It has almost been a year since my Pebble went to Heaven, and I’m still struggling to climb out of the darkness, the black pit that grief shoves you in. At first, I didn’t even realize I was in this sorrowful hole. My life was a complete daze, blurred, and unimportant. I wasn’t living a reality. I’m not sure when I came to, but when I opened my eyes, pure darkness surrounded me. A faint light from high above shined into this tiny, gloomy pit. I didn’t care, at the beginning, that I was trapped in this god-forsaken place. My son was gone. My whole world was shattered, but I slowly and faintly, began hearing voices. Voices of my loved ones calling for me. I heard my daughter’s sweet voice calling for her mom. My husband, in a very distant cry, heard him needing me. I, eventually, looked up. I couldn’t see anyone, and the pain of not having my baby boy in my arms tortured my soul. I laid in a fetus position again, hoping I would soon see my baby again. As I laid there, cold and miserable, my father’s voice came to me. He, too, was calling for me, needing me. I closed my eyes, praying it was just my imagination, but then, I heard my mother. Her cries of desperation, searching for her daughter’s return home. I could hear my sister, my nephews, my cousins, and my friends. The voices increased in volume, and my daughter’s would usually be the loudest. She sounded desperate for me. My eyes sprung open, but seeing nothing in the dark besides the faint light from above, I managed to pull myself up into a crawling position. For the first time since my son’s death, I decided to move. I began to hear another voice, but this one didn’t sound like the other ones. It wasn’t an external voice that I was hearing. It was almost coming from my own heart. I heard the sweet, soft sound of my Pebs telling me, “Go, go, go…” His famous words when we would race together. His three little words he would yell when he would run the bases. He was telling me to go, to move, to live. I sobbed, not wanting to move. I wanted to stay in that hole with him, in my grief forever, but he knew that my loved ones up above needed me, and I knew that too. I began to move reluctantly. The darkest pits, filled with pain, suffering, anguish are dark and steep, but once they feel movement, it’s almost as if they adjust to the person’s emotions. The steep slope began to adjust as I began climbing. It was extremely difficult at first. I slipped, fell, but I kept trying and kept climbing, the slope began to not be so steep. There were many times I wanted to just slide down and return to my hole that I once laid in, but the voices were constant, “Mom,” or, “Sis.” Some voices I heard were of my name or my husband calling for me, “Babe,” but the loudest was of my Pebs. “Go, go, go,” and so I did. Every fingernail claw that penetrated the dirt, I felt myself getting stronger. Every step, slip, or every tear, I felt life seeping into my soul again. I allowed myself to look up every once and a while, and I would inch closer to the light, I could see more of the hole and from up above. I began to see things in a completely different perspective. I never had been so close to dirt or mud before or really looked up at things from the very bottom of a pit. Everything looked different. The tree branches and their leaves looked majestic, swaying gracefully in the breeze. I would look at these things before but never really saw them. Grief has a way of revealing things to you that were always there but never really saw them.
I believe I’m still climbing. One day, I will be free from the pit that we call grief, but, as for now, I’m still trying to get out. I’m still moving forward. I get to communicate back to the voices now. I interact with them, and we occasionally laugh, sing, talk, cry, but I’m not completely out of the darkness yet. I’m being renewed through this journey, trudging, crying, and struggling. Every step I take forward, God is renewing my soul, my spirit, my heart. I believe this is why I see things in a different perspective. I’m not the same person I once was a year ago. When I fell into the darkness, I had a choice. I was going to be changed regardless, whether I wanted this change or not. Life had dealt me a new set of cards, and there was nothing I could do about it. My only choice was to stay in the darkness or to live. When the choice was made to move forward, His Holy Spirit took over because of faith. I believed He was with me. He would make all things for my good. As I moved forward, I prayed like I’ve never prayed before. Called onto Him every step of the way because I needed His strength to move me. He lovingly and full of mercy has stayed by my side throughout this entire journey. “You are so strong,” I hear people tell me, but they don’t know I’m still climbing. They don’t know my breakdowns. They don’t know my emotional battles. They don’t know it is His strength and not my own. They don’t know.
My handsome Pebs
My first plane ride.
He loved this day! Surrounded by balls!
Grief will take you into depression, unbearable sadness and agony, and unless there is a stronger power than our own flesh, our human nature will start searching for worldly “medicine” to make the pain go away. Parents that I have met who also lost a child, found temporary relief in anti-depressants, alcohol, drugs, and an abundance of worldly, sinful things to take their minds off the agonizing pain. My life would have been the same if I would’ve stayed in the dark pit of grief. Thank God I was already a believer. Thank God I had people praying for me. Thank God I was able to still see all of His blessings before it was too late. My Heavenly Father is not done with me yet. I know if I keep climbing, one day, I will exit this hole a new person ready to fulfill his purpose for my life. I will stay faithful, believe in His promise, and live once again. I will continue to listen to the voices that early on urged me to move. I will hold them dearly to my heart and know that I am needed and loved. I will, especially, keep listening to me sweet Pebs as he tells his mama, “go, go, go.” I am daddy’s. Mama is moving. Mama is going to leave this dark pit soon. Mama will live happily and joyful again and one day very soon, we will be together again.
“There is no way out, only a way forward.” -Michael Hollings
“The relationships of our life are a system, an interlocking network, and when one element is affected, so are they all. The death of a loved one will unbalance the whole lot….It is a good time to pay attention, to make these relationships as good as possible. If we are buoyed and fed by satisfying relationships now, there is less other-directed energy floating around, trying to attach in unrealistic ways to the one who is gone.” -Martha Whitmore Hickman
“He gives strength to the weary and increases power of the weak.” -Isaiah 40:29
I couldn’t come up with another title for this writing. Nothing else seemed appropriate. Worst Day of My Life? The Day My Son Went To Heaven? Shattered? So many different ones come to mind, and the truth is, they all could be the title, but how could I decide on just one? Therefore, I kept the date. It has all of the titles in one simple, unforgettable date.
Monday, September 25, 2017 was just another regular Monday. I woke up around 6:45 and then, clumsily, walked down the stairs to wake up Amoree for school. Dada was home which meant Pebs was going to be allowed to sleep in. On the days that Rocky was at work, I’d wake up Pebs and take him with us to drop off Amee at school. This day, he just rolled over onto dada’s side of the bed and continued his restful sleep. Amee and I left for school around 7:45. I don’t remember our conversation that morning, but I know we prayed for the Holy Spirit to surround us with His presence and to help us along the day. Her school isn’t far from our house, however, it took me about half an hour to get back home after battling the morning commuters. When I arrived home, my sweet Pebs and Rocky were already awake, playing, wrestling, giggling, and being boys. We had a full day ahead of us, thanks to dada’s busy schedule. I made my boys some breakfast and fed Pebs in his high chair. It’s hard to believe that it was the last time I would feed him there. Those were some lovable moments. He would scoot his high chair towards me, pat it so I could sit him down, and give me his big, huge smile when I would lift him up to sit him down. I loved his beautiful, brown eyes I would do the airplane spoon to feed him some “papa.” We had some great, special moments in the kitchen with his high chair. Thank you for those, my sweet boy. After breakfast, we had some time to clean the house while dada was working outside in the yard. Pebble loved being with me, but when Rocky was home, he was his little shadow. Anytime dada was outside, that’s where Pebs wanted to be. I remember almost forcing him inside a few times to change his dirty diaper or to get him his “agua.” As soon as I’d change him or hydrate him, he’d hurry back outside. I’d open the front door for him and walk him over to where Rocky was so he’d know Pebble was outside with him.
We had to take one of our vehicles to the shop. I followed Rocky in the vehicle while he drove his truck. Pebs, of course, rode with dada. He had Elmo on in the truck. When we arrived at the shop, Pebble was asleep taking his afternoon nap. We dropped off the vehicle that I was driving and climbed in the truck with Pebs while Rocky talked business with the mechanic. I had jumped in the truck in such a hurry, I had forgotten his diaper bag in the vehicle we dropped off. Little did I know, the next time I’d see that bag would be when my Pebs had already passed. It shattered my heart having to hold his bag, with his diapers, snacks, and his balls.
