Bennett David Kahl

Bennett David Kahl
I do not cease to give thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers Ephesians 1:16

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

My dreams...a blessing and a curse.

The past is not the past…not even in my dreams

Here I go again with the sleep issues… It is not a big secret that I have a hard time sleeping at night. Whether it’s falling asleep, staying asleep or actually enjoying my sleep my dreams and my anxiety always seem to be in the way.

Lately, I have been having reoccurring nightmares. I was having similar nightmares for a long period of time this past year, but they had seemed to slow down for a while. Well, now they are back and they are regular. The premise of the dreams is always the same…someone very close to me is dying (usually Bennett or Ellie) and I am always just short of being able to save them. So, usually I start out spending time with Bennett playing and showing him off. Then he will start to shut down on me and I will run to try and save him and all of a sudden he is lying dead in my arms. It is so scary for me because I can actually see his pale blue skin and feel the cold…and then I wake up in a cold sweat. I sometimes feel like I shouldn’t say anything about the dreams b/c they are so frequent and I don’t want to bother anyone. So, I thought I would take it out on the computer tonight. My sweet husband offered for me to wake him up so we can talk about it when I have these dreams, but really there is no sense in creating two sleep deprived parents for Ellie!

I know that I have these dreams because I have so much guilt built up inside about decisions we made for Bennett and decisions we made while he was in the hospital. The shoulda, coulda, woulda’s…but we didn’t and now we can’t. No matter how much faith you have inside of you, there is always a conscience part of you that wonders “what if” I had done something different. I know I don’t have any medical training, but I think that is why I have these dreams. It is the mom in me that wants to save my baby boy. All of the regret I have for not being there when he crashed. The fear I have about something happening to Ellie Grace. It is so overwhelming for me that it invades my dreams.

To be honest it is exhausting to relive my son’s death every single night. On the other hand, it is such a wonderful time because I am usually holding him and enjoying him before he dies…so it is like being with him again. My dreams are a blessing and a curse all at the same time.

In other news…
Ellie Grace is growing right along. She is attempting to expand her vocab and is really enjoying swimming in the pool. She has decided that she can tell us when she wants something and when she doesn’t…she vigorously shakes her head from side to side to indicate a NO. We are working on teaching her “no thank you” in order to avoid any visits to the time out carpet for shaking her head no with her eyes crossed while wagging her finger at us. I mean to tell you…she has a mind of her own!

Eating with Ellie has become a bit more interesting as her food allergies have become a bit more stubborn. No acidic foods, no ranch dressing, she will not eat lunch meat or cantaloupe and really does not prefer milk. So, we are working on it one day at a time. As long as I don’t have to breast feed her until she is 5 we’ll be fine!!! I will post some new pics of the princess as soon as they are downloaded.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Check out my Slide Show!

On the day our son was burried

On the day our son was buried I wanted to curl up in a ball and cry. I wanted to go back in time one year a three days and hold him in my arms again. I wanted to hear his voice and smell his sweet skin. I wanted to feel his silky hair and feel his heart beat. I just wanted him.

Instead, I was reminded that my world still has to go on. I woke up with our one and a half year old that cut THREE bottom teeth this week at 8:30 and hit the carpet running…for the phone that is. It was business as usual as I got Ellie Grace ready for errands we needed to run. She has been unpredictable and irritable the past few days and I am sure it can all be credited to the two bloody molars that have recently cut through her gums and the forth bottom tooth that just made an appearance.

All of the errands for our business were done and I decided to treat myself to a to-go sushi roll from my favorite restaurant in the Galleria area. I got home and ate with Ellie Grace…which today felt like a chore. I just couldn’t manage to get anything accomplished today. No energy. No emotion. No…me.

I decided that today was the perfect day to just sit and rock Ellie. She needed it and I needed her, so it was a perfect fit. As she slept in my arms the thunder crashed outside. It had gone from a hot and sunny day to black clouds and rain in a matter of minutes ~ that’s Texas weather for you. All of a sudden it occurred to me that there just HAD to be a rainbow outside of our house. (Right before our IVF I saw a double rainbow…a sign of our two miracles!?!?) In the midst of my sadness and Ellie’s nap I had this “feeling” that there was a big rainbow from our Bennett outside of our house. A message from Heaven just for us to keep our faith on this horrible day. I opened the shutters in the living room and I was blinded by the sun. It was bizarre because it was pouring outside, but the sun was beaming through my back window. I checked the sky…no rainbow. I felt a little deflated for a minute and then I decided to check the front. I ran to the office to get the camera and headed for the front door. As soon as I opened it I was greeted with a perfect message from Heaven. There, right in front of my house was the perfect rainbow. I know it was sent to me from my Bennett to remind me not to fall down and forget my faith. I know it was sent to perk me up and make me remind myself of all that I have to be grateful for. It was sent from our little boy.

