Saturday, December 1, 2012

Never let Corbin be forgotten...thoughts

It's been so long since I've wrote anything on this page. But I feel like I can share here. Like it's safe.

What I fear the most is that Corbin will be forgotten. It's different when you have a living child; they are always around, doing things, passing milestones, making your life brighter.
But when your child is's totally different. You LIVE EACH DAY trying to share their story, spread their legacy, continue their life.

It's hard.

I love my son. Don't you ever question that. He has changed my life more then you could ever fathom. Corbin was the best and worst thing to ever happen to me. He was the best in the sense that he opened my eyes to compassion, true love, patience, PATIENCE!!!, and the will to make a difference. He was the worst in the sense that I have never really felt pain until he left. I thought I did.
My boyfriend died in a motorcycle crash when I was eighteen. I've never written about this before. In the moment, it was the worst thing that had ever happened to me. I remember laying in my bed just screaming in pain. My soul was broken. But I also remember the day I "got over it". I remember waking up and realizing that I wasn't thinking about Brandon. I wasn't thinking about the way he died and I moved on.

But losing a child.


Losing a child is losing a piece of yourself. Losing a child has no comparison. Losing a child defines you. Whether you chose to let that definition be positive or negative is up to you, but it defines you and the entirety of your life.

Some people compare losing a child to losing a pet. I will not apologize for the fact that I will NEVER.




agree to that comparison. I lost my son, then a couple months later my dog died. My dog, my puppy, of TWELVE years. The puppy that was a surprise from my parents after begging for months, and months, and months, for a golden retriever. That day I finally got one. His eyes were droopy but he was mine. He was my Sandy. I loved that dog incredibly. I cried just thinking about the day he would die. After I got married, I took Sandy with me to my new home. I had to chain him up for a couple weeks so that he would know this is his new home and that he should stay close by, since a highway went in front of our house. He did great. He stayed close by, only crossing the street to forage through the neighbor's trash.
And they loved him.
They would set scraps out for him, knowing that he would visit sometime during the night and gobble those scraps up.
They asked about him, after he died. They asked "Where is Sandy? We left some deer scraps out for him but they haven't been eaten. Is he okay?"

I cried the day he died. I'm tearing up right now thinking about it.

Sandy was MY puppy. Even though he was twelve human years old, 36 dogs years old, he was always my puppy. He was gold, and soft, and the sweetest, most loving dog you have ever met.
But it was his time. He was getting old. His nose was grey and he started keeping to himself. I knew it was coming, but it still hurt when my father-in-law called to tell me that Sandy had died during the night, in his sleep.


losing Corbin was different. Losing Corbin was NOTHING like losing Sandy. Sandy was a pet, he was a part of my family but I knew he would die. I knew he wouldn't stick around forever.

I thought my son would stick around forever.

What more do I need to say? There is no greater loss in life then having to bury your child. Whether they were still in utero or 45 years old, there is NOTHING like losing a child and don't you DARE tell me otherwise.

Monday, October 8, 2012

Capture your Grief: Day 8: Jewelry

Day 8: Jewelry
The necklace I received after Corbin passed away, sent by three William's Syndrome moms, along with another necklace with both my boy's names on it. My most treasured gift that I wear almost daily. 

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Capture your Grief Photography Challenge: Day 6

The Sawyer's Heart Project and I got together, asked our followers on Facebook, and pulled from our own experiences to put this list together.
We understand that most people just have no freaking clue what to say and that is ok. But please don't say the following! 

Capture Your Grief, Day 6, What not to say

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Capture Your Grief

If you have lost a child, at any age or gestation, check out a photography challenge to "Capture your Grief". You aren't required to play along every day, only as often as you feel comfortable, but I do suggest trying to participate every day because you never know how it may open your eyes to the beauty around you after your loss.

We're on day 4, I apologize for posting late, but don't worry, you can catch up if you feel inclined. I am posting on my Instagram account @calishorty4, look me up and follow along.

Friday, August 10, 2012

NOT the same

I know I have written about his before, but please, please, please do not compare losing a pet to losing a family member. It is not, and never will be, the same.

