Saturday, July 9, 2011

Happy First Birthday Toby

1

It’s been a hard week. Aside from feeling crappy, it was Toby’s birthday on Tuesday. He would have been one year old. I’m tired of people who don’t know me assuming that he was a stillbirth or a miscarriage. I’m tired of people telling me that I need to move on and focus on other things. It’s particularly upsetting when it comes to people who have children. Would THEY move on if it were theirs? It’s always easy to pass judgment on someone else.

I think he had a nice birthday, though. One of my young male friends actually created an event on Facebook so that people could wish him a  happy birthday and I thought that was nice. Especially since an18 year old could do it. We took some sparklers, candles, pinwheels, and other decorations. We made our own flower arrangements and took a mason jar full of flowers from our garden. The grave was colorful, but it looked pretty. We also hung some balloons on the tombstone.

Dad came and spent the afternoon with us and that was nice. He is going to go back in a few days and lay down some grass seed and top soil. It was funny, though, because he also put some sparklers on Nana’s grave and accidentally set it on fire. She would have appreciated that.


This week has really just been difficult in general. I have had zero lack of motivation to do anything. I finished all of my freelance jobs so maybe not having any work is getting to me. I need to make more money but with my C-section being next Thursday it’s not like I have a whole heck of a lot of time. I’m starting to feel the pressure.

Things have been weird at home, too. Things have been bothering me that don’t often bother me. I’m getting tired way too easily and having worse panic attacks than usual. Sam is getting on my nerves and he’s not really doing anything bad. He’s just so demanding and everything seems to disappoint him and that makes me feel like a failure for not keeping him happy.

Every once in awhile, too, Pete seems intent on pointing out the things that we don’t have in common and I think he spends far too much time thinking about that. I don’t even realize that we don’t have that many things in common until he starts pointing them out and then I start wondering why we even got together in the first place. I know that he barely has an ounce of romance in him but once when I asked him when he knew he wanted to marry me he said that it was when we found out that we were pregnant and that hurt my feelings. I think about that a lot. (It’s really not even true. We had briefly mentioned it in passing before we got pregnant but that’s not the point when I’m feeling low.)

It also makes me feel bad sometimes that he doesn’t believe in things like “meant to be” or soulmates or things happening for a reason. I might not be a religious person but I do believe in those things. Yesterday he was talking about something and said that he still would have been happy had we never met. I know that he wasn’t saying that he’s UNHAPPY that we did meet, but that’s just another way for him to say that there aren’t people out there who are meant for each other and if he hadn’t met me then he wouldn’t have known about me and would have just met someone else.

There’s a songwriter I like who once wrote a song about her marriage being so good that she could no longer write songs because her husband had just sucked the inspiration out of her since she was so happy. Sometimes I feel like I’ve just had the romance sucked out of me. I’ve noticed that none of my stories have any love aspects to them anymore or romance and that I’m starting to feel like my mom and devalue the whole idea of romance altogether. I don’t like that. It’s even giving me nightmares.

I know that Pete is depressed and that he has taken up a lot of slack this year because I’ve been physically and mentally sick but sometimes things are just too much.

We were going to have a little memorial service for Toby earlier in the week and combine it with a Baby Sprinkle” for Iris but it just turned out to be too much. I didn’t have a whole lot of responses from people coming and that was depressing. Throwing myself a baby shower again was also depressing. And then there was the fact that I just didn’t feel like doing all the cleaning, cooking, and organizing alone. Not to mention the fact that there would have been a lot of kids there and I don’t think my nerves could have handled them. It was better to do something on our own. A couple of friends came over later in the week and that was nice and a friend from Hazel Green bought something off of our registry that we really needed and that was super awesome.

Pete and I ended up buying everything that we needed so we have it all now. Granted, we are still waiting for some of it to arrive in the mail, but it’s coming. Oh, and the Madison County Board of Education sent me a big gift basket with diapers, clothes, wipes, and all kinds of goodies and I don’t even know them. (But Mom does.)

Iris definitely doesn’t need any clothes. In fact, we might even have to go through them and figure out if there is anything that we can get rid of.

My friend Heather popped in over for a visit and brought a ton of basket making stuff. She taught me how to make a basket and I am very proud of it. Not only that, it was a great day to relax on the side porch with the fans on under the magnolia tree. Event though my feet were swollen the size of watermelons, it was great to be able to relax and talk to someone, or not talk to them at all if we didn’t want to. I appreciated her coming. So many people do and then don’t.