This is only the second time it has stormed since Ellie has been older. She would hear the thunder crash outside and come running with fear in her voice, “Mommy!!!.” I told her that it was Bubba playing in Heaven. About the third time she looked at me and said, “Bubba?” I reaffirmed the question in her voice and said, “Yes, Bubba…in Heaven…playing.”

All I can do is pray. Pray that I am right and that our little man is up in Heaven watching down over us. Pray that one day we will meet again and all of the dreams I have will once again come true. Pray that God will bless us with the chance to be parents again to another miracle child. It all comes down to prayer.

I remember exactly what I did last year on this day. I remember every single small detail about the day. I remember shaking like a leaf on the stage at church telling all of you about our son, I remember kissing Bennett’s small casket and it leaving a lipstick stained kiss and I remember looking at Brandon in the limo on the way home after the service and asking him, “What do we do now?” I remember all of it. I love those memories. They are the link I have to the best days of my life. They are my past and I wouldn’t trade them for anything in the world...except maybe reliving them.

This week has been long. It has been emotionally exhausting. It has been filled with sleepless nights and reoccurring nightmares. But, it is all because of Bennett and that makes it all worth it.

Thank you to all of our friends that sent cards and kind emails. We are thankful for each and every one of you. Truly, those words are what get us through some of our days. We would also like to thank whoever put flowers in Bennett’s vase at the cemetery. We go out every Sunday to place fresh flowers on Bennett’s grave, but we did keep the flowers to put there on a weekday visit. We thank you for your love and devotion to our little blessing ~ it means the world to know that we are not the only people out there visiting Bennett. From the very bottom of our hearts…Thank you.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Thursday, June 12, 2008

One year ago today

One year ago today at 1:30 in the afternoon our phone rang. That phone call would change our lives forever. On the other end was one of our neonatologists. His words are eternally etched into my memory…”Mrs. Kahl there has been a problem with Bennett…his heart stopped and we are trying to save him. Can you get to the hospital?”

Brandon didn’t know what was happening. He was rocking Ellie Grace in our living room after a morning of swimming. I was organizing a lunch for us to eat before I went up to the hospital to visit my chunky monkey. Then just as quick as it began…it came to a crashing end. I remember running from the kitchen to our bedroom yelling to Brandon that Bennett was dying and we needed to get to the hospital as soon as possible b/c they didn’t think they could keep him alive long enough for us to get there. On that day one doctor and a team of nurses resuscitated our precious little prince for over an hour, so we would have time to say good-bye.

Medically speaking, Bennett died at 2:35 on June 15th in his father’s arms, but I know that his spirit was already gone by the time we got to the hospital on June 12th. This day changed my life forever.

So, how do you spend such a day 365 days later? I suppose you could lie in bed with swollen eyes because you cried yourself to sleep the night before. However, if you are me you can’t sleep and you are out of bed by 5:15 AM. That’s right…I was in our office by 5:15 this morning completing a bow order because of my insomnia/heartache. I worked like a machine until 7:30 when Ellie woke up and then worked again until 11:00. Like a person on autopilot, I got dressed and drove to one of our stores to deliver bows. One bow delivery, lunch and stop at the bank later I was back on the road with tears in my eyes. I was driving down the Westpark Tollway – the road we traveled to see Bennett – and I couldn’t help myself. All of my fear and sorrow is still as fresh as it was one year ago. The anxiety and sadness is so overwhelming. I repeat that day in my head almost every day. Why did we take Ellie to the pool on THAT day? Why wasn’t someone with Bennett when all of this happened to him? Was he scared? Did he feel pain? Will I ever stop feeling pain? Why did this happen to Brandon on Father’s Day? Why do I feel so much guilt for spending Bennett’s last night alive with him instead of Brandon? Will my prince really be waiting at Heaven’s Gates for us someday?

I have some very wonderful friends that know exactly what I am talking about. Martha, Jodi, Heather, Aunt Mary and my gift from God, mother-in-law, all know the pain of losing a child. It is like nothing else in this world. I can’t begin to describe how it feels to call a florist and order a spray of flowers to lay over your child’s grave for the “anniversary” of their death. Aren’t anniversaries something we celebrate anyway?