I am truly, sincerely sorry you lost your pet. I love animals and it is very sad when one passes away. I had my Golden Retriever Sandy for 12 years before he passed away in his sleep. I had my son Corbin for three months before his heart stopped. Not the same.

I know most parents will never understand, and I hope they never do. Losing a child is a cruel, dark, and very sad time in a parent's life. We are not supposed to out live our children, it is just not the way it should be. But sadly it does happen. After Corbin passed, family members came out to say that they had lost their two year to drowning, another lost her middle aged son to a car crash, another to Lupus..and that was just in my immediate family. I hate that others can relate.

You can NOT relate, however, if you lost a pet. Don't even begin to say that you understand because you don't. You may think you do, but you don't.
Just do not say it.

Losing a pet is NOT "the hardest thing I have ever gone through"
Losing a pet is NOT "like losing a family member"
Losing a pet is losing a pet. Not your mother, not your sister, and most certainly not your child.

I want to stress here that I am not trying to be insensitive or hateful. I am just trying to let you know how much it hurts when you say that! As I type this I am on the verge of tears, trembling with a mix of anger and sadness. I just read a conversation where someone said losing their cat was the hardest thing they have ever gone through. Then someone said they understood, it was like losing a family member.
Oh how I wanted to yell and scream and make them understand.
But I can't do that.
If I yelled about how stupid that sounds to me and how hurtful it is, I would be singled out at the crazy, emotional mother who lost a baby. So I, as tactfully as I could, commented that I was truly sorry but I did not agree that it was the worst that could happen.
But they don't understand.

So instead, I am here, venting to my computer about how hurt and sad and angry that makes me. I cried when Sandy died, I reminisced about his life and the good times we had together. Then it was over. I had my  moment to be sad over my puppy but then it was done.
After Corbin died, I just wanted to switch places with him. I cried, and screamed, and grieved, and it was truly the worst thing that had ever happened to me. That grief will never end. I will always long for my child, to touch his toes, to stroke his hair, to kiss his little button nose. But I will never have that chance. I will never hold my baby again and that is the worst thing in the world.

So please, I beg you, do not compare the two. Losing any family member, whether pet or human is painful yes, but they are NOT the same.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Paint a sunset

Dear Peanut,
It's your daddy's birthday today.
I know he must be thinking of you and how much he misses you. It breaks my heart that he won't be able to celebrate his life without his second son here.
After you passed away, Hubby told me that after we got married, he prayed and prayed for two boys. The day we found out we were having you, took his breathe away because it showed that God had answered his prayers. But then you were taken back. It broke his heart Peanut. It truly tore his heart open. Why would God give him the two sons he asked for, only to take one away?
Even though you could not stay, we would not trade a single day we had with you. He was, and is, so proud of you. So proud of what you have inspired and accomplished through those that knew you.
I hope you can have a moment with your Daddy tomorrow and let him know that you will always be with us and you love him. I hope you paint the most magnificent sunset tomorrow, just for him.

Love you always,

Monday, July 9, 2012

Power outage 2012

It feels like so long since I've updated here! I have a lot to tell you all.

Friday, June 29th, an unexpected hurricane-like storm swept across the East Coast knocking out power to about three million people. I have read that the storm was like a hurricane just without the warning, and we were very unprepared for the damage it would cause.

That Friday evening around 7pm, Hubby, Monkey, and myself had left the house to head to a carnival down the road a couple miles. I was excited to watch Monkey ride the rides, eat fair food, and have a good time as a family. Before we left the house, Father-in-Law tells us that there is a storm coming and we may not be able to stay the whole time.
We think "Oh ok, a thunderstorm, no big deal".

When we arrive, there are clear skies and no reason to suspect a dangerous storm was on it's way, very, very quickly.

Monkey picked out a caterpillar to get painted on his arm by a woman not wearing a bra (uck) then we headed over to the rides. 

He has a blast on the dinosaur ride.  (Notice the grey skies)

And the airplane ride..

By the time he makes it onto the car ride, the skies are turning darker and I'm starting to worry.

You can see them roll in and get darker..