I don’t feel Toby right now. I think he has moved on. I think he is already back on Earth, doing something great, and having a good time. I hope I get to meet him again one day. I hope I get to see Nana, Jim, my friend Jessica, Uncle Willis, Delmar, and loads of other people that I have lost along the way. And I hope that Toby got to meet them briefly as well. He would have liked hanging out with Jim and Nana so I’m pleased that even if they only met briefly they had a good time.

Sam’s been talking a lot about the afterlife. He knows that Toby was placed in a hole and that we can’t see him, but he couldn’t understand why Toby couldn’t eat he cake that we made that night. We talk about that a lot. I told him about Summerland (although I didn’t call it that) and explained that where Toby was he was visiting Jim and that there were lots of trees, waterfalls, dogs, kittens, ice cream, warm weather, and books to look at. I also told him that he didn’t need anyone to take care of him but that he had friends and people he could play with and talk to. Sam seemed to accept this. We didn’t get into the reincarnation aspect yet.

When I die I first look forward to being met by Jim and Nana and then slowly meeting Toby, if he’s back yet from his latest go round. I hope he lets himself be baby with me for awhile so that I can rock him and dress him and sing to him some more. I have no quest for higher understanding at this point so I’ll probably just stay in Summerland for awhile and try to hit on Elvis, get Marilyn’s autograph, and build me a cabin on top of a mountain so that I can paint and write. Or maybe a small castle. Maybe some of the things that I write and paint will make their way back down to Earth and end up in someone’s imagination. Who knows. I hope to have visitors like Mom, if she’s already there or hasn’t moved on, Nana, Toby, Delmar, my grandpas Sam and Leslie, Granny, Ruth, Uncle Junior, and some of the other people that I have lost along the way. I look forward to creating my own idea of Paradise, but I also look forward to seeing other people’s as well. And I hope to be a spirit guide for Iris or Sam or maybe one of their children. When I think about these things, it makes me less afraid of dying, and instead just makes it feel like a new adventure, like planning a trip.

I used to be highly afraid of dying because the idea of Heaven with its purity and God with his judgment and the hellfire that appeared on earth afterwards all terrified me. Floating around playing harps and eating grapes and just hanging out being grateful, loving, and thankful felt as though my free will was being taken away from me. And the idea of God himself didn’t make any sense to me. After all, it’s Mother Earth (or whatever name you want to call her by) that’ responsible for the changing of the seasons, having children, making our crops grow, and such. And I much more indentify with the Maiden, the Mother, and the Crone more so than the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. It just makes more sense to me on a theological level. I’m an active person and an earthy person and the ritualistic elements that go along with Shamanism and Paganism just make more sense to me than praying to an entity that, in my studies, has been inconsistent. It’s not a burden of proof or ‘believing is seeing” it’s just what I feel, I feel the old ways.

I love having religious conversations with people (that’s why I got my degree in it) but I don’t like talking to people who don’t take my beliefs into consideration when we’re talking. So I generally try to stay out of it.

We do believe on introducing Sam to different forms of religion. We are taking him to a Buddhist retreat, to some Pagan rituals, I work with him on candle magic (simple) and we talk about Summerland rather than the Christian term of Heaven. (Although they’re very similar) We are also introducing him to Taoism and Confucianism. But we’re trying to do this in a way that isn’t overwhelming and feels natural.

I was lucky in that I was brought up exposed to a variety of religions and then chose my own. There are aspects of all types that I like and I kind of patchwork them together. But I was never forced to choose one. It did get confusing going to a Catholic school, visiting all the Vacation Bible Schools, following Nana’s old Pagan Ways, and attending church at a Disciples of Christ-but I think they all gave me a good, solid foundation to build upon.

At any rate, we answer the questions when we can, We don’t shield Sam from my hospital stays, Toby’s death, Toby’s funeral, Toby’s burial, or anything else having to do with death and sickness. He takes them as facts f life.

Anyway, I no longer feel Toby’s presence. I know he’s in my heart and he’s all over our house, but he is gone. He has gone on to better things. Maybe he is back in another form or maybe he moved on to a higher dimension to learn more things and will be back to meet me one day. I don’t know. I miss him and love him and will one day see him again, even if he’s just a little butterfly that lands on my shoulders for a second.



Under comments, I am going to post some that people left about Toby on his birthday because I think they are nice. I shall remove most of the names…

58 comments:

Anonymous said...

I'll be thinking of you both and that sweet little baby I held in my arms. Pauletta

Anonymous said...

Kelly Jean Elizabeth Gabbard
Happy Birthday Precious Little Toby!!

Toby Patrick-Howard's birthday

Anonymous said...

Rita Brewer Robinson
Happy Birthday, Toby!

Anonymous said...

• Delinda Powell
will be with you in spirit.. will hug my babies closer and tighter tomorrow.. as it is their birthday too.. especially my Dakota..

