Friday, January 16, 2009


As I lay down last night, I did some talking with Jason, but also some thinking to myself. I noticed a big difference in ways to grieve yesterday. My mom is saddened to a point that I worry about her. She has never seemed to be a very happy person, but it seems like this has really broken her. I was so worried about her on the night Eli left us....almost scared. It has been a struggle to talk her into going back home when my family returns to Kentucky, but I hope she does. I have so much support down here, but she really has none. I want her to be in a place where she has friends to lean on, to hold her close and share her pain. For me, I like to laugh right now when I can. It seems a bit manic at times to laugh, then cry, but laughter is what gets me through most days. I don't think Eli would want us to always be crying; he loved to laugh too, so I'm sure he would rather we laugh rather than cry.

I have always been the most pessimistic person I know. I have a rough time seeing the good in most situations. I'm trying SO hard to let this experience change that part of me. I don't know if that makes sense; how can I take the most terrible experience anyone could ever go through and turn it around? Well, in thinking last night, I figure I have two options... I can be bitter and angry for a long time, lay in bed and cry for all that I have lost... OR, I can try to let Eli's memory live on in a positive way, remember all the smiles and love he brought to me, and try to do good to honor him. I started this by asking for donations instead of flowers. I plan on doing a few things to give back that involves other babies in the hospital we were in... I miss Eli, more than I can even say....but I need to focus on the good moments and go forward from there.

I keep trying to work through what has happened and look for things, reasons why... I may never truly understand and maybe I'm not supposed to, but I like to hope that whatever the reasons were, we did what we were fated to do.

The next two days are going to be pure hell... I already feel so lost when I wake up. I made myself get out of bed today. I made myself eat. I'll keep going because I have things to do, things to honor my boy. He was just such a blessing that touched my life in ways I never thought possible and I hope and pray that I make him proud and help others so that his life and death were not in vain.

Thanks so much to Rachel at Portrait Playland for the amazing photos she took for us last week.... She was yet another special person who was brought into our lives through this tragedy.


Meg said...

These are precious photos of Eli, Rita. He's an angel. I'm thinking of you and Jason with a heavy heart. You are stronger and braver than you know.


Gary Denton said...

I know you've asked why this happened, and wondered at the lessons Eli brought to you and all of us. I'd like to share one with you.
Your ability to write and maintain this history of Eli's life is simply amazing. I have told friends about it all over the country, and I know many of them have clicked on the link and stopped by to read, cry with you, and send their prayers.
You and Eli have raised our awarness of SMA- a disease I'd never heard of before, and you have personally shown me that strength and grace can abound in times and places where there appears to be none.
There are more reasons and lessons, but I'll leave those for others to reveal and for you to collect, like pages of a living epic story, the middle of which features a brave little boy named Eli and his incredible parents.

Anonymous said...

Rita -
Thank you so much for sharing pictures of your precious Eli. I know we've never met but I just wanted you to know you and your family are constantly in my thoughts and prayers.

Amy (from MSN August board)

Amanda said...

I have a blog of my own, and I came across yours a while ago by clicking on Next Blog. I had a baby girl (Emma) right around the time you had Eli, so I kept checking back on his progress. I kept wanting to leave a comment, but seeing as we don't know each other, I didn't know if I should. I just had to today because I wanted you to know that you have changed the way I look at my children. Emma just got over colic a while ago and is overall a lot more fussy than my other two. I would get so frustrated with her and then once I'd read about everything you and your family were going through, I was just thankful she was here with us. Thank you so much for making me realize how lucky we are to have healthy children. I almost feel guilty. I can't begin to imagine the pain you are feeling. You and your family are in my thoughts and prayers. I just know he's in heaven smiling that big beautiful smile I've seen in your pictures. God Bless you and your family.

Kelly Tackett said...

Your blog has completely changed the way I look at life, my children, my relationship with God, and my appreciation for the small things. I have struggled with the idea of being a stay-at-home Mommy and having a career, but after my maternity leave with Ashton I just couldn't go back to work. My heart was telling me to stay home. I can relate to you in many ways about being a mommy that just needed a moment of silence, but then when you get it something is missing and you want it back.