By this time, I had gotten in line to get a lemonade and a corn dog thinking I had time before it started raining.
Boy was I wrong. 
I look above the stand and see the darkest storm cloud I've ever seen rolling and speeding over the mountain. I get this frantic sense of urgency and a feeling that this is no normal thunderstorm; this storm is dangerous and we need to get out of there FAST.
I turn around and yell at the Hubby that "we have to go NOW!". He in turn yells at the ride conductor to shut the thing off and we run inside, grab Monkey off the ride, and take off towards the truck.
We are halfway to the truck when this solid wall of wind SLAMS into the carnival. It was like a slap in the face, it was so solid and harsh. Trash goes flying, trash cans are tossed a dozen feet into the air, and tents are destroyed in the process. 

We make it to the truck before it really starts raining. By this time, the entire carnival had been cleared out. I felt bad for the people left fighting to try and get tents under control, but this storm was unlike anything I had ever experienced. 

The storm descended upon Rainelle in a matter of minutes. There was no warning and no expectations of a sever storm. We merely thought it was a mild thunderstorm, but little did we know this storm would knock our power out for the next 5 days.

I had to take a picture of this idiot standing out in the middle of everything waiting to get struck by lightning. 

We head back towards home, passing downed trees already, and it had only been about 10-15 minutes since the storm had arrived.
We come upon a long line of cars, thinking there was an accident, we wait.

When we get to the end of the line we realize the entire roadway is blocked by a giant fallen tree. We have no choice but to turn around and try to go the long way home.
Over the mountain. 

By this point, we realized that we may not be able to make it over the mountain since trees were falling left and right but there was no other choice. We had no idea how long it would take someone to clear the tree from the highway, so we decided to make an attempt to go around.

We head back to Rainelle, then up over the mountain. We come up to a convoy of cars trying to go the same way. They had made it about 5 miles before the came onto a downed tree.

Those closer to the front of the line all came out into the pouring rain, teamed together, and starting clearing the road.

You can't see from the picture very well, but we came across a much larger tree and luckily one of the convoy members had a chain that they hooked to our truck, and we were able to pull the tree out of the road.

It was actually kind of exciting to watch as all these locals ganged together and helped each other out in a time of need. I'm so happy I had my camera with me to catch this event!

We all slowly made our way up the road, leading the rest of the convoy, and would stop to clear trees.

Here's another downed tree. By this time, it was really pouring rain and getting dark.

It took us all about an hour and a half to make a, usually, 15 minute commute across the mountain. But it was truly inspiring to see the community come together in a crisis and help everyone make it safely home!

Of course, when we arrive home, the power was out. There was really nothing else for us to do but to gather up the flashlights, water, and batteries then go to bed. 

Then next morning, I headed out to survey the damage.

This is our neighbor across the street. The top third of their pine tree had snapped off then was dropped about 30 feet away on top of their fence. 
My dad told me the tell tale sign of a tornado is when the tops of trees are ripped off, not blown over, but snapped. I'm positive if we had lived in a flatter area, it would have been torn apart by tornadoes. 

Here a tree had fallen on the road and the power line was just feet above the road.

Here's the tree.

Here's the house I saw the night before, in the daylight.

It's blurry, but the tree on the left had been swept right out of the ground, roots and all.

Here is where the giant tree had blocked the road that night before. You can see the power lines just hanging in mid air.

Again, another tree that was just swept right out of the ground, roots and all.

Here is a photo from a friend who lives just 30 minutes from us.

This photo is from a news station near Huntington, Wv.

Here is a graphic of the storm itself, and how fast it made its way across the East Coast.

My best friend and her family had planned to head to the beach the Saturday morning after the storm, with no idea of the damage it would cause during their vacation. She told me later that she had seen the rear end of the storm where she was in South Carolina. They took their time making their way home since there was no power to come home to! 

During our five days without power, it was very stressful because there was also no gasoline! There was no way to fill up the cars and make it to work because none of the gas stations were able to get power. It was scary there for a couple days, not knowing when the power would get back on, people were flipping out and stealing gas, punching people, throwing things at cops, and acting like it was the end of the world. 
Luckily I had filled up my car the morning before the storm so I was able to make it somewhere if I really needed to, but I was also careful to conserve what I had.

