write the story you're about to read. I wanted to write about this because, at the time that it happened, there were days I didn't think I'd get through it. There were days when all I wanted was to never wake up again. But, after a long, long time, I came out the other side of it and maybe somebody will read this and will know that, no matter how horrible something is, there can still be a life beyond it--just maybe not the life you thought you'd have.

I was only eighteen when I married my husband. Twenty-one when I gave birth to our first daughter, Caitlyn. Twenty-two when our second little girl, Meggie, was born. Twenty-four when I had our first son, little Marc--dubbed Quick at some point during the pregnancy and known to everyone as such.

 Looking back, it's so crazy. We were little more than kids ourselves. We were still young enough to believe we were indestructible and, by extension, so were our babies. And yeah, other people had bad things happen to them--but me and Marc had both already lived tough lives. We'd already overcome so much adversity that it never occurred to me how much worse there could be on the horizon...We were young and  in love and  life seemed kinda like one of those country songs--the one where the washing machine breaks and the bills don't get paid, but you know it's all gonna work out in the end. We had these beautiful kids and we had each other and we had our whole lives stretched out in front of us like an endless summer.

And then, when Quick was three and a half months old, he died on Christmas day. We all laid down for a nap, only our little boy never woke back up. I won't ever forget the sound of my husband's screams when he found him. It took a really long time for me to hear any music in my life again, because all I could hear for a lot of years were those screams.

There are probably people reading this who are wondering why I would write about something as horrific as a baby dying. But I'm writing about it because it happened. We lost our son and, in losing him, lost our hope and our faith and our youth and ourselves. And it took a long time to find those things again.

And during that time, we wanted to give up. We both wanted to  die...but we didn't. Because we still had two little girls to live for. We still had each other. And those things are worth fighting for.

It's been nineteen years now. Long enough to look back and know that, if Quick had never died, our whole lives would have been different. I wouldn't have ever had any more kids, which means Chance and Kassidy would've never been born. The person I was before I lost my son would've never considered something like homeschooling--a choice that radically changed the people all four of my children grew into.

Looking back, the person I was before Quick is almost a stranger to me.  I have to believe that he came along to touch my heart and touch my life and force me--through the heartbreaking loss of him--to become the person I was meant to be.

 Sometimes I look at Chance (that's where we got the name, he was our second Chance) and I wonder if he looks like his brother. I wonder if  Quick would've liked to write? Or would he have been more into sports? Would he have had the same sense of humor as Chance or would he have been more serious? Those are questions I'll never be able to answer. But I was meant to have Chance. I cannot regret having him. Having Kassidy. I cannot regret having the life the loss of Quick lead to.

But I will always regret that I didn't get to watch my first little boy grow up. I will always miss him. I will always love him. And I will always hope that someday, somehow, I get to hold him in my arms again. 

Until then, I will tell him thank you for coming into my life for as long as he did. For making me a better person and a better parent. For giving me his little brother and sister. For all of it.

Thank you, son.

50 comments:

  1. Wow, I think it's amazing that you opened up about this. So many people never recover from losing a child, but I love that you and your family picked yourselves back up and kept going.

    *hugs*

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    1. Thank you, Kyra. I really went back and forth on whether or not to post this but I decided to, cause I really hoped it might help someone else going through a tough time to see that things can always be worse...and that they can always get better.

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  2. I'm glad you can look back on it and see that, however heartbreaking it was, some good did come from it. And I'm glad you were brave enough to write about it - it reminds us all that every cloud has a silver lining.
    I hope you do get reunited with him, someday.

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    1. Thank you, Laura. I really feel I will be.

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  3. There are always two options when facing disaster. One is going down, the other is gather your pieces and climb up. You are an outstanding woman because you chose the second option. I believe that effort always gets its reward, one way or another. I believe you will meet him again. :)

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    1. So do I, Al. Thanks for the kind words! (And the award, which I just got the comment on this afternoon.)

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  4. Such a terrible thing. I can't even imagine it.

    Even though it was horrible, it did shape who you are now. I made some decisions early in my life that were both tragic and dumb. But if I hadn't, I never would've wound up in Arkansas and never met my husband of almost 22 years. I would've never ended up in NC where I met people who taught me how to have a good self image. Which means I wouldn't have pursued my dreams and be a speaker today

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    1. It's crazy, isn't it? The twists and turns life makes? I've posted about this before, but I actually met my husband in a juvie shelter when I was fifteen. Clearly i'd had some really bad decisions that lead me there. And so had he--but if we hadn't screwed our lives up, we'd have never ended up where we are today. You just never know, do you? Even the worst things can lead to something great.

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  5. now i'm bawling. my heart aches for your loss and rejoices in your emergence and blessings that followed.
    how strong you must be. thank you for sharing your story.

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  6. This is such a beautiful story. Thank you for sharing it!

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    1. I was really worried that people would think this was way too dark/personal for a blog piece. But I wanted to write it so other people would see that things can always get better, even when they seem like they can't. I'm glad it's gotten a positive response...

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  7. Thanks for sharing this. You've overcome so much to get to where you are.

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    1. Yes, we have. And I love where I am. Thanks for stopping by, always nice to see you on my blog. :)

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  8. Beautiful. Your sharing those words will definitely help others.

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    1. That's why I posted this. Thanks for the kind words...

