My arms are empty and acheing...

I can’t believe I’m a mother without…

Life has been twisted and turned upside down. As a mother, I had both the wonderful privilege of holding my sweet son as I brought him into this world…and the horrible chore of holding him as he took his last breaths and left this world, at only 7 years old. June 24, 2010 he earned his angel wings, passing away after an inspiring but brief fight against Cystic Fibrosis. Now I live, solely focusing on living a life to get to be with him again in heaven, and to raise awareness for Cystic Fibrosis research. I am dedicated to a cure, not only for my sweet sons legacy but so that other CF families never experience the greatest loss of their lives that we are now facing. My mother’s arms are missing Connerman, yet he still inspires me daily to leave a mark of LOVE on this world…so for you my sweet prince, mommy will try!

Love Love Love

Always Always Always

Friday, December 30, 2011

A new Year…a new HOPE…

Well we’ve made it!

Thru our first calendar year without him here with us in person. I feel both a sense of accomplishment and a sense of overwhelming sadness. Weird combination. Last year we only had to make it barely 6 months without him to get that over with…but this year…a full 12 months…we did it. I can safely say that 2010 was the worst year of my life, from losing Conner, losing people I loved, losing comfort in this world, yet gaining a realistic expectation of what this world is all about, I think it’s safe to say we just kind of held on and survived 2010. I was so sad ringing in 2011, because my heart knew it would be our first entire year without him, that reality was settling in even more than I could imagine…that we’d be faced with some of the hardest challenges of our lives, and I was right.

2011, while not the worst year of my life (lets face it nothing compares to 2010), was the most difficult so far. in 2010 all I had to do was show up, I didn’t even have to dress nice…or smile…or worry about what anyone was thinking of me or my family, or judging our expressions of pain…that years' motto was “fake it till we make it!”

but this year…

well, while the pain didn’t change…I found it even more difficult because the grief intensifies overtime…I thought I knew what pain was when I watched him being carried from my home covered in a blanket…dead, never to return again…and that was painful…excruciating to say the least, just the thought of that brings me to tears (I don’t often think of that day/night)…but you reach a certain point in the journey where the world just thinks your ok…that all is well, and if I have a down day, I had better learn to keep it at bay, or face people’s criticism of how I should be “thankful” or “moving on”…and that hurts equally as bad. see it’s not like a stubbed toe that causes immediate reactionary pain..but then lessens over time…he’s a child. was a child. living. breathing. I held him. he called me momma. he was my first child. and many who never met him just couldn’t believe how gentle of a spirit he was. rarely angry, never complained…loved to be held and to hug, and always told us how much we meant to him. his smile melted my soul. I wasn’t done with him yet. I wasn’t ready for it to be over. to be forced to let it happen. I didn’t want to tell him to go that damn night, it was a choice…I didn’t want him to feel bad for not being able to stay any longer. I didn’t want him to die there, I didn’t want it to happen that way. but as all moms know…it’s not about us. it’s always about THEM. each damn day I wake up knowing he’s gone. and there’s not a damn thing I can do about it. I have to be ok with it. so I find a way to get on with the day. But I can say that this year he wasn’t always the first thing I thought of each morning with pain…so there has been progress. I no longer have any clue when it’s a Thursday as I once did. I don’t know how many weeks, or days he’s been gone. progress for sure. my life, my world revolved around all that crap last year. it held significance. the day of every 24th I barely take notice…


so much has stayed the same in my heart. I think of him now with great joy…and great hope…not always just sorrow. I’m a better person for knowing him, and I am so extremely blessed to have been chosen to be his mother…what a honor. I’ve found a bit of peace in this circumstance…because I know that life is for living…and I’m well aware of how it can be gone in an instant. the world owes me nothing.