The first day without power, I was itching to have the internet back to stay updated, but by day two, I was more worried about staying cool. Neither my husband or I have internet on our phones, so we had to rely on the radio to stay up to date. We stocked up on water (we have a pump so no power = no water) from a family member who has city water, we washed off in another family member's pool, and just tried to stay cool in the upper 90 temperatures. 

We realized on day two that we had a generator in the garage the whole time. *facepalm*. It was an ancient thing that made a lot of noise, but it was able to run our fridge, deep freezer, two fans, and the tv (to watch movies) as well as Father-In-Law's fridge, deep freezer, fans, and TV. The next step was to find gas to run the generator. 
It took a little hunting, but FIL was able to find gasoline to keep the generator running from a station that had their own generator. 

The next couple days people desperately tried to find water, gasoline, and ice. All stores within close driving distance ran out of any ice, gasoline, or water they had and locals would have to wait for them to get stocked again. There were lines, up to an hour long, for gasoline, and many people drove out of state to get generators. 

Slowly, very slowly, power was restored to some places and homes. Stores were able to open back up at about day 4 and have enough supplies for the public, and gasoline trucks made it in to refuel the gas stations. 

We really didn't do much except go swimming and sit in front of our fans. I was really beginning to worry that I wouldn't be able to work since there weren't any local stations that were pumping gas. You could drive down the road and see half a dozen cars just parked at gas stations because they didn't have enough gas to get anywhere else. They just had to wait. 

The worst part about this: the PGA was coming. Since last year, White Sulfer Springs has hosted the PGA at the Greenbrier Hotel. So there were thousands of out of state PGA'ers coming to the area, only to find it without power, no gas, and no where to stay. On top of that, once WV was declared in a state of emergency, there were hundreds of power workers that came from as far as Georgia to help WV get power back. We don't have enough hotels in our area to accommodate all these people, and sadly, I saw dozens of power employees forced to sleep on cots and tiny air mattresses outside in the parking lot of Wal-Mart. 

We still do not have power to everyone in WV, and I can only pray they are able to restore it soon. It is going on day 10 and the heat is only getting worse. I hope people remember that these power employees have driven hundreds of miles to help us get power back and we have to be patient. There was a lot of damage and they are working very long hours in the sweltering heat to help us. 

We, thankfully, got power back very late Wednesday night but I know a lot of people (including FIL right next door) that still don't have power. This storm really caught the whole state by surprise and many were not prepared. I know one thing I have learned: we will be getting our own generator! 

Thursday, June 7, 2012

The new me

The old me never would have donated blood.

The old me would just throw those March if Dimes donation letters in the trash.

The old me would get so angry about traffic, long lines, or flight delays.

The old me would say I'm praying for a sick person but not actually do it.

The old me would live each day lazily, not thinking about what could be done to help others.

The old me would take for granted all the good things in her life.

But I'm not that person anymore. I couldn't be if I wanted to. The minute I had Corbin, my life changed. Forever.

The new me tries to do something good for someone else as often as possible.

The new me donates to charity and good causes as much as I can afford.

The new me doesn't stress over long lines or flight delays. I know everything happens for a reason and I try to make the best of it. Every day is an adventure.

The new me realizes now how incredibly important donating blood and organs is. You CAN save a life, multiple lives, by one selfless donation.

The new me thanks God every day for my healthy two year old and the achievements he makes every day.

The new me cries when seeing posts about sick children and prays through those tears that they make it through.

You see, now that I know what I know about pulse ox, heart defects, newborn screening, and how often children die, I can never look at life the same way again. I can never go back to how I was. I can never have the old way of thinking that I had. I know too much and I cannot keep that to myself. I have to share that knowledge with the world!

Corbin lived a short life, yes, but it was full of meaning! It had a purpose. My son did not die in vain. My son has already made a huge difference in my life, my family's life, and in the lives of others who never met him. My son is an inspiration.