Elizabeth Glass said...

Thinking of you and your family today with hopes you are able to celebrate that he lived, and that you knew him. ((hugs))

Rebecca said...

Me too. I'm glad you got to meet him as well.

Jessica Belcher Griffith said...

Happy Birthday Toby.

Brenda Patrick said...

Miss my little guy. Happy Birthday.

Rebecca said...

Thank you, Katerina.

Anonymous said...

Dilyara Dilly Nasybullina
Happy birthday Toby!

Joette Morris Gates said...

Thinking of you all as you remember and honor this adorable little boy!!

Melissa Deeann Allen said...

Happy 4th of July today, and happy birthday, tomorrow, sweet Toby!!

Cathy Illman said...

Happy birthday Toby!

Rebecca said...

Happy wedding anniversary to you!

Cathy Illman said...

thank you!

Ashley Sexton Neff said...

Happy Birthday, Toby! I wish I had met you, but I want you to know I'll never forget you and the impact you had on so many people. For such a tiny little fella, you sure knew how to move mountains to bring good people together. You will always be missed. Love and hugs to your Mom & Dad, brother & sister-to-be, and the rest of the family.

Lelsie Cannon said...

Toby was so tiny and new. I love to watch the expressions flit across his face and wonder what he was thinking.

Rebecca said...

I think he knew more than what we thought was going on...He had an old soul. and the cutest little sneeze.

Anonymous said...

Roberta Schultz
Happy birthday, sweet Toby. Glad to have shared some time with you and you parents at Grailville.

Rebecca said...

So glad we got to meet you and take him with us. It was the best weekend.

Sean Martin Cantwell said...

Happy Birthday Toby! I never got to meet you, but in case you didn't know, you have a great mum & dad! And big brother Sam too! Also not forgetting a little sister soon too! Keep smiling Toby! X

Hailey M. Goodwin said...

I am sorry I only got ti see your smiling face once. I can say that you were and are loved. You are missed, and even though your life was short it impacted more than you will ever know. Thoughts and prayers little Toby.

Rebecca said...

Thank you, Hailey. I am so glad you came to visit us in the hospital.

Anonymous said...

I was glad i got to meet him. I hope you have a beautiful day tomorrow. Hugs, and i hope to meet Iris soon

Melissa Deeann Allen said...

I am truely sad that I didn't get to meet you! I can tell you that there isn't a minute that goes by that your family doesn't think of you. You may not be with us on earth, but you will always be here because you are living in the hearts of so many!!!

Rebecca said...

Happy early birthday little guy.

Brenda Patrick said...

Happy Birthday sweet boy!

Sara Luhman said...

What a sweet angle!

Rebecca said...

Thank you, everyone. It was a nice day, actually, and good to spend some time with him

Marie Direction said...

Keeping you all close in my thoughts today.

Lynn Livezey said...

thoughts and prayers are with you and the family
Happy Birthday lil Toby

Melissa Deeann Allen said...

That must be the most beautiful grave in the cemetary!

Rebecca said...

Well, it's definitely the busiest and the most colorful! :-)

Melissa Deeann Allen said...

As it should be!! :)

Leslie Cannon said...

This is a cute picture. Love the belly button.

Rebecca said...

Yeah, it's kind of sticking out there, isn't it? I like this one, too, especially since Sam took it.

Kelly Jean Elizabeth Gabbard said...

Awww Sam did do a great job!!!

Valerie Walters Streit said...

Thinking about you all today. Much love & prayers your way.

Barbi Reynolds said...

Happy Birthday sweet Toby.

Keith Stewart said...

Glad I had the chance a chance to meet the little fella!

Katerina Lewis said...

Happy Birthday Toby! Although you were only here a short time, you were loved by many.

Anonymous said...

Oh Honey, I feel your pain, I really do. I've cried every time I read one of your posts regarding Toby. But thats ok, healing can only come if you allow yourself to feel the pain. It will get better and ease over time, that's all I can tell you. Hang in there and get ready for IRIS!!!!!!!!!!!! ♥

Hailey M. Goodwin said...

Hugs today. I hope your visit to toby's grave site is special.

Rebecca said...

Thanks, Hailey. I'm excited to go visit him. It's been awhile and I want to put some pretties on his grave.

Karen Rucker said...

Happy birthday.

Anonymous said...

Helen Harvey Happy Birthday Toby x

Joette Morris Gates said...

Happy Birthday in Heaven, Toby. I am sure angels surround you as you celebrate.

Vickie Chumbley Crankshaw said...

Thinking about you all.....

Karen Rucker said...