On the way home, my papasito woke up very peacefully and happily. I remember turning around and seeing his sweet face with his big smile. He was just giggling watching his Elmo. We arrived home with about an hour to spare before I had to get Amee from school. I remember being so sore from the day before. If you remember my previous posts, I had played softball the previous day, and my body was feeling every bit of it. I just wanted to lay down for a few minutes before I had to get Amee. My boys had other plans. I laid down on my bedroom’s floor, Rocky was laying on the bed, and Pebs was bouncing on my back and doing forward rolls all over me. Rocky was laughing hysterically because we had never seen Pebs do a forward roll before, and Pebble thought it was pretty cool to see dada laughing which encouraged his somersaults and wrestling talents even more. I just laid there, hurting, sore, and extremely happy. I was in a wonderful, joyful mood that entire day. It was 3:00. It was time for me to get Amoree. Two hours away from losing my son.
I asked Rocky if he wanted me to take Pebble or leave him. He told me to leave him. He was going to be doing some work in the garage. We had two of our close friends helping Rocky with yard work. I quickly left to the school while Pebble and Rocky walked toward the garage. I still picture Pebs shadowing his dada. He loved being in his presence, just as much as he loved being in my arms. I returned home around 4 and was in a hurry to fix Amee’s lunch for the next day, get her started on her homework, and prepare a snack for her before her second day of volleyball practice that would start at 6 p.m. that afternoon. Once I prepared her a snack and made her lunch, I finished some small tasks that I had pending. I needed to measure my neighbor’s piano across the street that was placed in their garage because they had offered to give it to us. However, I needed to make sure I had room in the living room for it therefore, needed the measurements. I walked across the street with my measuring tape and proceeded to measure this piano that would soon be in our living room. As I walked back home, I saw my sweet Pebs, playing in our front yard. Sometimes, he climbed up the steps of our front porch, and other times, he was running from the steps to the front yard. He was being a boy and loving his play time. Every time I approached him or came close to him, I’d grab him and gave him a kiss. I had this sweet voice I always made when I talked to him. It was my special mama voice just for my baby. The last time I saw him alive, he was standing on the bottom of the front porch, and I was walking inside the house. He turned to look at me, and I asked him if he wanted to come inside. He shook his head no. I can still see him shake his head, smiling as I close the door behind me. It was 5:11.
It tormented me for a while. Why didn’t I just bring him inside? Why didn’t I let Rocky know he was going to stay outside? Why? Why? Why?
I walked back outside at 5:17 with Amee. We were headed to volleyball practice. Rocky was by the garage. The first thing that came out of my mouth was where was Pebs. His response, immediately was, “He was just right here.” Crazy how panic mode doesn’t really set in right away. I’m a pretty calm person in dramatic situations, I think. I was a lifeguard for years, a competitive cheer coach for even more years, and have seen my share of trauma, and I’m not one to think the worst in these type of situations. I would’ve never in my whole entire life imagined what was about to enfold. For the next 10 minutes, Rocky, Amee, our two freinds, and myself searched for Pebs. Not frantically at first, but nervously. He never was lost, never out of our site for this long. We always knew where he was, this was much different. We have a huge pond in our backyard. Pebs would spend hours by the pond (not along of course)throwing rocks into it, so naturally, that was one of the first places we checked. When he wasn’t there, we searched the outside and the inside of our house high and low. Twenty minutes passed by and I had to make the phone call I never thought I’d ever make. I dialed 911. I didn’t even know what to say. I don’t even remember what I said. I know I was outside walking to the front of the house from the backyard. I thought maybe he had gone back to my neighbor’s house after he saw me measuring the piano. We hadn’t checked there so it was worth a shot. The dispatcher was very rude and accusatory, I felt. She asked me questions that I didn’t see the logic in at the time. All I wanted was for her to hurry up and get the police to my house. It didn’t take long for them to arrive. It had been 40 min since the last time I saw my son. It was like a nightmare. I felt I would wake up any minute. I made the next worst phone call. I had to call my dad. Peb’s guelo. His whole world. Dad must’ve heard the panic in my voice. I told him we couldn’t find Pebble. He couldn’t believe it and said he was on his way. He demanded I keep looking and not to lose faith. He tried to sound strong for me, but I knew better. I knew I had just broken my dad’s heart. My mom called me next. She’s even a stronger woman. She told me he’s fine. We will find him, laughing, giggling, and everything will be okay. She told me she was on her way. I’m sure I must’ve dove into the pond about 20 times by this point. The police had a skimmer that was skimming the bottom of the pond. Every time I jumped in, I prayed I wouldn’t find him. I didn’t want him to be in that pond. I don’t know what time it was by this point, but our house was filled with caring neighbors and people that were helping us look for our son. Rock and I had probably broken down several times by this time. I remember one time looking into Rock’s eyes and seeing emptiness, sadness, despair. I had never seen his eyes look like they did that day. Our whole world was gone.
During our search, we used the security cameras to help figure out what could’ve happened to Pebble. At 5:12, Pebble walked to the right side of the house, out of view of the cameras. In the security cameras, we could also see our dogs running back and forth by the pond. It’s amazing how your brain doesn’t function correctly when you are placed in a dramatic situation. I couldn’t think. I remember trying to think rationally, and I couldn’t. I could see my son go the right of the house, and every time I passed the trampoline that was to the right of the house, I never thought to check under the trampoline. Never did I once think to look under it, where the septic tank was located. Never once.
We had the septic tank company come clean out our septic tank two weeks before Harvey hit Houston. When they came to clean it, they broke off the screws that had the lid screwed down. They were rusted and didn’t have another large size that was needed to hold the lid down. They were supposed to come back and fix it, but then we went through the flood and somehow, the lid came off some more. My husband, in the meantime, moved the trampoline over the septic tank so no one would walk over it. Didn’t think anyone would be able to walk under the trampoline.
After I saw into my husband’s eyes, I began walking to the pond again. Pleading, begging, crying to God. Before I reached it, I heard this horrific scream, “Help! Help! We found him. Help!” The voice was my husband’s, and it was coming from the trampoline. Really? I passed by their a million times. I didn’t see him. Did I check under the trampoline? As I approached him, I saw our friend on his stomach, arms reaching down into this hole. Did I remember that the septic tank was even there? Why is he reaching into this hole? Then, my baby boy emerged from this dark forsaken hole. His lifeless body was handed to me. I grabbed my baby boy and still remember seeing Rocky climb out of the septic tank. He had heroically jumped in when we finally had found him to rescue his Sunny Boy. Rocky was still yelling “help” as he was climbing out. I placed my Pebs on the ground, demanded those around me to pray, and I started CPR. He was so cold. I don’t think I was performing CPR very long when the police took over. They made everyone get back and gently grabbed him from my arms. I heard my dad dying in pain. He argued with the police because he didn’t want to move. Rocky yelled back at my dad to let them do their job. I heard Rocky plead to me to wake up our son. I could feel the prayers from neighbors and friends. But, in a way, my life stopped. I could hear voices, see people around me, and feel my wet clothes, but my entire world was on pause. I remember being knelt next to my son’s lifeless body, rubbing his little hands and legs, feverishly, trying to get some warmth back into his body. I talked to him. I wanted him to know I was there, that he was tough, and I needed him. I kissed him numerous times, making sure I wasn’t in the way of the police officers who were still working on him. I thought if I could just kiss him enough times, my love would revive him, my breath would bring him warmth necessary to live again. I’m not sure when the EMS arrived, but I remember one asking how long he had been in the septic tank. I had my eyes closed, holding my Pebs little hand. The police officer said 2 hours. The EMS repeated, “How long?” And I slowly looked up at him and told him not to give up on my son. It had been two hours, but not to give up on him. They placed him on the ambulance bed. I don’t even remember when they took him from me. Most days, I’m still lying on that ground, next to the septic tank holding my baby boy’s hand. As they rolled him to the ambulance, my sister had just arrived. Her first image was of her baby nephew being rolled on an ambulance bed, lifeless. I heard her scream, cry, and then, she found me. When she saw me, I collapsed in her arms. Rocky was trying to get in the ambulance with them, but they wouldn’t let him. They were taking him to the hospital and my sis offered to drive us. They grabbed me some dry clothes and we jumped in her car in pursuit of the ambulance with my whole world.
