What is Shaken Baby Syndrome?

Each year in the United States alone, medical treatment is sought for an estimated 1,400-1,600 babies who have been shaken. Don’t let your child become just another statistic! Tell everyone who cares for your child “Never shake a baby!”

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Here we are...

I can truly not believe it has been the 7 shortest months of my life since I've truly last posted anything on this blog. I've been away for a number of reasons, with the main one being my mental health.

It has been a long long time since I've opened up to all of you about "the real me" and my struggles. My struggles however, have been what has brought me to you and you to me. Each one of you. Through posting, when we go back clear to MySpace where this "group" truly formed, I began just blogging on a daily basis, about what was happening, what was going on, and the struggles. One by one I came into contact with you, and for that I am forever grateful. With that said, I have some extremely personal things to talk to you about. I have been known to say too much, and at times not enough, so I wanted to take a moment, and open up again, like I haven't in over 4 years. The best part about falling, is the getting up.

I would first share with you that I have moved. Not to another state, or even another town, but to what I can officially call home. My fiancé (by the way I am engaged!) and I moved into our first official home together in June 2011. I can tell you when I walk in from work, errands, or even letting the dogs out (yes we have 2) that I've walked into what I can finally call home. That in itself has been extremely emotional because I have not had that feeling since Madilyne. I've felt an overwhelming sense of displacement ever since.

I moved to Arkansas in July 2009, to be hired on by an amazing company, and within my time spent working I would find the man I prayed so long and hard for. In February 2011, he proposed and I indeed obliged. He is everything I prayed for and more. We all have hopes and dreams when it comes to life, and through the darkness that has filled my life in the past 6 years, it was extremely hard for me personally to hold onto hope, for fear it being false. I turned to prayer, because whether answered or not, the unanswered turned out to be the bigger blessings in my life.

The proposal was perfect, just as any girl could ever hope it to be. It was beyond any feeling, emotion, or imagination. It didn't include extravagant flowers, thousands of people, or millions of dollars. It included so much more. His promise to me, his love for me, and his life he wanted to spend the rest of with me. That was beyond any of the previous listed. I was excited. He asked I not announce it (and for those who know me know I CAN'T keep a secret!!!) until we had my mom and his parents over for dinner, and we were both able to talk to our families. It was out of that I knew, this is how it is SUPPOSED to be. Intimate, private, and all about the love we share.

Then all of the sudden it came to me. I am going to be planning a wedding. My wedding. Our wedding. I immediately began garage sailing like an insane woman, getting all the tools and supplies I needed, and began clipping articles, getting the image set just right on paper and in my mind, to make it as close to perfect as possible. It wasn't even 2 years ago I was a girl, prepared to devote my life to the Network, and begin stock piling cat food. I never in my wildest dreams thought I could ever unleash my heart ever again, but deep down I always held true to my prayers, all in due time, he would come. He did.

It was a good way into the planning process that I began going through these moments, and those moments turned into days, and days of course turned into weeks, when I began to stay in bed. I didn't want to talk to anyone, I did not want to go anywhere, I just wanted to lay in bed and pretend that nothing was going on outside of our house in the world. Was I depressed? But if I am depressed, why am I depressed? I started seeing my Therapist at least twice a week to begin, a Psychiatrist once a week, and my primary Dr. once a week. They would try medicines, try other medicines, some making my physically ill, others making me emotionless, and then there were the ones that making me sick beyond holding my head up. That continued for at least 2 months.

Finally, I was at my therapists office talking to him one day, and the wagon I have been in hit a brick wall head on and the tears began to fall down my face. It was then I realized, all of the heartache I felt from my divorce over 8 years ago, had been suppressed this entire time. From the moment my divorce was finalized to the date Madilyne was killed was almost exactly 4 months to the day. The following I watched my parents marriage of 35 years dissolve itself, and I moved too many toes and fingers to count the times, that as I spent so much time working through what happened with Madilyne, and deciphering between all the guilt I carried in my heart for the day when my heart told me to pick her up while working, and not even 30 minutes later I got "the call". I never knew how much my heart was tarnished from all of this combined together.