Happy birthday to Toby. I wish I could have known you longer. I will always
remember you.

Calypso Rucker said...

my friend Toby was born a year ago today. he died when he was six weeks old. he never got to make a snow angel or see Christmas or hold a pretty girl's hand. i miss him and i love him. Happy birthday Toby James Patrick-Howard.

Rebecca said...

Not quite true. He DID get to hold a pretty girl's hand because he met YOU. :-) Thank you for the birthday wishes.

Brenda Patrick said...

thanks for rembering.

Zaven Rucker said...

happy birthday. WE LOVE YOU!!!

Anonymous said...

Rebecca...I guess my parents were way ahead of their time because they were much like you and Pete and never shielded me from the unpleasantries or truths of life. I attended my first funeral shortly before my first birthday when my mother's family buried her brother Glenn, who died in the Korean war. Our daily rituals included sitting down together for supper. The table conversation was adult and sometimes dealt with the trials and tribulations of family and friends. Believe me, since Mama and Daddy both came from huge families, we had a lot to discuss!!! I grew up knowing that stuff happens and that none of us is perfect...and that the key to a happy and successful life was clearly learning to cope with the bumps in the road. My parents both enjoyed humor and we laughed a lot...and, therefore, found joy in the smallest moments that made us smile. I know folks now who have "older" children (eight years and up) and they never take their children to funerals or allow them to hear about the ups and downs of family relationships. If we create a perfect world for our children, they will expect us to continue to do so into their adult years...which is catastrophic. If we advise our children and expect them to do as we tell them, then we become responsible for whatever happens to them. They must learn to consider various sides of any decision and proceed in the direction that is best for them. You are so on track for exposing Sam to so many cultures and views...he will grow up learning the value of all people and cultures...which is what I believe this country is all about. :-)

Anonymous said...

Thank you so much for sharing all of this, Rebecca. I can't imagine what the past year has been like for you and won't pretend that I do. And I appreciate your views/beliefs and explanations on religion, too. I hope that you don't take it offensively when I write messages that I'm praying for you and little Iris; I've always believed that anyone's prayers or form of positive energy/thoughts is a good thing and hope that you do, too. Anyway... Hang in there. Know that I'm thinking of you and Iris and Sam and Pete -- know that I'm looking forward to Iris' arrival and getting to know her through your words and reflections.

Anonymous said...

Oh, and as for the marriage stuff... It never ceases to amaze me how people (men and women) can be so out-of-tune with the people in their lives; how we can fail each other in the times of greatest need and desire, not for lack of trying or wanting to try all the time, but just out of human imperfections/thoughtlessn​ess/selfishness. My personal thoughts on the matter are to just keep loving and living. Maybe your husband is feeling a lot of things he can't express well/at all right now. The past year has certainly been full of so many emotions and hard-earned experiences that no parent should have to go through. And hey, if that doesn't work, write a story about him to get out your frustrations! ;-) Remember what Pam Duncan says: "Give the guy a small penis and he'll never think you're writing about him!" ;-)

Rebecca said...

Thank you, Chrissie. And I never take offense when people say things like that to me. I've heard a lot of things since he died like "God just needed another angel" or "He's in a better place" (I don't care-I want him in this crappy place with me :). and things like that and I know that in some cases people just don't know what to say and in other cases they say things that they hope make me feel better but at the very least make THEM feel better. So I'm getting better with that.

Anonymous said...

I completely suck at the whole death thing. I'd rather do just about anything than go to a funeral. Ironically, I haven't been to bed yet and am supposed to leave for one in a few hours -- one of my favorite English teachers from middle school, without whose instruction, encouragement, and inspiration I wouldn't be who I am today. I've not had much experience with death. I'll be 40 next month and still have three of my four grandparents, had one set of great-grandparents until I was in first and second grade, still have both parents, all half-siblings, all of my cousins, all but one uncle, all of my aunts... I'm more fortunate than just about anyone I know in these terms. So I often feel "guilty" for other people's losses. Which is goofy, I know, but it's just how I feel. I don't have children and don't ever plan on having any, aside from my wonderful kitty-puffs, for several reasons. We lost our oldest this past March and it is a pain that I don't think you ever get used to. I still think about her every day; the pain is less, but is there nonetheless. I guess it's a good thing to be able to feel that sadness, to acknowledge that sense of loss -- if we didn't have that, I don't think we'd be human. And I don't know how to be anything other than that. (Although some days, just trying to get up to "human" takes all I've got! LOL!) Well, friend, I'm gonna try to rest a few hours before going to pay my respects to a magnificent woman. You try to get some rest, too. Rest helps all kinds of things -- this I know from experience (or lack thereof, LOL).