The new me sees that. The new me is not ignoring the call, the call to educate and inspire others to make a difference. The new me has passion and a purpose in life, all because of Corbin and his short three months on Earth.

The new me is thankful.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012


I wish I had something motivating and inspiring to say, but I don't. I feel like I'm stuck. Stuck in a mud hole devoid of words or inspiration.
I'm just blank.

I recently took on two part time jobs and even though I still have time to write, network, and keep up with my volunteer work, I feel like I'm not doing anything useful. I don't like that feeling. I need something to do. Something useful, something good. I need a project.

But what? I don't know.

I look around and see these amazing moms and dads, making a difference, helping others, and being inspiring contributors to society and I feel left out. I want to be a part of that. I want to help.


I don't know what has brought on this drought of thought and emotion but I really don't like it. 

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Heaven sent

I've been told that as an angel mom, you tend to look for signs from God or from your angel. But today there was no doubt; I was sent a sign from Peanut just to make me smile.

I still am smiling.

Monkey and I were playing outside after being cooped up all day while it rained. He was splashing around in the mud puddles in his new fireman's boots my mom got him.
I looked up, towards the back field and literally saw a rainbow materialize before my eyes.

It started behind the farm..

and ended behind our neighbor's house.



As I watched, it slowly disappeared and I gave a sign of disappointment. I silently thanked God for letting me witness such beauty. 

It wasn't a minute later, when it started to sprinkle rain. The heavy kind of sprinkle where it looks like it's falling in slow motion. The kind of rain lovers make out to in the movies.

I turned around, and OHMYGOSH, the rainbow reappeared, stronger then before!

This time it was closer, starting right in our back yard!

It got brighter..

and brighter! Followed by a second bow.

I could only gasp, and keep snapping pictures.

The other end stopped in our horse field, followed by a second bow as well.


Thank you Peanut, for making me smile today. 

Thursday, May 3, 2012

First impressions

This post is brought on by a photo I came across today on Facebook.

Have you ever had a moment where you first impression of someone is negative but after you hear their story, your impression takes a 360?

I had that moment a few days ago. I was shadowing a co-worker on a case with two kids and we took the kids to the park.
While there, I noticed a girl that looked to me, about 16, who was carrying a tiny newborn around. She was surrounded by redneck ( for lack of a better word) boys, was dressed in teeny tiny booty shorts, and was walking around the park barefoot. The day was bright and sunny, around 70 degrees yet the child had no hat or protective clothing from the sun.

My first impression: disgust, disapproval, and pity. I'm thinking "look at this teenager, walking around with a newborn in the heat, looking like trailer trash. I wonder how many more kids she has, did she finish school, and who's the baby daddy?"

I don't say a word out loud, at the same time telling myself to quit being so judgmental. It is a bad habit that really gets me nowhere.

When we get in the car to leave, the girl we are with starts talking about the girl with the baby. She says when the baby was born, she was left in the birth canal too long and suffered a fracture on her skull. It possibly caused brain damage and did cause seizures. The baby had to be taken to a children's hospital and stayed for three months.

Then she tells us that the mother also has a stillborn the year before.

Oh the guilt I felt for being such an ass to judge this girl. The pain she has endured and all I thought when I saw her was "trailer trash".
I couldn't take one minute to try and understand the girl's situation; I just assumed.

We pass by hundreds of people each day, never thinking that the majority of them are suffering, are in pain, or have lost someone dear to them. The assumptions we have, the first impressions and the looks of disapproval. I'm sure people have looked at me thinking " mother, wife, stay at home mom" but never take the time to know the pain and loss I have endured.
We should not make a first impression till after talking to someone and taking the time to hear their story. You never know the struggles people deal with on a daily basis and we all need to slow down and quit being so judgmental.
I know I'm not one to preach as I have yet to stop doing this myself, I just hope by reading this you will slow down next time and tell yourself " I don't know this person's story".

Monday, April 30, 2012

It's getting close

With Corbin's first angel-versary coming up on the 17th, I'm really struggling with what I could do. I am actually going to be in DC on that day, which really bothers me that I won't be home with my family on such a hard day, but it can't be helped.

