i am owen's mommy

My friend, Chris, who lost her son Caleb to SIDS as an infant years ago, posted on my facebook wall: "This is who you are and always will be: Owen's mommy. One of the very hardest things is loving him with all your heart and not having him there to receive it. You can make peace with him being in heaven, but it's another thing to make peace with not being able to change his diapers or soothe him when he's crying. I ache for you, sweet Allison, and hate that your arms are empty."

She nailed it. That's exactly how I feel.

I had to fill out paperwork at the doctor this week and answer the question, "How many children do you have?" I didn't know how to answer. I have a child. I had a child. But he's gone. It hurts so badly. I feel like part of my heart is missing, and I will never get it back.

I think it would have been easier to lose him if I had never met him. Having never had children before Owen, I didn't know what it felt like to be a mom. Being pregnant was such an abstract thing for me... I had no idea what to expect. If Owen had died before I met him, it would have been painful. So painful. But I fell more deeply in love after meeting him, spending forty-three days with him, and now it hurts that much more.

To be quite honest, I didn't love being pregnant. I was thankful I was, and I wanted a baby, but it wasn't my favorite... I would do it a thousand times over again now that I know what the end result feels like. And I wouldn't trade those six weeks and one day of Owen's life for anything.

I love that we got to know his personality in those six weeks. He loved to be awake and watch everyone around his bed. He liked to look at books and listen to stories. He did not like to be completely swaddled- he always wanted his left arm straight up or both hands near his face. He did not like to pee very much (as many of you can remember). He loved pats on his back, kisses on his face, and a gentle rub across his forehead when he was upset. When he would start to cry, his bottom lip would stick out so far, melting our hearts. He had his daddy's big eyes, long arms, legs, finger, and toes. He had his mommy's chin, strong will, stubbornness, and social personality. He was much happier on his right side facing other people in the hospital than on his left side, facing the wall. He had an old soul. Looking into his eyes, you just knew he just knew... words weren't necessary.

I love that things remind me of him. So many things. I have his owl lovie next to my bed that still smells like him. I go to sleep thinking about him and wake up dreaming of him. I'm reminded of him constantly. We went a lot of places together when I was pregnant. Maybe that's why.

There is so, so much to be thankful for. I could literally write a book filled with blessings through all of this. It was clearly evident throughout all of this that God cares about the little things. The sweet family we stayed with for six weeks lived next door to one of Owen's cardiologists. We'd see him getting in his car in the mornings and jokingly talk about being "neighbors." Dr. Raviele was the cardiologist who examined Owen at Northside and told us about his condition. Every time another doctor would try to tell him something about Owen, he would lovingly say,"Oh, I know. You don't need to tell me. Owen and I go way back..." Our respiratory therapist Susie, loved to tell everyone that Owen was "her baby." I loved it. Our nurse Amanda would call us "her parents" and defend us when people would talk about that dad who asked so many questions... They cared for me as much as they cared for Owen, and I am forever grateful. On Owen's last day, Amanda (who had been with us from the very beginning) came to the hospital on her day off just to be there with us during Owen's final hours. Our night nurse Ashley came in early so she could be there longer. Susie also stayed several hours after her shift ended that day so that she could be there at the end. And George (our favorite fellow who was with us on our very first night at Egleston), also stayed for the end when he didn't have to. We were loved.

Because of Owen, I have so many new and wonderful friends. Life-long friends. Friends I would never have met otherwise. Because of Owen, our marriage is stronger than ever. Every night after singing to Owen and saying goodnight to him, Brian and I would tell each other that we couldn't imagine going through this with anyone else. Now we tell each other how much we miss him, and we remember things about him that no one else knows. He is the only one who feels exactly the same way I do about all of this. There's something comforting about that. Because of Owen, my faith is renewed, and I feel God's presence in my life like never before.

I am trying so hard to learn how to live this "new normal." It's something I never thought I'd be faced with. It's easy to say, "God is good" when good things happen. I so wanted Owen to live a strong, healthy life and be able to say, "God is good." Unfortunately, we live in a fallen world where really horrible things happen, but I am still able to say that God is good. Owen is with Him in heaven. If I didn't have my faith in the Lord, I wouldn't have hope, and this grieving process would feel absolutely unbearable. I can't even imagine. This is really the only comfort to me right now. But it's a huge comfort, and really the only thing that keeps me getting out of bed in the morning. God knows what it's like to be a father, and he knows what it's like to lose a son. He knows how I feel and He promises to be enough for me each day.

I am and forever will be Owen's mommy.


  1. What a blessing to read this post. Thank you for sharing.

  2. Allison, I think about you every day. I'll never forget when my brother David died, I loved him so much. After his death, heaven became a very real place for me. I could picture him whole and complete, walking with Jesus and doing the things he loved. I'm thankful that your faith has been renewed and you will be reunited with Owen one day. Until then you will feel and experience all the natural emotions of grief, it's not fun but necessary. Jesus will meet you and Brian along this journey. You both are deeply loved.

  3. Your faith is a bright light in a dark world. Thank you for your honest words.

  4. Allison, your honesty and your faith are truly an encouragement. I have no doubt whatsoever that God is leading you and Brian through this day by day. That is what we are praying you as well. Love you both.

  5. I've tried to post a comment on this three times from my phone but it's not working. I love you Al. That's all.

  6. Thanks so much for sharing your heart, Allison.

  7. Allison, I am a friend of Maranda's and have been following your journey. I've been exactly where you are, we lost our firstborn as well. Reach out if you need anything. You are being covered in prayer, grace and an abundance of love. You are not alone. Maranda has all my info. -Jennifer Martin