When we arrived at the emergency room, Rocky went straight in. I stayed in the waiting room with my sister. I fell to my knees, cried, and asked God for mercy. I could go. Just don’t take our joy. Don’t take my husband’s shadow, his son. Don’t take my dad’s whole heart. Don’t take our family’s baby, my daughter’s only brother. Don’t take for what we prayed for. The cop soon came to get me, and the look on his face said it all. As I zombie-like walked into the room, I saw a scene from a horror movie. I saw tubes in and out of my son’s body, numerous people working on his tiny, fragile shell. Rocky was knelt down beside him. My son was laying on his right side. He looked like he was just sleeping, just like he had looked earlier that day. I reached over to touch him and he was even colder than before. Rocky, again, pleaded for me to wake up our son. I knelt down beside him and kissed his little legs, rubbed his tiny hands. Told him mama was there with him. I was again in a land of no time. Nothing seemed real. Then, I heard the doctor say, “I’m sorry ma’am. We’ve tried nine times. He’s not responding. Do you want us to try again?” I said, “Yes, please. The tenth time will work.” They put some medicine in his IV and started with compressions again. I know we tried to make a deal with God multiple times at that moment. I continued to rub him, kiss him, talk to him, but then I heard those terrible words. “I’m sorry. We did all we could do.” They unplugged him. He never moved. He just laid there like a sweet baby boy dreaming. It didn’t take long for Rocky and I to lose it alone in that room with our son’s lifeless body. I laid next to him. I wanted to warm him up, to keep him next to me. Soon, we had my sister and other family and friends in the room saying their farewells. I don’t know how long we stayed there, but I know they let us stay a long time afterwards. My mom had stayed at my house to watch Amee, but when she heard Pebble went to be with Jesus, she wanted to see him. They gave us all time to spend with him before they covered him back up and wheeled him away again. It seemed like it was a short time that I was given to spend with him, but I know it was probably hours. When we finally had to leave, we walked out towards the waiting room. What we were greeted with was a blessing, a light in a horrible, dark moment. The waiting room and outside of the hospital was filled, packed with our family and friends. Friends that lived over an hour away to be there for us. We had family members that had kids of their own who had school the next day that were there for us. We had a room full of love, hope, and support. My son was just taken form this world. My life is completely shattered, but we had love. I didn’t see that at the time, but I know I felt it. I didn’t see the hope, but I knew the support was always going to be there. I entered my sister’s vehicle as a grieving mother. That morning, I had prayed for the Holy Spirit’s protection, and that night, I was going home to an empty crib.
I still don’t sleep through the night. I wake up around the same times Pebs would wake me up to get him out of his crib to come into my bed. I breakdown frequently. I feared having to relive this day and my pain didn’t disappoint my fears. I dreaded writing about this day, and I pray, I’ll be able to do a better job of it next time. It all is so fresh and vivid with emotions still. Maybe that won’t ever go away, but hopefully, my writing will improve. It still haunts me, tortures me. Mondays will always be a painful day for me. I usually relive every hour on Mondays, counting down the last moments I saw him alive on that porch before I closed the door. However, I now can reminisce and not be in that agonizing pain like before. I know my son was welcomed when his last heartbeat palpitated on this earth. I know Jesus was there, with open arms, welcoming my baby boy to Heaven. I know he didn’t suffer. I know he didn’t have any pain. I know he is safe. I know he is happy. We are sorrowful here on earth because we love him deeply and miss him terribly, but how much joy will we all have the day we get to reunite with him in Heaven! He has visited me in my dreams on several occasions, and I feel him in my heart and soul. I know God turns all for our good. He allowed my son to be taken from me for reasons explainable to me. I don’t know why, but I believe that God has something special, something good, something miraculous coming from this tragedy. I pray, my tragedy, my grief, my story will bring hope to those that are going through their own tragedies.
“More than that, we rejoice in our sufferings knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.” -Romans 5:3-5
“And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.” -Romans 8:28
“For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord. Plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.” -Jeremiah 29:11
August 25, 2017 was the date that Hurricane Harvey made landfall. That was a Friday. However, we didn’t experience any hurricane winds, rain, or storms until Saturday evening. There was a boxing match Saturday night Mayweather vs. McGregor. Rocky wanted to purchase the fight but was afraid Directv would lose signal in the middle of the fight due to the heavy winds and rain that had been building up earlier in the day. Therefore, when my cousin announced that he was going to order the fight, there was no hesitation in my husband’s decision to travel almost 30 miles with the family despite the increasing winds and head over to my cousin’s house. I remember being a little annoyed that we were driving into a hail-like storm, unable to see because of the heavy falling rains, just to see a boxing match. As I sit here today, I don’t regret going at all. We made some wonderful memories at my cousin’s house with Pebs. My parents, my sister’s family, my aunt and uncle, and other cousins were there with all the nephews and nieces. We had such an incredible night filled with laughter and love. Pebble loved to sing, (think in my previous blogs I mentioned our love for signing) and we would do it quite often and rather loud when we sang. This day was no exception. During the fight, he began singing at the top of his lungs a song not understandable coming from his 20 month old voice, but he sang it so loud and strong you would think he was singing it for a congregation of millions. He had everyone at the house laughing and falling in love with him. My dad, who was my son’s number 1 fan, taught him how to hit a punching bag that my cousin had hanging on his back deck. It was so amazing seeing him and my dad punch this bag, making the sound effects “boom!!” as they hit the bag. Then, they pretended to fight each other and took turns with anyone who was around to take a round with him in boxing. My cousin had a couple of TV’s on during the fight, but we were all outside underneath his deck covering watching the boxing match. The storm was increasing in strength, it seemed, by the minute. Every round, the thundering rain would get louder and the wind would get stronger. I was getting nervous because knew we had to drive in that rain back home and there was no indication that it was “letting up.” Through the 3 min rounds, Pebs sang, hit the punching bag, fought anyone who wanted to play fight, and occasionally, came to get some food and a kiss from mommy. It was a wonderful night. We have spoken of that night since the tragedy on several occasions. We recall the moments that I mentioned, how funny Pebble was as he sang loudly even when told to quiet down because the men were trying to hear the TV, he just would sing louder. The feeling of joy, happiness, love during a hurricane that was blowing fierce winds and heavy rain seemed almost metaphorical. In a time where fear, doubt, and anxiety relates to the storms in life, one positive, little soul full of life, joy, love can change the mood, the attitude of the entire atmosphere. That was my baby boy.
We arrived safe and sound at home. I believe I drove and was terribly nervous the entire drive. All my loves were fast asleep as we exited the vehicle into the house at night. It was way passed midnight by the time we fell into our safe and comfy beds. Pebs was placed into his crib but his usual 3 a.m waking up call wasn’t far from occurring, and mama, routinely and lovingly, would pick him up out of his crib and lay him on her bed, in her arms to continue their sleep. It was not much after 6 a.m. when I received a phone call from our friends who lived in Dickinson asking us how we were doing from the hurricane. I was surprised and caught off guard that they had called so early in the morning. We were still experiencing the rain, but didn’t think it was that big of a deal. He stated that they had over a foot of water in their house and that he had his wife and their three kids upstairs for now. I was in shock. Flooded? I leaped out of bed and ran downstairs to check our house and the girls. We were in the clear, so far. I rushed outside, where it was still coming down, and realized our front yard looked like a lake. Our house is on beams and not on a slab, but our little house sits on almost 3 acres of land. From my front porch, I couldn’t tell where my yard started or ended. All I could see was water, and it was still raining.
Front yard before the Saturday rain. Almost all under water.
The roads all under water.
Roads headed towards Dickinson.