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  9. It's hard to imagine the pain you must have suffered. It's beautiful that you are able to help others, so many years later, with your story. It's an important story, one that is truly meant for everyone who reads it. Thank you!

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  10. Oh wow. I can't imagine going through anything harder. I know we grow and often become stronger, better people for those really difficult moments, but they are just too big. I'm so sorry for the loss.

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    1. Thank you, Hart. For all that I wrote this, I agree. I definitely learned and changed and grew...but I still resent that the "lesson" (if that's what it was meant to be) had to be so unspeakably painful. Still, even with that, like I said--I can't regret the life I have now.

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  11. I can't even begin to imagine what you've been through, and all of the unanswered questions that continue to race through your mind. I admire you for soldiering on with your decision to have more children. You seem like an amazing mother who always puts her family first.
    Julie

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    1. Thank you, Julie. I don't know how amazing I am but, yeah, the kids definitely come first. I have great kids though, so it's easy to put them first.

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  12. Tamara, I'm so sorry! That's one harsh reality check. Glad you continued for your husband and daughters.

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    1. Thank you, Alex. I have a beautiful family, so I am too.

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  13. I can't imagine living through that. You're all strong folks. I cried reading your story and I'm glad you can look back and see some purpose in it.

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    1. Thank you. I think there is a purpose in all the major events in our lives. You just have to be willing to find it.

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  14. This is an incredible post. I can't believe how strong you are, to look at the positive side of such a terrible event. You and your husband kept going for the sake of your kids and I admire you for that. Thank you so much for taking part today.

    And you in no way messed up! Real life stories were acceptable as well as flash fiction. I'm glad I got to read this inspiring post.

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    1. Thank you, Nick! I think you're pretty incredible too and that what you are doing for Andrew is really inspiring. I'm glad that I got the chance to be a part of it.

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  15. Tamara you made me cry.
    Thanks for sharing this heart-breaking and heart-warming story!
    You are a strong and brave woman.

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  16. I almost cried. The fact that it's true makes you think hard. I don't have kids but wow a child's death is a hard thing no matter what.

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    1. Yeah, it is, but there are a lot of hard things in life. It's the hardest ones that define who we are.

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  17. I am absolutely bawling as I read this. (((hug)))

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    1. Thank you for the hug. Always appreciated!

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  18. My heart feels for you guys. We lost my brother when he was 9. I was an infant at the time and have no memory of him, but the first ten years of my life, I lived with a family in mourning. It kind of helped having an innocent mind in the house, my mother has said. I didn't know it then, but being there helped my family heal. I wish the best for you and your family.

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    1. Losing a child that is nine is a lot harder than losing one at three months. There are people that would think that's an awful thing to say, but it's true. You don't know/love a three month old in the same way you know/love a child you've raised for nine years. I'm glad you were a source of healing for your family, much as Chance as Kassidy were a source of healing for ours. Thanks for the good wishes, and know they are returned...

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  19. Oh, and I did the same thing, but I think Nick can stand for a few non-fiction pieces, right Nick? :)

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    1. Good to know I wasn't the only one!

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  20. My heart ached while I read your story. I am really sorry you had to go through that. I really admire you and your husband's strength and courage to move forward.

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    1. Thank you, Cynthia. We all have our challenges in life...and I have four beautiful children, so I've also been very blessed...

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  21. Hi Tamara - it is so important for others to read stories like yours - there is so much sorrow out there - yet adversity is overcome ... the human is an amazing creature. There's a reason for everything ... and you've found yours .. your husband and the children, the family and that realisation through your loss of so many other aspects of life - most of us don't get to experience ..

    Very heart rending - but I'm so glad you're here and I've been able to read it ... Nick's anthology will be so varied - but that's important too .. so many stories from so many ..

    All the very best to you and the family - Hilary

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    1. Thank you, Hilary. I thought it was an important story to share, even if it was painful to talk about. I really hope it helps other people to realize that, no matter how hard things are, good can come out of them if you just get through to the other side of it.

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  22. {{{{{HUGS}}}}} I'm so, so sorry you and your family had to experience this kind of pain. Your post was beautiful. It's hard to imagine that there are gifts to be found in tragedies like this, but eventually they become visible - little bits at a time.

    A few days before my youngest son's first birthday, my nephew died of SIDs. He was almost nine months old. He wasn't with us for nearly long enough, but he made indelible marks on all of our lives. We're all better people for having known and loved him. I like to think that maybe Zane and Quick are hanging out together watching over everyone.

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    1. That brought tears to my eyes. I'm so sorry for your family and yes, I'm sure everyone is better for having known Zane for even a short amount of time...

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  23. This is the most awful story I've read during this blog post - as in, your tragedy is the biggest. But wow, you sure have triumphed in the face of the worst kind of adversity. I'm so sorry for your family's loss, but it seems to me you guys have done the very best you could ever have done in the wake of it.

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    1. I meant "during this blog hop"... yeah :)

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    2. Thank you for your condolences, Trisha. There is hope to be found even in the darkest things. I really tried to get that across and I think I did, so I'm glad I chose to write about what happened....

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  24. You've brought tears to my eyes with your very personal and touching life. It was such a dreadful thing to happen but you have survived and gone on with your lives and done wonderful things. Your little boy will always be a very strong part of your life.

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    1. Yes, he will. Thanks for your kind words...

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I love to hear from everyone! Thanks for the comment. :)