This is supposed to be the happiest time in my life. This is supposed to be the time when the parties are non stop, I'm working out to look my best, planning like crazy, and spending time with all my lady friends to figure out the details. I have done not one. I have spent the past 4 months holding him close, very close, because I love him.

This blind sided me. I have failed some, but most of all I have grown even more emotionally because of this. I am happy, once I said all of this out loud, I was able to finally acknowledge what was hurting my heart, I was able to deal with the dreams of flashbacks I was having and to decipher whether it was real or fiction, and my dreams have again became dreams and not dreaded nightmares.

These past 4 months have been a growing period for me, I can not begin to put into words without sounding like I am rambling. Which brings me to this blog. This blog began in 2009, but this journey with so many of you began clear back in 2006 on MySpace. I began to open my wounds, write blogs, explain how I dealt with a situation, what enraged me, and what made me content. It was that way that I have been able to connect with all of you, and I am sorry if there has been a block between that. I have said so many times that I wish when some people get to a certain point in their lives, they could just remember what it felt like at the point I was in, or they could just remember what it is like to have a day when you feel the entire world is against you, and that is why I am here. I am here because this my friends, whether you have just found this blog or been on this journey with me since the days of MySpace, this is where we found our common ground and our feelings.

I will never attempt to relate to a mother of a Survivor, and at times it is hard to relate to a mother of a victim. I can guarantee one thing, Madilyne's Legacy that brought so many of us together will always continue, and this Network will be in place, just maybe not as it has been.

There has been great confusion within my heart on how to talk to you all of you about this, because I know how much it means to ALL OF YOU, but also to ME. With the help of all of you, I was able to lead the way for this Support Network, to form a group, for all families to join together regardless of their circumstances to obtain the support they need. The Support Network has done just that. We have grown beyond any number to ever flash in my mind, there is demand after demand for families across the Globe for opportunities that are quickly becoming endless, and it is absolutely amazing how beautiful all of this has become. However, it is time for regrouping, so the Network and the support, and abilities for us continue to grow as much as it can and be healthy.

In order for this to happen I am going to have to tell you something that is so bittersweet for me. Madilyne brought you all to me. If it wasn't for her I would not know not even one of you. In 6 years, she has brought over 25,000+ people into my life, for comfort and for support, and because of that, there is something I need to do for her, and most importantly I need to do for me and my soon to be husband. Our wedding is March 10, 2012, and with that said, I must announce that the vigil this coming year (April 2012) will be broadcast live via UStream. It is such an important event for the healing families have obtained from this event. It is not your 5 star event, with flashy hotels, suits and ties, or your Sunday Best. It is a family reunion. One weekend each year when we gather together as the growing family we are, to spend an awesome time together. This year, we are going to light the sky with our candles, and all of our speakers will be present, and we will have a lot of announcements this year as well. This year, every single one of you will be able to attend the vigil, even if there will not be a gathering, we will all be together, Live.

This has been the headrest decision for me to make. All of the Board Members with the Support Network have worked their butts off and it will continue. We do not stop, ever. We just have to be flexible, due to the responsibilities entailed within planning such a special event. Truly, we have all been affected by SBS and are here together, and each have our times, when we need time to heal. This is mine. It is very important for me to take this time, with my soon to be husband, so I can continue on my journey in life, as a healthy, happy woman, mother, daughter, sister, aunt, and now wife. This is not temporary, this is for the rest of my life. I do not ever want any of you to feel let down. We are going to empower, and do what has never been done before. The world's largest Social Media Candlelight Vigil for Shaken Baby Syndrome. I hope you will be there, and I hope you tune in. I will have information the latter part of November for you, with time and links and such because this will help lead us to the biggest Vigil yet, the SBS Vigil of 2013!

From the bottom of my heart, I love you. All of you. One would think it should or shouldn't be a "big deal", to me it is. Because without all of you my family, and my fiancé, I can not continue.

All my love,

1 comment:

Barb Kramer ~ Momma to Kassica Harp said...

We love you Rachel. We are always here for you and Jamie. I look forward to the 2013 Candlelight Vigil. I know I've said this many times but you are the one that showed me the way to the light. I and my family are in debt to you. We love you.