I called my friend back and asked how they were doing. He stated that he was taking his family some food upstairs, but the water just kept rising. He mentioned that there were some rescue boats that were supposed to go rescue people in these areas. I immediately tried turning the TV on, but didn’t have a good signal with our satellite connection. I started googling information regarding the rescue teams. In just a matter of hours, our city was on a rescue mission. We had neighborhoods under water, and people were scrambling to get out of their homes into a safe place. I, we, had to do something. I woke Rocky up and told him we needed to get the little jon boat on the trailer and head over to the Dickinson area. He was somewhat baffled, but didn’t take him long to get on board. Anyone that knows us, knows we are all about adventure and action. Since we had the boat on the deepest part of our land, getting the boat on the trailer was not an easy task as all of that area was way under water. Juggling the rain and helping Rocky load the boat, our rendezvous to help rescue our friends took us a few hours to prepare and get organized. Through our preparation, I kept in touch with our friends and could hear the desperation in his voice. He said he would walk, in waist high water, to the corner store trying to figure out what others in his area were doing. By this time, no one had power and all were waiting to be rescued. He mentioned there were so many people with boats that were trying to help rescue because there weren’t enough government boats to save everyone. I assured him we were on our way. However, so many roads were flooded and closed, finding the best route to them was going to be an additional challenge. It took us over an hour, all four of my family members, to arrive in their area. It was like a boat trailer festival except for the fun part of it. There were so many boat trailers empty of boats but still attached to their trucks, big and small, parked all on the side of the road where we needed to cross. Rocky carefully drove farther, passing up all the numerous parked empty boat trailers. There were so many boats on the street. We drove up to a stoplight, but were greeted with boats instead of vehicles. It was unreal, almost seemed like we were in a movie. It didn’t seem real. We were driving on a road that couldn’t be seen, hidden underneath a body of water, where boats were our driving companions instead of other vehicles. Our truck is a big, jacked up truck, by the way. Rocky drove into the street that entered into our friend’s neighborhood and as we exited the truck, the water was inches from entering the interior. He docked the boat and with the little battery operating motor, took off to our friend’s house who lived at the very back of the neighborhood. I stayed behind with the kids because the boat wasn’t large enough for all of us to ride in while trying to rescue a family of 5. We weren’t going to fit. As we waited, and waited, and waited, we would see boats coming out of the neighborhood with people, pets, and some belongings. Some people were escaping the floods by using their pool floats and even some blow up air mattresses! After about an hour, I finally saw my husband and 5 other people coming back on the boat with a dog. The jon boat didn’t go very fast. It was starting to rain again, so the men did their best to quickly unload the family and dog. Pebble was getting fussy and Rock wanted to go back to help others and decided Pebs would be a great assistant. The two men, plus my Pebs, headed back towards the neighborhood in search of others who needed assistance. My friend and I stayed behind with her two girls, her son, and Amee as the men did their heroic duty. In the several hours that we were there, they must’ve rescued 3 or 4 other families. They’d have women and children, all smiling nervously, as they were getting pulled out of their flooded homes. As the kids’ appetite increased and their cheerful attitude was replaced by raging fits, we finally had to abort our rescue mission. We offered to take a family down to a gas station where they would get a ride, and our friends would come stay with us. Again, the traveling back home was a challenge because the roads were already flooded, and it had stopped raining. We were all jammed packed in our two row seating truck, so 2 adults and the dog had to ride on the bed of the truck. Normally, this would be illegal in our area, but when you are in a flood, there are a few exceptions to the rules, and this was one of them. Of course, when you have to drive no more than 30 mph, sitting on the back of the truck seems pretty safe, considering the circumstance.
Hurricane Harvey devastated our entire city, but it brought memories that were made with my Pebs. It was a such a horrible time, filled with loss and suffering for so many, and we were blessed to have our home and help others during these difficult times. Through the next few days, we continued to help others. Not only did we help rescue them, but those that lost their homes and had to be demolished, we were there, Pebs included, helping them rebuild their lives. He was present through it all. When we couldn’t drive in and out of our neighborhood because the roads were all flooded, we drove our rzr (sport side by side vehicle) up and down streets to bring food and drinks to those that weren’t able to leave their homes. We did this together, as a family, with our new house guests, as well. He was 20 months but never did he act like a baby. He was such a big boy, never did he complain or whine. Everywhere around us, people were learning how to rebuild, how to file claims, how to demolish homes, where to dump their destroyed belongings, and churches coming together to help their communities and their own buildings. So many church buildings were damaged from this hurricane, but were still motivated to come together to help all others in need. I had never seen such collaboration in a city. I imagine that’s how New York united after 911 or Boston after the marathon bomb attack. I’m sure many cities, after a devastated catastrophe, united to help all those in need. In my 36 years of living, I had never experienced such unison, such love, such support from human kind. It was so beautiful. I felt immensely proud to be a Houstonian, seeing so many people from my city and surrounding areas, come together for the common good of others. And through it all, Pebs was with us. He was alive. He was here. He was breathing. He was laughing. He was smiling. He was living. And I guess that’s why it’s so difficult to approach the year anniversary of Harvey without feeling the pain, the sharp pain of grief engulf my soul. We were blessed during Harvey. We didn’t get flooded, didn’t lose our home, and we were able to help others. We reached out, giving what little we had, for others to survive. We were teaching our kids the importance of giving, sharing (our home, our belongings, our time), and to appreciate all that we do have.
I look back during those times and picture Amee and Pebs playing in the rain. It was their first hurricane experience and captured every moment of it. I recall Pebs walking in our flooded yard with his rain boots and getting stuck. He was so upset and kept calling for me to go rescue him. I was video taping him, telling him to just keep walking. He was going to be okay and that it was just water. He didn’t move until sister went to help him. But the moment was captured. I remember him sitting on my lap while we rode in the rzr. His little arms and legs were cold from the water splashing up on us so I covered him with a towel that we had. He soon fell asleep in my arms. Though this moment was not captured on video, it was engraved forever in my heart. He then suffered from a little cold and runny nose afterwards. I remember feeling bad and thought that I shouldn’t of taken him on that ride in the rzr. And now, almost a year later, I thank God I went on that rzr ride with my Pebs. Him on my lap, us sticking our hands out to touch the water, as we drove right through it.
Amee first hurricane.
Pebble was so excited for the rain. His first and last hurricane experience.
My sweet baby boy
We were all on the porch but the wind was blowing so wildly, we occasionally would get splattered with rain.
We don’t ever understand why things happen, but I have learned to trust in my God. He knows why. Even if He told me, I probably wouldn’t understand it anyways. I try to live today with that motto. God is trying to teach me, strengthen me, or wanting me to embrace this moment, and so, I must obey. Living in grief hasn’t been easy to be obey. However, when my moments of sadness comes seeping in, I call out to Him. Let this pain endure for just a little while, and then help me embrace this day. Whatever today brings, help be embrace it. When my heart aches in agony, I pray to Him. I know today is necessary. I don’t know why, but it is necessary if He has me here. Pebs is smiling. I know he remembers all of his adventures that we had, and one day, soon from now, we will reminisce on all of our times we shared together.
“And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes and there shall be more death nor sorrow nor crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.”
Our friend and Pebs on the rzr while we continued helping others.
Good morning my sweet baby boy. This was the morning of August 26, 2017. We were headed for an adventure filled with memories.
“As I sit and stare at the shimmering moon, I also sit here and hope to see you soon. Then I realize I won’t be able to see you tomorrow….So I sit here and cry in sorrow. Now I only uphold a dream which I hope to come true and that one dream is to be reunited in heaven with you.”
It was a typical Thursday morning. Pebs and I had dropped off Amee at school and were headed to the park for our morning jog and play time. We had the radio blasting to our favorite worship songs and were singing and praising Him. It brought such great happiness when I would sing to our Lord and Pebs would “sing” right along with me. All through my pregnancy, I was part of our church’s choir team. I always knew he was going to be my singing companion from the moment he was a baby because when I would sing him lullabies, he would move his little lips and just be mesmorized at the sound of the music. Anyone that knows me knows I do not have a good singing voice, but I love to sing and am not ashamed to sing out loud. Singing, to me, regardless of how I sound, brings such pleasure to my soul. Whether I would be cooking, cleaning, bathing, feeding babies, or driving, we would often listen to our worship music and sing for Him. It took me a while to listen to worship music in the car after the tragedy, and even longer to start singing again. My fondest memories of my Pebs was of him singing. So, this particular day, our usual routine of praising and worshiping the Lord was on full throttle. When we finished a song, he’d clap his hands and yell, “Yay! Mas?” and the next one would come on and we’d start singing, clapping, raising our hands, and praising all while we were on our way to the park.
All smiles when we listened to Christian music.
This was taken on that last Thursday we went to the park. We were getting ready to leave the park, and he wanted to help me drive.
I haven’t smiled that big in a while. I feel His spirit surrounded us on this day.
I had joined an exercise group that previous Tuesday and was given the rest of the week to try it out. I knew that I would love it but wasn’t sure if I would want to make the financial commitment. I unloaded the baby’s stroller, his sippy cup, his snacks, toys, and my water and towel. We were on our way to get fit. Pebs allowed mommy to get her workout on, very patiently I might add, but was ready after almost an hour to go to the playground. Sweaty, exhausted, and thrilled I had completed the class, Pebs and I walked over to the playing area. I had taken Pebs to this particular playground since he could barely walk. We made many memories there, and needless to say, I haven’t returned there since September 21, 2017. I miss it. It was such a happy, cheerful place that I shared with him. I pray I can go back one day and make more memories.
Making memories with my Pebs.