I think about how our family dynamic has changed this past year. hunter is such an amazing biggest brother…he stepped into the role with pride, and it melts my heart to hear him still speak of Conner each day, tell me different things they used to do together, things he missed…how much he loves his big brother in heaven, he points out Conner’s star at night…having him be so vocal about his brother, helps me to feel like he isn’t just a memory. many people are done talking about him, or speaking his name…but in our home…his name is a constant…and it’s always said with a smile or a laugh. it’s an incredible blessing…

all of these are just difficult changes to deal with. it’s a new normal that we have to face…and it is constantly changing. Conner was 7…and this coming year Hunter will be 7…how will that feel? He’s going to outgrow Conner’s biggest clothes…how will that feel to have to buy bigger sizes that I should’ve already gotten years ago for Conner? there’s still so many things evolving and constantly changing…so there’s just no way that everyday can be so bright and happy. I started this blog for brutal honesty. so I won’t pretend or candy-coat a thing.

I cry still, very often…but in the privacy of my alone time…because now the pain when it strikes it’s much deeper than before…I “get it” more now. pictures and memories are all I have now. I understand that. I don’t remember the last time he walked thru my door…and I no longer expect that he will. crying in the beginning is so raw…it’s just screams, wails…intense, overwhelming pain. it’s part shock…part unbelief…part denial…but now…crying is deep sorrow. it’s choking down your throat, instant ugly cry…that vibrates down your entire being. my fingers to my toes tingle, I get hot, my head pounds in pain…and my heartbeat increases dramatically.

it’s a more healing cry than before…but hurts…hurts like hell.

I’ve learned so many lessons this year…the majority of it was spent in character building mode. learning who I am now. who we, as a family, are now. learning how to honor Conner and find some healing peace. I just want peace in my soul.

so much is thrown at us when we least expect it…from mail arriving in his name, fighting the IRS about him on our taxes…even to the most recent horror…someone vandalizing his “spot” at the cemetery…and it hurts. all of it. but somehow in it, we find HOPE for tomorrow…and try to keep our focus on the fact that today is so temporary…and that many of life’s struggles are really just sidetracks, or details…not of lasting importance…

I believe that 2012 is going to be a better year for us. It’ll still be hard, and that nagging pain won’t ever cease…but I have HOPE that we’ll find a way to handle it. gracefully. lovingly. respectfully. God has carried us for the past year and a half…not one day have I taken one step on my own two feet. there’s simply no way I’d be where I’m at today without His strong arms.

I just pray for all the newly bereaved parents I’ve met over this past year…I pray that you find some HOPE that your worst year is nearing it’s end, and that next year, will still be as painful…but also a bit more joyous.

So do I miss him? undoubtedly!

will I ever get over it? never ever!

do I cry? very often.

but do I smile? more than I cry!

do I dwell in the past? not as much as I live in the moment.

and if I could sum up my expectation of 2012…I’d say it’s going to be the year of our greatest joy, love and HOPE…

My song for this year…

Love Love Love my friends and happy new year!




  1. Sarah,
    Even though I'm a little closer than a stranger; but still not an in-real-life friend, I want you to know that I still think about Conner lots. Every time I wear my red Conner shirt, I think about his sweet smile. Every time I see a red lego, I think about how he always left them laying around for you. And every time I hear the words Cystic Fibrosis; I think of the toughest person I know, having to deal with CF and never knowing life any different. And then I think -Conner DOES know life different now. And I can't help but smile when I think of Conner running and breathing without ANY effort; right beside Jesus.

    But then I think of you. And I think of how you really did live every mom's worst nightmare and there is NO ONE in this world that should EVER expect you to feel any way except the WAY YOU FEEL. Your first born son?...NO ONE can tell you how to get through losing that. But get-through you have and Sarah --I am still so damn inspired by you it makes me want to cry. Happy tears that I "met" someone as strong as you who has taught me to realize my blessings and be tough for the medical issues I DO have to deal with because they could be much worse. I have gained so much perspective from you and I just know that God had something to do with my "stumbling" across your blog the first time.

    Julie Ball

  2. thank you for this post. it scares me, because this is my new reality, but it heps me too. so very sorry for your loss.


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