I know while I'm in DC, I'm going to release a balloon for him. It will nice to know that I never would have made it DC without Corbin. I never would have had these opportunities or would have met such great people. Maybe I could get a few of us at the meeting to have a moment for Corbin.

I'm just wondering, angel moms: what did you do for your angel's first anniversary?

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

So there was this post..

So there was this post on Babble, lets just say it was about "worst things about being a mom."
The title caught my attention on Twitter so I followed the link to read the article. When I got to the page, the first thing that jumped out at me was the picture.

It was a woman with a banana to her head, like she was going to "shoot" herself.

I skimmed over the list, barely reading, then left my comment.
"This would have been better with a different picture, I'm not a fan, but I agree with some of the points on the list..etc."

Did that sound hateful to you?
I didn't mean it to be hateful, I didn't type it with hate in my heart, and I certainly didn't use hateful words.
But apparently I offended a lot of people with my "lack of sense of humor".

The article listed things like
-worrying about your teen's first date
-that moment when you lose sight of your child
-getting the holy trinity of body fluids all over you with a newborn

Things like that.
It wasn't saying that the reader hated being a mom, or that she hated her kids; it was just talking about those crazy/scary/nasty moments that happen when you have children.

The thing that bothered me was the picture. To me, as an angel mom, the first thing I thought of was all those mothers out there who suffer from post traumatic stress disorder or extreme depression after having a child. Those mothers that really get so down that they don't want to live anymore. Those mothers who don't like their child and don't know why. Those mothers who really do have a problem and don't like being a mother.

On top of that, the whole list made me sad because I will NEVER have those moments or those worries with Corbin. I will never change horribly nasty diapers, or get thrown up on, or jump out of my skin the first time he falls. I will never pick out baby clothes or be able to complain about his teething or crying. I will never have any of those experiences.

In that split second, when my brain registered that picture, all those thoughts went through my head. When I left my comment, that it was I was referring to but I didn't want to bring everyone down by explaining why I felt that way.

BUT after seeing the writer post on Facebook that she had wrote an article for Babble and "according to the comments, the haters do not like it" the shit storm began.
So now I'm a hater.
What happened after is what I can only call gang mentality. All of her followers were like "oh no she didn't!" and ran over to the page to call me names, make fun of my lack of a sense of humor, call me a "perfect parent" for not finding it funny, and overall just ripping me apart.

I now had to defend myself.
I started off mad and wanting to make everyone feel bad for making fun of me. They had NO FLIPPING idea why I felt the way I did. But as I started typing, it didn't come out mad or even the least bit angry; I began to cry. I poured out my heart to those mean people and explained calmly, and very emotionally why I felt the way I did. I just wanted someone to be like "I get what your saying and I'm sorry."

A few did, some said things like "I'm sorry for your loss, BUT you have to remember that this is all in fun..." BLAH BLAH BLAH. Now they think I'm the depressed mom of a dead child that can't take a joke.

I was very touched to see a few comments that were sincere and apologetic. The writer herself took the time to apologize and offer condolences and did not try to explain herself. That I really appreciated, and the fact that she took the post down from Facebook. That really made me feel like I was heard. No longer was there a post pointing out the "haters" so her followers weren't all riled up and ready for a fight.

I wasn't trying to be that person that started an argument or made a big deal of something little. I really wasn't. I said I didn't like the picture and left it at that. I could have explained why, in my first comment, and made a huge scene about how inappropriate it was to have that picture considering the number of mothers suffering from PTSD in the world, I could have made an emotional show of myself crying about how this list offended me because my son had died, but I didn't. The hateful responses, however, forced me to explain myself. I was now the sad mom who couldn't take a joke.

Oh freaking well.

It doesn't matter now and I'm not going to check back to see if anyone said anything else. I just wanted to get this out. When you are in that kind of situation, don't attack people. Don't call people names and assume they are being a jack hole or trying to cause a scene. There are people out there who take certain things in a different way and we should all be a little more considerate. Instead of saying "what the hell is your problem?", say "I'm sorry you feel that way, can I ask why?"