Pebble loved the playground
New adventures, new discoveries made forever
On this particular day, it was full of little kids, all excited about the green slides, blue bridges, yellow steering wheels, brown steps, and colorful see-saws with adoring animal figures. Pebble loved it. His smile and laughter completed me. I would be exhausted from my run or workout, but his smile would give me the energy I lacked to play with him. I would go down the slide with him, run after him while he crossed the bridge, tickle him as he climbed the steps, hold him as he went across the monkey bars, and sit across his beautiful face as we went up and down the see-saw. We had just ran across the bridge and were playing by the steering wheel. I was recited the colors he was touching because I never let a good learning opportunity pass me by, and I remember that this cloud of sadness just washed over me all of a sudden. I was staring at him, still playing with the steering wheel, making the vroom, vroom noise, and I recall thinking, “Oh daddy’s, I’m not going to have these moments with you much longer. You are going to leave mama, and all I want is to hold you close forever.” In my mind, I was thinking that he would leave me by growing up and starting school. I began to feel melancholy and tears welled up in my eyes, but just as quick as the sadness loomed in, I forcefully shoved the gloomy feelings out. I made myself snap out of it and continued to enjoy that moment with him.
I know that moment was real. I don’t know if it was a premonition of what was to come, if it was a way of preparing my heart, or just motherly instinct, but looking back at that moment, I know it wasn’t a coincidence. The following night is when I had my dream of him dying in my arms. The following nights, I had all those dreams of death until the day he went to Heaven. I know, I truly believe in my heart, that these thoughts and dreams were not a coincidence or just something that happened. I know I was given these thoughts by Him. He allowed me to feel this for a reason that I may not be able to understand. Maybe I was just meant to share my experience, my story to the world in hopes that someone else has gone through the same and needed to hear this from me. I can’t explain why I had these premonitions, but I don’t think I’m supposed to try to explain them. I believe I’m meant to share them, just like I believe I’m meant to share my Pebs. My premonitions, to me, were special, just like my Pebs. How do I explain such a special little boy? I can’t. All I can try to do, as best as I can, is to share him with the world. I can share all of his stories, our adventures, and our memories with others. I believe that’s what I’m meant to do. The premonitions were a special part of our story. They are a small part of what made him special. He is, was, always will be my special baby boy. Who taught me to seek the moon during all hours of the day, sing at the top of our lungs whenever we wanted, and to never stop. He loved to say, “Go, go, go,” and that’s what mama is doing.
Cheeze! All smiles
Never a dull moment
“…you will not be cured, but….one day-an idea that will horrify you now-this intolerable misfortune will become a blessed memory of a being who will never again leave you. But you are in a stage of unhappiness where it is impossible for you to have faith in these reassurances.”
Taken on the last Tuesday we attended this park.
His excitement melted my heart.
“I don’t have to know all the answers because I know Him. So my heart’s cry isn’t, “give me facts,” but “give me faith,” because even if I did have the information there isn’t much I could do with it. Even the tiniest measure of faith, on the other hand, can move mountains.”
I had a women’s softball tournament that Sunday morning. I woke up early because our first game started at 8. It was my first all-women tournament in a long time. I was very excited, but disappointed I would miss church. I kissed my Pebs and Rocky good-bye, as they were laying in bed, Pebs in my spot. I dashed out the door in anticipation for the competitive day. I didn’t hear from Rocky until close to 1 that afternoon. He was on his way to come see me play with the kids. Ever since Amee was little, we would support Rocky at all of his softball tournaments. Pebble had the privilege to basically be born at the ballpark. Between Amoree’s softball games, our coed league, and Rocky’s men tournaments, we pretty much lived at the fields. However, I never had the family come see me play. I mean, not just me. I looked forward to them being there and rooting for me and our women’s team. I just wasn’t sure if Rocky was going to make it until I received that text from him saying they were on their way. I was elated! My babies were coming to see me play! Much to my surprise, they showed up in church clothes. I have been with Rocky for eleven years. Out of the eleven years, he has never attended church without me. I am the one who gets everyone up Sunday mornings, and many days, Rocky would stay behind and not go to church with us. The kids and I would go, wishing daddy was with us. There were still many Sundays that we attended church together as a family, all four of us, and those memories will never be forgotten. I might write about those days sometime in the near future. But on this Sunday, Rocky had taken the initiative, dressed the kids, and had gone to church together without mama! What drove my husband to attend church that day, to me, was God. You’ll understand by the end of this writing. My husband decided to take Old Blue, which was our uncle’s old blue truck that was stick shift. Pebble rode in the middle with the stick in front of him. Rocky, later, described that ride with such happiness, joy, and love. Pebble was so excited to sit next to “dada” and help him shift. He was full of smiles. Rocky said on their way to church, they had a flat, so he stopped to get it fixed. Of course, Pebble had to get down and help daddy. In the process of “helping,” his church clothes were covered in tire grime and dirt. Rocky said he looked so dirty, but was just so happy that day that he couldn’t even be upset at Pebs for getting filthy. When they arrived at Grace in the Woodlands, Amee went to her kids class, but Pebble wanted to stay with dada. Pebs always behaved like such a big boy around his daddy. He wasn’t like other toddlers. He knew he didn’t want to disappoint daddy or make him upset. He also knew he had mama wrapped around his little fingers and was able to get away with more. Rock said that Pastor’s Steve message that Sunday was about the storms in life, going through loss, and dealing with the aftermaths of tragedy. Harvey had hit Houston less than a month prior to that sermon, and he was preaching on hope, strength, and courage. Ironic that my son’s last church sermon was about loss. Rocky then said Pebs fell asleep on his shoulder, just like he always did on his daddy. At this point, I still had no idea that they had even attended church. We probably had already played our second game and were waiting to play our third. When my whole heart arrived at the ballpark, all three beautiful souls, I was ecstatic! I still get butterflies in my stomach when I see Rocky all dressed up. I saw my big girl in nice clothes with her hair all fixed up in a high ponytail. And then there was my Pebs, in his pastel orange and beige suit, now mixed with tire and dirt grime. I can still see him running up to me with his arms opened wide. I ran over and scooped his little body up, kissing him continuously as I held him. I hugged my Amee and kissed Rocky. I don’t think there was a happier woman on this earth at that moment. My teammates and I laughed at Pebs shirt as Rocky told us the story. I decided to take his shirt off and let him run around the ballpark shirtless. I loved his little belly. Him and Amee played up and down the bleachers, with the dogs that were there, and of course, with throwing some softballs. As we sat on the bleachers after our last game, I had asked Rocky what made him go to church. I was so surprised and elated that he took the kids to church without me. He couldn’t explain it. He just said he decided to go at the last minute.
Pebble on his oldest cousin’s shoulders.
Rocky and I become loyal tithers since 2012. We heard a very impactful message from Pastor Steve during that same year that changed our thinking regarding tithes and giving. I would tithe prior to this day but never consistently or correctly. Since 2012, we have given our tithes loyally and with giving hearts. I can write several blogs on the blessings we have been given since we became devoted tithers, but that will be on a separate day. Since we had a very slow summer and had taken a family vacation that year with our parents and all the kids, we weren’t struggling financially, but were not in the same financial boat we were used to. I also had decided not to return to teaching after thirteen years, so money was a little tight. That’s why when Rocky told me how much he had decided to give for tithes on this particular Sunday, I was surprised to say the least. It was the most amount of money we had ever given, ever. I asked him what compelled him to write a check for that amount of money for tithes. He said he didn’t know. He couldn’t explain it. Him getting up, taking the kids to church without me, giving so much in tithes, and coming to see me play, all seemed so unlike him, like it was someone else that day. Someone, or something else urging him to do these things on this particular Sunday. The last Sunday my Pebs was on this earth.