I truly believe that Eli was sent here for a reason and even though his time was short, he did more than most people could do in a lifetime of 100 years. His story has affected and changed so many lives in a positive way. Rita and Jason- you guys, as his parents, are remarkable! You are so brave and strong to share his story with others. You guys have been so blessed to have such a wonderful son. Even though I never got a chance to meet Eli, I feel that I know him from reading and keeping up with your blog. I have cried, laughed, smiled, and loved with you even though I'm so far away. Please tell your Mom that my shoulder is here for her to lean on when she returns to Kentucky. I will share in her pain and be here for her whenever she needs me.

Please remember that one day when we all get to heaven, we will see Eli and I will get to meet him. I will continue to pray that God's peace and comfort will surround you and help give you strength during this time.

Love & Prayers,
Kelly, Todd, Landon, & Ashton
(Your cousins in KY)

Anonymous said...

We are truly sorry to hear about Eli's passing. We may not understand why these things happen, but keep you faith and know you will see him and hold him in your arms again one day. Our prayers are with you and your family. God Bless.
Rick Robberts and Family

Anonymous said...

What wonderful pictures you have to remember Eli and your time with him. That was very sweet of them to do.

Also in this time of grieving knwo that is it okay to be selfish and take some time for are soo worried about others and need some time to be you....but all that just shows what a wonderful person you are.

I will be thinking of you tomorrow and praying for you always.

Brent, Ginger and Bria

Anonymous said...

The pictures of Eli are beautiful. You can see the love in his eyes when you are both holding him. He was definitly the Astro's biggest littlest fan! What a wonderful collage to remember him by. I had only heard of SMA in passing before, but since Eli's diagnosis, I have read about it and learned so much more. In my learning about it, I have passed this knowledge onto others, which led them to research, find petitions and websites to give help to other families with SMA children. Eli had so many smiley pictures that you shared with us, and from those, I know he would definitly want to see his mommy laughing and smiling and remembering him with her laughs. I have already contacted RMH in regards to donating, because you are so right, it is the best way to remember Eli, by sharing his memory with others, and helping other babies and families in tragic situations. My eyes are seeing Madi in a new light, and even appreciating her late night fusses. When she is older, I will be telling her about Eli, and how much he touched our lives.

Love and Hugs,
Krista, Matt and Madilynn

michelle said...

These pictures are absolutely amazing! Your strength is such an encouragement to everyone. God bless you and your family during these trying times.

Michelle Anderson Tackett

Anonymous said...

Many thoughts and prayers are with you and your precious angel. You can just see the love in his eyes looking at his precious pictures. I'm sure he is looking down on you with pride in his eyes for all that you have done and are doing. You both are amazing people and your experience has made an everlasting impact on my heart. God Bless you all.

Anonymous said...

No words come to mind at this moment. Your strength is amazing, truly amazing. Please take comfort in knowing that through your words (and because of Eli) many of us are becoming stronger, forgiving, more loving people. We will all go home tonight and tell our families how much we love them, how much they mean to us. I don't know if I have ever "spoken" with you on the MSN boards, but know that your family are in my thoughts and prayers. Eli was here for a reason and you've done a wonderful job making us all better people.

Hopeful Mommy to Orrin (MSN boards)

Anonymous said...

Thank you Rita for sharing your beautiful pictures with us. Eli is amazing!
Your strength is inspiration to us all. I am praying for you and your family daily.
Dani (August Mommy from MSN)

Murphy's Law said...

Rita and Jason, these pictures are just gorgeous and really radiate such a beautiful little person who had so much love in his little life. You must remember that Eli never knew anything other than love, love, love.

You are in my thoughts daily as you are still at the beginning of this "forever" road. I promise it gets easier . . . but it doesn't happen quickly enough for those who are carrying such a heavy pain.

Your heart will always ache for Eli but in time the hurt will be replaced with happier memories, acceptance of the past and present, and lots of hope for the future. You remain in my heart, as does your most precious boy. Please do call if you need anything at all.