The love this boy holds for his brother never ceases to bring me to my knees. He says goodnight to Sloan every night, and good morning as soon as he wakes. He talks about him frequently, he is never shy about bringing him up.
He sleeps with this blanket of Sloan’s each night, it is the last one I ever wrapped Sloan up in, before they took his body from the house.
Sloan may have only been here a short 7 months, but I am confident the bond these boys share is alive and well.
Today has been 5 months since I last held or touched my baby. 5 months since I last heard his cry or saw him smile. 5 months without the smell of his hair or the softness of his skin.
Tomorrow would be his 1st birthday, a bittersweet day for us. Sloan came earth-side two weeks early and in grand fashion, born only 45 minutes after we were admitted. He did everything that way- quickly and early. In his short 7 months with us, we heard him coo mama, saw him crawl, stand on his own, and even walk. We are so thankful for those early firsts he gave us.
His beautiful honey brown eyes captured anyone who gave him a passing glance, and his smile could light up a room. Even strangers would comment about the aura he exuded- as if he had wisdom far beyond his age and ability.
Sloan knew something we didn’t. He would go on to do great things after he was gone, giving purpose even in tragedy. Death took his body. But oh, how beautifully he has lived.
Phoenix Iris DeRosier will join us in early June!
The name came to me when we were driving to our dating ultrasound in October, it was raining and as we were driving down into the valley I saw a rainbow above. The name just popped into my head and I suddenly found myself saying “what about Phoenix?!” It has such a powerful meaning and is so fitting for this baby after loss. “Iris” will be her middle name, in Greek mythology Iris was the Goddess of the rainbow. The Iris flower also represents wisdom and Valor, honoring her brother’s memory.
I thought it would be fun to share how Justin and I became a “we”. We originally “met” in high school 13 years ago. We grew up in the same large neighborhood and had been going to school together since jr high. I had never interacted with him until my junior year, his senior, when we had a few classes together. He was a well known, incredibly outgoing, and social Jock. I couldn’t stand him because he would talk incessantly in class and he always skipped out on our group projects.
Seven years later, a friend kept trying to get me to “meet” him again. She was dating his brother at that time and they both kept insisting Justin and I were a great match. I refused repeatedly, and they had to lie to get me in the same place as him. They’d talked me into going to church with them and as we were waiting outside, Justin showed up. I was so frustrated and embarrassed but he was so kind and friendly that I ended up really enjoying his company. In talking with him, it turned out we had a lot in common. That night I had a Facebook message from him with his phone number, so I went for it and texted him. I agreed to a date with him that week, and that was all it took for me to know he was the one.
The two of us have been together ever since, nearly 7 years now. We have been through so much together, we’ve guided one another through darkness, and we’ve celebrated the light. No couple is perfect, and we’ve had our own fair share of marital struggle, but we are always able to reach for each other’s hand knowing we can make it through. Love is not effortless, but we’ve been willing to put in the work and that’s why we survive it all together. When we look back 13 years ago, we laugh. I’d never have thought I’d love that annoying DeRosier kid, and I most certainly couldn’t have seen all the things he’d be by my side for.
Holidays are difficult, but not this one. Thanksgiving is about thankfulness, love, comfort, gratitude, blessings, family. All of these things, in abundance. Our tragedy has not jaded us. We have not let it taint our ability to feel and nourish joy. Sloan’s life was about so much more than what happened to him. His story changed lives, and continues to every day. His story brought people together, taught lessons, nudged forth the desire to try harder in all aspects of life. He reminds people to appreciate, cherish, and be present. He reminds me every minute, of every day, that great things can come from the very worst things. We did not fall apart because of what happened to him, no. We kept going because of what happened to him. So on this day, I am thankful in every way.
I know I haven’t written in several weeks, and I don’t really have a reason. I just hadn’t felt compelled to outwardly express my grief journey lately. It’s been almost 4 months since I last held my baby. Feeling the gravity of that fact is too much, and expressing it means I have no choice but to feel it. Many bereaved parents go through this. These brief periods of sealing up our emotions as if it’s protecting us from the pain for even just a few moments. And yet, the agony has not stopped. The waves still crash down, and the current still carries us with it. Now, staying above the surface is about navigating the space between it hurting because it’s been so long, and it being more bearable because it’s been so long. Somehow, neither of those feels good to embrace.
It never ceases to amaze me the lengths a narcissistic person will go to garner sympathy. Unfortunately, since Sloan’s death, we have experienced a few who’ve used him for just that.
Two days ago, a shop owner chose to randomly message another. She preyed upon her emotions by body shaming her for her weight and telling her to do something incredibly profane. It was vile behavior and the message was exposed to the handmade community in an attempt to warn others of this persons true colors. Many of us commented in support of the woman who was body shamed, expressing how disgusting the words of the other were, and that it was unacceptable. We banded around our friend, we stood up for her and showed that we were NOT okay with this.
I had briefly spoken with the woman who said these terrible things, in a private message. We talked about her actions towards the other shop owner, and we had both been calm and tepid in our conversation. I had expressed it would be wise to simply apologize for her words and try to make it right. She had seemed as if she was considering it. Yet instead, this woman yet again messaged our friend body shaming her further.
The very next day, the same antagonist sent her teenager into a large Facebook group of women in our community to harass and body shame yet again. She attempted to pick fights, called names, insulted people’s looks, people’s children, people’s age, and used plenty of disgusting language. Her comments obviously attracted attention and response. Many of us told her to knock it off, that she was over the top, that she was making the existing situation far worse, and that she was far too young to be behaving such a way towards adult women.
She was removed from the group as a result of her behavior. Hours later, her mother, the original antagonist, posted an outlandish live video on her Instagram. In it, she behaved erratically, crying fake tears, claiming she was bullied, that her daughter was bullied. She then crossed a major line. Preying on my recognizable name in our community, she named me, singling me out and claiming I had threatened harm on her child. This in itself was an absurd lie, everyone had seen I had not said such a thing, and everyone knows I never would. She then brought Sloan’s death into it. Crying and SCREAMING that “HE DIED!!!!!”, that she had “supported us”, and how heartbroken she was.
Now, let me break this down. Before this week, I did not know this woman. My only interaction with this woman has been reading the terrible things she and her daughter said to another shop owner, commenting several times how appalled I was about it, and that previously mentioned short conversation with her. There were over 1k comments left about her actions in that group. Over 800 other shop owners and brand reps expressed their anger and shock at her behavior. Some were a bit extreme, but most of us were pretty tame and simply defending our friend.
This woman chose to single me out because my name is a very well known one in our community as a result of Sloan’s death. This woman lied about me in an attempt to appear a victim and tarnish me. This woman preyed on people’s emotions and attempted to garner sympathy by bringing up MY child’s death. This is vile. This is horrendous. This is WRONG.
I am saddened by the last few days. Seeing a shop owner friend be shamed and insulted for her weight, knowing how deeply it affected her. Body shaming is never okay. It is damaging, it is taking advantage of a persons insecurities and using them as a weapon. And when a woman body shames another woman, this behavior sets us ALL back. We cannot accept this.
Seeing even a VERY small about of people still supporting the actual bully is disheartening. Seeing how successful this woman was in her attempts to hurt others is disheartening. I am also deeply saddened to know that another shop owner, another member of this community, a community I love and support so dearly, could exploit my child’s death this way.
I am sorry for anyone she has affected with her actions. I am sorry for her, because she is not sorry herself.