Our softball Sunday wasn’t over yet. We had our coed league games in Friendswood that evening, and Rock hadn’t brought any clothes to change into. So, he had to make a trip to Academy where he bought himself, Pebble, and Amee some workout clothes. He also bought Pebs some new tennis shoes that would be the ones he would wear in his little, white casket. When we arrived at the fields, Pebble was asleep, and so I left him sleeping in the car with Amee. He woke up towards the end of our first game. Amee and him came running towards us, playfully, excitedly, ready to exert some energy. They loved being at the ballpark. There were always kids to play with, and since Pebs was the youngest, all the little girls Amee’s age, would take turns playing with him and taking care of him. The ballpark will always be a place where my fondest memories of my Pebs were made. He loved playing. He loved the ballpark. I can’t remember if we won or lost our first game, but our second game we won because the opposing team didn’t show up. Instead of us going home, we decided to BP or hit batting practice. As one person of our team hits several balls, the rest of us are on the field practicing defense. Guess who was on the field with us on this day? My Pebs was running, throwing, and helping us catch the balls. He was standing very close to dada because he would protect him from getting hit when the balls went towards him. If I would’ve known it was our last time to have him on the field, I would’ve taken some pictures. I thought I was going to have many more to share with him. Amee was with us, too, with the rest of the girls her age. We all enjoyed playing together. I often dream about that day. I close my eyes and picture Amee chasing Pebble around the bases, him tripping, his mouth full of dirt, but just kept running until he reached home plate. I see Rocky’s big smile, calling Pebble his “Sunny Boy” and hearing Peb’s laugh as Rocky would occasionally pick him up so he wouldn’t get hit with the ball. If there was anything close to heaven as far as happiness goes, that Sunday had to be it. The amount of happiness, completeness, love, was all felt that day. I know Satan was angry on that day. He sure hated to see a family full of love, full of joy, full of God’s spirit rejoice and live so happily. He thought he was going to come and destroy us the next day when he was allowed to take my baby boy’s life. He thought we would be divided, that our family would break apart and curse the God that gave us that wonderful, happy Sunday before he came and brought such devastation, but he was wrong. He didn’t divide us. He didn’t break us apart. He didn’t succeed. My Pebs went to Heaven. He’s still playing ball, running, tripping, and laughing. We are still together, strong and united, faithful to our Heavenly Father. We were shattered, torn, broken, but God has never left us. He is with us, strengthening us and comforting us.
One Sunday before church
My sweet boy and I at the playground.
Grandpa, Amee, and Pebs playing
Amee and Pebble on one of our many outings.
I believe God gave Rocky the motivation to go to church that day with the kids. He knew the importance of him spending that day with them at church was going to mean so much to us. He gave Rocky the will to write a check for tithes that was so grand for us so that we could know that there is faith in the unseen. We had no idea what was about to happen. We had no idea why we wrote a check for that amount of money, but we were faithful and obedient. God knew why. We just had to have faith. I believe God knew the importance of us playing ball together as a family, and allowed us to be together and play ball, what he loved to do. He gave us that last day with him one that we will never forget, not just us, but all those that shared those moments with us. It wasn’t a coincidence that all of these things occurred on this day. It was His hand. God’s Hand was in all of our actions, thoughts, and words that day. He was blessing us far beyond our understanding, even on this day. He knew what tragedy awaited us before we even had any idea, and he was giving us this last blessing with our son. He was allowing this beautiful moment to occur even without us even thinking of any tragedy. There isn’t a minute that goes by that I don’t thank Him. Some people may see it as just another day, a day that was just going to happen, but there is absolutely no way “it just happened.” There hasn’t been another day prior or since that Rocky gets up on his own to go to church without me. There hasn’t been another day prior or since that we write a check for that amount for tithes. There hasn’t been another day prior or since that we have BP as a team with the kids running and playing. I know God had a plan and continues to have a plan for us. I trust in Him alone. We may not understand it all, but Trust in Him who controls it all. He has your life in the palm of His Hands. He will do good in your life, in my life. I miss my Pebs deeply. I would give my beating heart to go back to this day, the Sunday before the tragedy, when we were all together, happy, and playing ball.
“I have come to believe in the ‘Sacrament of the Moment” which presupposes trust in the ultimate goodness of my creator.”
At Grace church with my loves
Jumpy, jumpy, jumpy on the trampoline on the day of the eclipse
The day after the hurricane when the rain wasn’t as strong. We were on the porch enjoying the wind and the light sprinkles of the rain.
“Now may the God of Hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing so that you will abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.”
From September 26, 2017, I have lived in the state of dysphoria, depression, and darkness. It is an amazing thing that God developed in which our brain can place our mind in a sort of shock in order to cope with the reality of terrifying, horrible, and awful things that occur to us and continue living. The day after the accident, I felt as if my mind ascended to the clouds, but my body remained on earth. I remember Child Protective Services coming and interviewing several members of our family that day. I remember crying, uncontrollably and trembling as I recanted our events of the previous day. The day that he was still with us. I remember retelling it, being physically present, but my mind was somewhere else. I couldn’t tell you where, but it was as if it wasn’t me talking to the investigators. We reviewed our security cameras, the time frame matching our stories, the family members confirming our events, and reliving each and every dreadful moment from my son’s last moments alive. I couldn’t tell you if I ate, which I’m sure that I did. My house was never empty. I had a great support system with family and friends. They set up a dinner schedule to bring us food for every night of the week for over a month. I don’t know what we would’ve done without them. I know that we were never alone. My home was full of family members and friends who chose to spend those awful first weeks with us. They were there every day. I can’t remember what my daughter, Amoree, was doing. I can’t even recall her in my memories during those first few days. I know she was taken care of between my family and Rocky’s family and friends. I just have no idea what she did or how she felt. I’m sure I spent time with her, held her, kissed her, but I just cant think of any of it. I can’t even remember sleeping. However, for the first few days after Pebs went to Heaven, I remember taking Z-quil to help me sleep, and then, a prescribed medicine from my doctor called Lorazepam. After those nights of assisted sleeping, I’d wake up in a dream-like state, believing that Pebs was still in his crib. I’d look towards his crib, expecting to see him standing and smiling, then jumping excitedly until I’d go pick him up. It took a few moments for reality to hit me, and when it did, it was the most devastating pain I have ever felt. It was like a freight train would come out of no where and hit me head on. The tears, the sobbing, the despair, the agony, the reality would all come crashing down. Rocky would just cry with me some days or just hold me. The pain I felt in that moment is so indescribable, it can’t be put into words. I, honestly, didn’t know how I could continue living when everyday of my life, I would have to wake up with the reality that he was gone.
The days and weeks proceeded with me living in the clouds, metaphorically speaking, but it was my God’s way of protecting me, of keeping me going and facing the painful reality. I don’t remember a lot of things that I did or didn’t do the first few months after the tragedy, but I do know that I found myself a couple of nights over the last place he was in the yard. The place where the accident occurred was the first place I heard myself scream in torment. I didn’t even recognize my own voice. I had never in my entire life ever screamed like that, but it did’t even bother me at the moment. My pain was so great that I relented to care who heard me or who was even there. Family and friends later told me they had to drag me away from the site and back into the house. I don’t remember that, either. I was later told that they had never heard such a horrible, dreadful scream before, but I didn’t even realize that others were even around. I thought I had walked away, unaware that I was being followed by my loyal and loving friends. I remember parts of my initial grief journey, but I think those parts that I’m allowed to remember are for my safety and protection. God knows what He is doing. I’m slowly able to remember and recall more than what I was able to in the beginning. I guess God trust me a little more now. There are moments that I still find myself laying on the floor, in a puddle of tears. I gradually pick myself up, wipe the tears off, and continue with my day. They are less frequent, my episodes, and don’t last as long, but they are still there. They are a part of me now. I sleep, eat, drink, live, and fall apart, daily. I can live with this new itinerary in my schedule from here on out because there was a part of me that was taken to Heaven on that day. I hope that I may smile in the future while I’m breaking down, anticipating that it won’t hurt near as badly as it did those first few months, but the tears will always be there. The pain will always be there. The memories will always be there, and so will the Holy Spirit. He will be there, willingly and lovingly, ready to assist me and carry me through. We aren’t on this journey alone. Family and friends are willing to help us get through the unimaginable. And our Heavenly Father is walking alongside us, pushing us, carrying us, and loving us along the way. Grief is a journey that doesn’t have any shortcuts. In order to fully go through the pain, we have to go the long way, through the valleys and tribulations, but thank God we are not alone. He is always with us.
“Those who grieve find comfort in weeping and in arousing their sorrow until the body is too tired to bear the inner emotions.”
He was sitting up all by himself
At the ballpark, supporting mommy and daddy with auntie Yesenia.
At the ballpark, supporting daddy and learning to drink from a straw.
How I wish I had these moments with him again
His cousin holding Pebs tightly, wishing it would never end
“So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.”
-2 Corinthians 4:18
Sweet baby boy of mine
Pebble with his loving grandparents on his first Easter celebration.
My loves on an early morning before work and school
My little Rocky jr.
I wish I had more moments like this with him.
I will be able to smile like this again. Wish his little fingers were entwined with mine again.