The world is in dire need of more respect and better manners. We could all take a cue from the lessons taught in Kindergarten.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Photo a Day: April

I LOVE these photo challenges. I tried the 365 project but the one I was following didn't have a daily prompt of what you should photograph so it was kind of boring. Needless to say, I didn't follow that challenge very long.

Over at FatMumSlim, she is hosting a photo challenge for April. I followed through the March photo challenge for every day and I really enjoy the ideas she comes up with.

Here is a screen shot of her photo challenge. If you want to follow along on Instagram, use the #PHOTOADAYAPRIL hashtag so others can search for your photo.

Day 1: Your reflection.
And thanks to a comment on my Facebook I have to address: NO I didn't beat up! LOL. That is a shadow from my Ipad. I was trying to move the mirror around so there wasn't a glare from the ceiling fan light but also not a huge shadow on my face from my Ipad. This was the best I could get! 

Follow me on Instagram at: Calishorty4 and Tumblr

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Hello Mr. Senator

Yesterday I got a phone call from a very important person, a person that has helped us save lives across our state, and whom I owe a giant debt of gratitude.

Senator Ron Miller

Yet, he called to thank me. The way he answered the phone made me giggle:
"Hello, this is Senator Ron Miller"
My jaw dropped, my eyes got big, then I collected myself and said hello.
"So have you heard, your pulse oximetry (he could barely pronounce it) bill got passed?"
I just giggled, and said "Yeah, I heard!". 

He went on to thank me for all the work I have done on the pulse ox bill, all the networking and advocating, and all the emails. I was speechless at first, hearing what he was saying. I told him that it is I who should be thanking him for all his support and for helping us pass the bill. I told him, that thanks to him and his fellow supporters, that lives will indeed be saved and I am eternally grateful. He told me "if you ever need anything, give us a call, and we might not be able to answer right away, but we will do our best to help you!". I said "I will hold you up to that, thank you!". He just laughed, but I don't think he realized how serious I am!!

On top of that, I got a thank-you letter in the mail from an American Heart Associate who (I believe) I haven't met. It made me smile and really made my day hearing gratitude from others, others who have heard my story and appreciate all the hard work I have put into this.

So thank you. Thank you for your kind words and heartfelt thanks. I sincerely appreciate it and it makes my day to hear that Corbin lives on in others. 

Thursday, March 15, 2012


I've been thinking about doing this for a very long time now. I've been told my many people that I should. I've even talked to others about getting it done. But what's holding me back is: I don't want people to think I'm doing it for the wrong reason.

I want to write a book.

I'm not worried about making money or becoming a "real" author and writing more. I just want to put Corbin's full story into one collective piece to share with others. There are a lot of things I haven't written about that are part of his story and should be told. 

I just don't want people to say "She's doing it for the money", or that I'm trying to make money off of Corbin's death. Because that's not true. So many good things have happened because of Corbin, that I feel it needs to be shared on a bigger level. 

I love blogging and I love how many people I can reach, but it's not the same. I want to be able to walk to my bookshelf, pull out a book, and say to Monkey "this is your brother's story, this is his life. Read it and learn how he changed the world." 

I want to have something physical that represents his story. Something I can take with me and give to others. "Read this and learn that good things can happen after heartbreak. Learn how you can make a difference, how you can save lives, and how you can memorialize your baby for eternity." 

Does that sound selfish? I hope it didn't come across that way. 

This isn't for me, this is for all those mothers out there who have lost a child and didn't know where their life would go afterwards. This is for all those unborn babies who need someone to talk for them. I want to do this because I am so proud of Corbin. I'm not the one who touched so many hearts or inspired others to make a change. He did. I didn't show the strength of a lion after battling a life threatening disease, he did. My son is amazing and I want to share that with everyone. 

You hear that Peanut? I'm am so very, very proud of you. You have made such a difference in your short little life and it amazes me every day the people you have touched and inspired. 

I wonder if you would be willing to help? Would you share how Corbin touched your life in some way? 
I bet we could fill chapters with those stories. :)

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Heart Ball 2012

Some of you may have read about my recent trip to Washington DC, part one and two. If you haven't, take a minute (or longer) to read so you'll understand how crazy my weekend was.