I think one of the most impossible things about this year is that Bennett Day is actually on Father’s Day. I honestly can’t imagine how Brandon maintains himself. He is so strong and faithful. There is guilt on my part for having had Mother’s Day with my precious miracles last year. Spending brunch with Ellie Grace and then heading to the hospital to bathe Bennett and play with him. Brandon was robbed of all of that and he has never been ungrateful for one minute. He is noble and wonderful and he is mine! I am so proud.

Now here we are. One year and seven hours later. Both thinking about what we were doing at this exact moment one year ago. Both wishing we could turn back time. Both missing the other best thing that has ever happened to us…our son.

Thank you so much for your kind words and prayers.

Monday, June 9, 2008

Check out my Slide Show!

Houston...we have a potty!

At last!!! I have a free minute to sit and catch all of you up on the excitement that has been going on here at home.

So much has happened since Mother’s Day. Potty training, a virus, repeating words, cutting new teeth and an Astro’s game.

I will begin at potty training…clearly the most fun topic to discuss! At 17 months old I knew we would get a few crooked looks when we said we were going to begin potty training. As a first time mom I never know when it’s the “right time” to try something, but I had a feeling that Ellie was ready to start sitting on the potty herself. We purchased a fancy singing toilet in hopes that the positive affirmations would speed up the potty training process…we were right! Or maybe we were just lucky that our little chicken was ready to potty like a big girl. Soon after we began and after several “potty singing sessions” with mommy and daddy our little miracle was going on the potty at least three times a day. About a week after we began Ellie was not only doing number one, but she upgraded to doing number two on her singing potty as well! Boy, was I unprepared for that one! It never occurred to me that she would poop in a toilet that I wouldn’t be able to flush! After calming myself down and bringing in the heavy duty germ killers we were back on track and there was nothing I couldn’t handle. UNTIL…one early Wednesday morning.

On this particular day we woke up and followed our typical morning routine. Wake up, talk, get out of bed and head to the potty. Ellie was sitting on the potty when something awful came out of her tiny body. This was the beginning of what would turn out to be a very nasty stomach virus that would also affect daddy. By the next day Brandon was coming home from work early (a first for him) and Ellie was very cranky. By the weekend we had called the doctor three times and I was fearing a hospital visit due to dehydration. Fortunately, we remained calm (after calling Uncle Chris and Aunt Charlette) and kept the fluids coming. After three baths and 15 diaper changes on Saturday we were glad to see things calming down on Sunday. Ellie was a champ through the whole illness and by the following Wednesday she was back to normal. This was the first time Ellie has ever been so sick and let me tell you that I could wait another 18 months for it to happen again…actually I would be okay with waiting forever for her to be that sick again! Through this whole ordeal Ellie seems to have cut another tooth. A molar that is! So now we are up to 8 teeth…not many for an 18 month old!

In addition to cutting new teeth and learning to potty like a big girl, Ellie Grace is a talking machine. I listened to all of my friends say that one day she would wake up and she would just start repeating everything we say. True! In the last week Ellie has started to talk and repeat every last word we say. Ask her, “Ellie want to go to the pool,” and she will say, “pool.” It is so much fun! She is very articulate when she speaks as well. She can say her long vowel “e” very well. So words like eye, bye, mommy, daddy, me, all sound so clear. There doesn’t seem to be a letter that she has a problem with. She says please and thank you to get what she wants…most of the time! All in all we can’t believe how big she has gotten. She is absolutely amazing and every single day with her is a blessing for us.
Brandon got a very nice surprise on Saturday. We were given a set of tickets to the Astro’s game and we ended up taking Ellie Grace with us. This was SO exciting for Brandon…his little lady and her first baseball game! Believe it or not, she LOVED the game and was a dream child in the seat. We were 16 rows from the dugout so she could see all of the players up close as they were warming up. Truly, I don’t know who was more excited…Brandon or Ellie Grace. It was a great game and so much for us as a family. Uncle Mike and Bobby joined us and it made for a SUPER day!

All of this excitement and fun has brought this week very quickly. I can’t even believe that this is the week of our biggest nightmare. I can’t even begin to describe how it feels. I honestly have to keep reminding myself that this is real and we will have to face Thursday – the day “it” happened, Sunday – the day we turned off Bennett’s machines, and Wednesday – the day we buried our angel. I imagine I will have to remind myself to breathe this week and to try and sleep and wake up and eat. It is a true blessing that we have Ellie as she is one of the only things that will keep us going this week. There are indescribable amounts of fear, sadness, and guilt that we will be riffling through as we approach this “anniversary”. Your prayers are much needed and appreciated during this difficult time.