Our family moments full of happiness. Complete joy
“Brothers and sister, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus. “
I remember reading the poem “Footprints” when I was young. My eyes started welling up with tears, even at the age of nine, reading the part where our Heavenly Father never leaves us, but it’s during our most troubling times that He carries us. ( Footprints, Author Unknown). When my son passed away on September 25, 2017, I know that God would carry me through, maybe even drag me through, at times. As his year anniversary of being in Heaven is nearing, He has graciously set me down and allowed me to take a few steps on my own. At first, it was just one step, and then I would collapse and fall into the dark pit of darkness of pain, suffering, and agony, but He was always there, ready to lift and carry me on. Slowly, I began to take a few more steps. He would patiently hold my hand or mostly, hold me up and walk alongside me. I felt His whispers, “It’s o.k. my sweet daughter. I am here. I will never leave you. I know it hurts, but we will walk this painful journey together.” I’d collapse again, and He’d be right there, lifting me and carrying me through. My walks with Him are moments of peace and comfort. Everyday, it’s a stroll along the path of life. I speak to Him more calmly now, not like those few months after the accident. I mostly ask Him how I can make Him proud, what is He like, and how can I be more like Him. I used to think I wanted my Heavenly Father to answer my questions, and I would get frustrated when He didn’t respond. I asked the questions of, “Why, What ifs, How come, What is my purpose?” and I never heard Him answer me. I have a prayer group that meets every Wednesday. We finished a study from Priscilla Shirer called The Voice of God. It wasn’t until we completed the 7 week session that I realized that God was answering my questions by letting me know that I just needed to “seek” Him, to get to “know” Him in order for me to know the answers I was begging for before. My mother never had to ask me if I wanted mayo or mustard on my sandwich because she knew I hated mayonnaise. She understood what I liked because she was my mother. She spent time with me. She learned my likes and dislikes. It is the same with our Heavenly Father. If I get to know Him, I won’t have to ask Him what He needs of me or what He wants me to do. I will already know because I will know Him. I stopped asking those type of questions after I made that realization. My intention has matured into wanting to get to know my Heavenly Father more. I know He loves me. I know He will never leave me. I know He wants the best for me. I know He is a Father full of grace and forgiveness. I know He has a purpose for my life. I know that He intends to guide me and lead me along my earthly journey as long as I allow Him. I know He is the beginning and the end, the Alpha and the Omega. I know He sent His only Son to die for me so I can have eternal life. I BELIEVE and KNOW all of this. Before my son went to Heaven, I knew it. I attended church all my life. I knew what I was told to believe, but I hadn’t truly believed it until I was made to believe it. When my life felt as if it had ended, when my heart was broken and pain and suffering entered my soul, that was when I truly had to believe all that I was taught to believe. It wasn’t until I was down on my knees, humbled to the agony of desperation, lost to the life of this world, did I have to reach deep within my soul the belief that God, His Holy Spirit was present and willing to carry me through the darkest pit of my life. Nothing in this life could’ve of prepared me for the pain that I felt on that horrible day and will continue to feel for the rest of my life, but my faith was put to the test on that day. Was I going to believe and trust in Him? Did I believe He was a God of mercy and of promises? Would I allow Him to lead me to the purpose He needs me to fulfill? I have had many sleepless nights. I have had days where I can’t take another step. I have a memory of my Pebs and it drops me to the floor in despair. I know I’ll have many more of these moments for the rest of my earthly life. But I also know and believe that He was there on that day, September 25, 2017. A day that was filled of happiness, laughter, and love until 5:17 P.M. He was there to welcome my baby boy into Heaven. He was there with open arms, welcoming my Pebs home. I know my God was there with me when I fell down to my knees in that hospital room, and heard the doctors say, “I’m sorry ma’am. We’ve tried nine times to revive him. Want us to try again?” “Yes, please, ” I responded in shock, not believing this was real. “On the tenth time, it will work.” I held his little, cold foot. I yelled at God in that hospital room, and yet, I know He was shedding tears and crying right there, kneeling besides me. “I’m so sorry, ma’am. He’s gone.” My Father knew those words would come before they were spoken, but I believe He still screamed right next to me as I yelled in torment. He felt every bit of torturous pain, and I know that’s when He first placed me in His arms. I don’t know how I ever managed to walk out of that room except that it was Him who carried me out. The waiting room was filled with our family and friends who had rushed to be by our side when they first heard the news. Every single person in that room was crying. Not one person had a dry cheek, not one. I know my God sent the Holy Spirit to that hospital room and to our support system from that day forward. That was part of Him carrying us through. Our family, friends, friends of friends, all came together to help get us through the most awful thing a parent could ever go through. That was the beginning of my God placing me in His loving arms. Like I said earlier, He has put me down a couple of times throughout this journey. I have taken a few steps on my own, but I never have let go of His hand. When it seems as if I am going to fall again, He is there, reminding me that He has a hold of me. When I’m in despair, lost, needing to hear my baby boy’s footsteps or voice, He is there to remind me, I will soon be with him again. I know my journey will always be painful. I know that on this earth, my trials and tribulations are yet to come. I know that from September 25, 2017 and until I die, I will cry every single day. Every. Single. Day. I’m perfectly content with this because pain and tears are temporary, but my walk with God is eternal, and that is something to be blessed about now until forever. Let God carry you through.
“Consequently, faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word about Christ.”
My sweet boy
Favorite place to be
Happiest in sister’s arms
“God has taught my heart to sing again, and tucked away in the minor key, I hear His promise of all that is yet to come.”
September 23, 2017. It was a Saturday morning. I had awaken from a terrifying dream. Rocky, my husband, was still laying in bed, and I had just finished brushing my teeth. I walked over to the bed and just stared at him. Pebs was already downstairs playing with his sister, Amoree. We heard the yelling, laughing, and occasional running as they enjoyed the absence of their parents. As I continued to ponder, Rock asked me what was wrong. I told him that I had had a really weird, scary dream. In my dream, we were playing with Pebble on the bed like we always did. He was jumping and crashing all over us. On one of the crash landings, he missed the bed, and had fallen off. He landed on his head and was crying. Blood started to immerse. Rocky quickly picked him up and handed him to me. He was screaming, yelling for me to fix him. I calmly and matter-of-fact told him to calm down and call 9-1-1. I was putting pressure on Pebble’s head, where he was bleeding, and all of sudden, right before I awoke, he went limp in my arms. I woke up in a state of disbelief. He had died in my arms. As I finished telling Rocky about my dream, we both had a slight fear in our eyes, but with a nervous smirk, pushed it away. It seemed easier at that moment to ignore something so fearful and unimaginable than to continue talking about it. After all, it was just a dream. I must’ve shared my dream with everyone I encountered that day. I told my stepdaughter, my sister, my parents, and even Amee, but never in a serious tone. It was almost a, “Oh my gosh. You won’t believe the dream I had last night. It was crazy,” kind of tone to it. It wasn’t taken serious and wasn’t discussed further. That Saturday night, I had another dream about death. Our 10 year old beloved Lola had died. I never remembered the specifics about that dream, but I remember thinking, “Why am I dreaming about death?” Sunday night, someone else died, but I can’t remember who now. Monday, September 25, 2017, my world was changed. I promised that I would write about that tragic day one day, but not today. Today is not the day. But what I can write about is that he did fall and hit his head. When they handed him to me, his little body was limp. I carried him to a safe place on the ground where I proceeded with CPR. I heard family members, friends, and specifically Rocky, yelling, pleading to “fix” him. I continued my mission on bringing him back, as I stared at the bruise on his little face. The police tenderly grabbed him from me and proceeded with trying to revive him. The autopsy report confirmed his bruised head injury, even though I’ve never read it. I haven’t had the strength to read it yet. I was just told this by those that did study the descriptive report.