The day I get back from DC, and after sleeping in till noon (yikes!), my hubby and I got out of bed and prepare to leave again in a couple hours to go back up to Charleston for the AHAs (American Heart Association) yearly Heart Ball.

I had been invited not only as a heart mom, but as a speaker. I was pretty nervous and had been contemplating what to say for weeks. I didn't write a speech because I never stick to them and I usually just "wing it" and do pretty fine. This had a bit more pressure because it was a fundraiser and I didn't want it to have too much detail and lose people's attention, nor did I want it to be really emotional and become a sobbing mess in front of 300 finely dressed people.

We clean up pretty good!
*and yes, that is the dining room table on it's side. It's used as a barrier to keep The Kid out of the kitchen*

The drive up is uneventful and we arrive in Charleston right on time. The AHA was able to get us a room at the Marriot, where the ball was taking place, so that we wouldn't have to drive back home again at 1 in the morning. *waves* Thanks Holly!! So the Hubby and I were excited about staying in a nice hotel together for once. :)

The reason for the ball: to honor Dr. Dilip Basu and his Heart of Gold Award.

Once you step inside the ballroom, you see all the table full of items for the silent auction.

Then in the middle of the ballroom were our heart kids! That's Jacob on the far right whose mom blogs as well!

These cutouts were blown up from the pictures I took of the kids months earlier.

We wander around for a while, looking at the items up for silent auction, get our pictures taken, then wander back to our table to eat. 

Out table arrangement.

My delicious salad.

So before dinner was served, it was time for the night's introduction by Bailey, a 9 year old heart survivor.
Click here to watch his speech. I didn't catch the first couple seconds, but he did great!

Then dinner was served.

Then dinner, which was yummy. The steak wasn't as rare as I would have liked, but the fish I could have eaten every day for the rest of my life.

The ballroom.

My hubby telling tales of his job as a Correctional Officer. I felt bad for the other heart parents because I know how long Hubby can talk and talk about that kind of thing. But they enjoyed his stories and he was very entertaining.

Check out this little beauty :) She's one sister of a heart survivor.

Then the live auction began!

Here's the auctioneer going around hassling people to bid. :P
The fundraising was slow going, but I was happy to see that people were participating and donating. 

Then it was my turn to speak. I took a deep breath, drank down the rest of my wine, and walked up to the podium.

While I spoke, they showed a slideshow behind me. 

He is me when I spoke in front of Delegates at our state Capitol.

A photo I ordered from Names in the Sand  for Corbin's birthday.

I was pretty proud of myself! I think I did a good job, I didn't get flustered or fumble over my words, and I didn't break down. There was a moment, if you noticed, where I looked over and saw Corbin's picture and I had to take a second to compose myself. But overall I think it went great!

The rest of the night involved free wine, music by a Beatles cover band, and lot's of cute kids dancing and just being adorable. 

Heart warrior Jacob. He was so funny. Whatever game he was playing on his mom's iphone was cracking him up and in turn, making the rest of us laugh along with him.

The band did great! I love how they got involved and let Jacob come up and play the tambourine. 

Heart mom and her gorgeous, curly-haired daughters. 

Jacob was a total ladies man that night.

Dancing with mom.

Check out the video of Jacob totally cutting a rug! Hilarious! 

And another cute video of cute kids dancing. 

Like I said, ladies man!

Our AHA friend Holly, then my two heart mom advocates helping with Corbin's Bill, whose son's are both named Jacob. 

Heart moms, advocates, mothers, wives, and saving lives in honor of all heart babies and Corbin.

I had so much fun. Dinner was great, the speakers were touching and inspiring, and we raised money to help those affected by heart disease. I can't wait for next year!

Now for the best part. Our room. :)

Check out the carpet!

The bed was actually really uncomfortable, the pillows were way too soft or way too hard, but the sheets were really nice!

I want this chair for my living room.

You know I have to get a bathroom shot.

Really? Bath and Body Works? 
You know I took those home :)