I blamed myself for the longest time, as the enemy wants. He wants you to live in guilt and remorse. I thought God had given me a warning through the dream, and I was too naive, ignorant, and of little faith to have listened to it. I was so ashamed. I felt myself falling into the pits of misery, depression, darkness. It was my fault. And then, I was introduced to Levi Lusko. He is a pastor of Fresh Life Church in Montana. He wrote a book called Through the Eyes of a Lion that changed my life. He also lost a child to an asthma attack five days before Christmas. His book speaks about his tragic day and the days leading up to it. What impacted me the most from his book is when he talked about premonitions and his dreams. Two weeks before his Lenya Lion went to be with the Lord, he kept having dreams about death. The only way he could describe his dreams was that it was God’s way of letting him know that no matter what we would’ve tried to do, the tragedy was going to happen, regardless. It wasn’t God trying to warn him, or me, and that we just didn’t have enough faith or that we didn’t listen. It was Him trying to take the “guilty” part out of our mind, our hearts, and our soul. You see, God knew what He allowed was going to try and destroy us. The pain alone would take us to the most darkest, loneliest, unimaginable places anyone could every think of, and He made a way that would deliver us from that guilt. He showed us that even though this horrible thing was allowed to happen, nothing we could’ve done would’ve changed the outcome. The enemy is going to prowl and encourage us to stay in this dark pit, but God is so good. He wanted to protect us from the evil thoughts. If God allowed my Pebs and Lenya to be taken from us, then it was a necessary. I don’t understand it. I may not want to accept it, but God knows the needs of all His children. As a child of God, I’m to be obedient and to trust in Him. He has made promises to us, and I have faith that He will provide. He will fulfill His promises, and He will never, ever leave me. I know Pebs is playing in Heaven right now. He’s running, jumping, laughing, and singing up there. I know he feels my love, and he’s waiting for me. I dream of him often. I know when he visits me and when it’s just him in my dreams. I can feel the difference. I thank God for the times he allows Pebs to visit me. Most days, I don’t want to wake up, but when I open my eyes, I smile with tears rolling down my cheek. I smile because we were together. I smile and know that one day soon, we will be together again for eternity.
“On the night she went to Heaven, I did for Lenya what a daddy should never have to do. I reached out and closed my little girls eyes. What I never expected was that God used her to open mine.”
–Through The Eyes of A Lion, Levi Lusko
A week before Pebble was born.
My baby boy was born on Christmas Eve.
I’m always mesmerized by the moon.
“Let our faith become a mountain that will rise and never fall, lifted high above the valley, we declare Your kingdom come. We will cling to what You’ve promised ’til the day You call us home. Let our faith become a mountain we stand on.”
Green. It’s a secondary color, not like blue, yellow or red. Mixed together with yellow and blue, we get the color green. Verde is the word in Spanish. According to Eva Heller, the color green was associated with “wealth, merchants, bankers, and the gentry.” (Heller, Eva (2009). Psychologie de la couleur – Effets et symboliques. Pyramyd (French translation) The Mona Lisa is painted with a green dress, and the British House of Commons has green benches. It is the color most associated with nature and wealth. It is a bright, almost unforgettable color. This is now my favorite. Now and forever. It became my favorite color on September 24, 2017.
I was giving Pebs a bath. It was a Sunday evening. School for my daughter was on the next day, therefore, early baths and bedtime routines were underway. I had set the baby’s sleeping clothes by his crib because sister loved to dress him afterwards. We were playing with his bath letters, the ones that come in a multitude of colors and are made out of foam. Pebs could hand me all the colors when I asked for them, in English and in Spanish. I’d say, “Daddy’s, can you hand mama the red, rojo?” He’d reach down and hand me any random red letter. We’d do this every bath time, every color, in English and Spanish. He loved chewing on them and as he’d reach for a new foam letter to place in his mouth, I’d ask for him to hand that color to me. That night, we were about done with his bath, and he reached down, grabbed a letter and, as he was handing it to me, he said, “green, green.” I was extremely excited and cheerfully repeated, “Yes, papasito, it is green. Good job!” It was his first and last time he would tell me a color.
I wear green all the time. My nail color is usually green. I buy green purses and shirts. If I had more courage to walk around with green hair, I probably would. We had a balloon release with green and white balloons on his birthday, December 24. (Yes, he was my Christmas miracle). I can still hear him saying “green” and handing me the letter. The best part of this story besides me now having a favorite color, is that he left his little, tiny teeth marks on all of those foam letters. All the time that I would tell him to stop biting them, in English and Spanish, and he never listened, I now have a physical imprint of his tiny teeth forever. I still have that same letter that he handed me on that day. I kiss it every day before I step out of the shower. I imagine him kissing me back. I’m blessed to have had a baby boy that would bite his letters and not listen to mama when he was told to stop. I’m blessed to have his little teeth stamped in all those foam letters. And I’m blessed to have the memory of that final day when he declared to me with great certainty that the color was green.
“When you pass through the waters I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you; when you walk through fire you shall not be burned, and the flame shall not consume you.”
“We must be ready to allow ourselves to be interrupted by God.”
I never thought of memories to be painful, hurtful, sorrowful. They were just that, memories. Whether they were good or bad, regretful or satisfactory, they were just part of our past. Memories didn’t start attacking me until the day after September 25, 2017. It was as if my life was not real. I would see pictures of my son and instantly fall to me knees or to the ground. I couldn’t believe I didn’t have him anymore. The memories of carrying him in my belly, nursing him, all the sleeplessness nights were vivid, real, but yet, he wasn’t in my life anymore. I would remember carrying him in a Moby baby wrap around the house or when I spontaneously mowed the lawn. The memories of him running a fever, taking him to the doctor, and meticulously caring for him were real, so why wasn’t he with me? I remember all the battles we would have when nap time came around, the baby sign language we enjoyed speaking, the adventurous days we would spend together filled with playgrounds, jogs, food, naps, races, and laughs. However, his laugh wasn’t present anymore. All the visits to the park were gone. The feet races we used to do weren’t going to happen. My favorite memories (they are all my favorite) were of us going down the stairs. He’d reach for my hand and say in his baby voice, “down.” We’d hold each hands and count each step as we stepped down, one half in English and the other in Spanish. We’d reach the bottom step together and he’d clap. In this real world that I live in without him, going up and down the stairs in the lack of his presence is utterly meaningless and painful. Memories of our breakfast time was also my favorite. He’d run to his high chair and again tell me, “down.” He’d scoot his chair all the way next to the stove where I would be cooking him his eggs. He’d tell me, “papa,” or food, and we’d sing, smile, watch Elmo, and enjoy the presence of life, of living. But I enter the kitchen, and it’s empty of all that used to be there. There isn’t any singing while cooking. The silliness of a spoon full of food flying through the air into the mouth of a baby boy is just a memory.
Oh, but how beautiful and joyful are those memories. The beauty of feeling his first kick when I was pregnant. No pain could ever hurt more than the love of feeling that kick inside of me. The fun way we tried to learn how to use the wrap to carry him on will always be more precious to me than the pain of not having him here. It allowed me to hold him close, right next to my heart. I would never exchange that for anything in the world. The feeling of his little fingers wrapped around mine as we walked down the stairs, the sound of his baby voice as we counted the steps, and the cheerful sound he made when we arrived at the bottom will forever be treasured in my heart. The mornings filled with Elmo’s World theme song, the smell of eggs, and our contagious laughter and numerous amounts of surprised kisses, are the mornings that will forever live in my thoughts, my soul, my heart. As I write these memories down, the tears haven’t stopped flowing. I have had to take several breaks and have used a multitude of kleenex, but how could I not want to remember those precious moments with my sweet boy. However more painful it will be to continue reliving moments with him is worth every tear because those times were real. He was with me. It is excruciating, devastating to acknowledge and accept the reality. I will not be creating anymore memories with him, that’s reality. He isn’t living in this world, physically, with me anymore. He is now in heaven, safe, happy, and waiting for me. Yet, the time that he was with me was full of love, happiness, peace, joy, and so many other words of love that can’t be described with ink, paper, or fonts. It’s a feeling so profound, so in depth that it has no adjectives strong enough to bear it’s meaning. I slowly and cautiously venture down memory lane. There are videos and places that I still can’t see or visit, but I am patient and know that one day, I will be ready. Time doesn’t heal the pain, but it gives Strength, Endurance, Peace, and Joy the necessary duration they need to survive this empty world without our child. I live every minute, every second, every beat of the day with a memory of him. Not a moment goes by that he isn’t with me. Most days, I can smile. Every day, I still cry. In all the days, I thank God.
Riding the lawnmower with my Pebs.
“Real grief is not healed by time…If time does anything, it deepens our grief. The longer we live, the more fully we become aware of who she was for us, and the more intimately we experience what her love meant for us. Real, deep, love is, as you know, very unobtrusive, seemingly easy and obvious, and so present that we take it for granted. Therefore, it is often only in retrospect-or better, in memory-that we fully realize its power and depth. Yes, indeed, love often makes itself visible in pain. -Henri Nouwen
He loved the playground.
Papa time. He loved his food.
Pebs was very observant and curious. Wonder what he was looking at?
All smiles after eating some delicious papa.
Our many outdoor adventurous in our yard. Angus, our pony, hiding behind the tree. He was camera shy.