June 21, 2010

Dear Carter,

Dear Carter,

I woke up today thinking of you as I do every morning. It's funny that the first thing I still do is roll over to check your Oximeter. I wonder if that habit will ever fade.

Yesterday was Father's Day, and of course we missed you through every minute of it. We all missed you like crazy, and our hearts hurt the whole day thinking about how you should be here with us. I know that you were here, but sometimes that just isn't enough.

Today was a good day. Jovie had dance class this morning. You'd be very proud at how well she's doing...in fact, she's going to start tumbling classes pretty soon too. She still draws you pictures every single day and picks flowers to put on your grave. I know that there are some pretty pink roses coming your way tomorrow courtesy of your big sister. Mikey always points out things that remind him of you. They both miss you very much.

Afterward, we went out to do a little shopping. As we were leaving one store, I saw a baby who was about your age, alone inside of a car. His daddy had left him there while he ran inside the store. The dad had thought enough to leave the air conditioner on, but that also meant that the car was unlocked and running. Needless to say, I got very angry that somebody would be so careless with their child, so I called the police. I watched the baby for about five more minutes before the dad came back out and drove away. I have no idea if he was ever caught, but I pray that he doesn't do that to that poor baby again.

I found a nice surprise in our mailbox today. Your girl, Kathy, wrote a very nice article about you in the railroad newsletter. Here's what it said...

"I am Team Carter. Well, I'm a member of Team Carter. And just how did I get to be a member? I'm not sure.

Am I family? No.
Was I chosen? No.
Did I even know this family? No.

If just..... well.... it just happened.

About the time Carter was born, I was shown a "blog" called "Team Carter". It's written by his mother and I felt an immediate attachment to this little boy and his family. So, I began to follow his story.

Ya know, I open up the newspaper every single day. I read about earthquakes, floods, fires, plane crashes, and child abuse. Such depressing, terrible stuff, right? Then I get to read teh daily antics of Carter and his family. Their story has become a real light in my life and so much more refreshing than the news. This truly is a story of hope and love.

As he fights to overcome so many obstacles in his daily life, I find myself going through them - with him. I cheer him on for his accomplishments - Yay! Carter is sitting all by himself. I laugh when she describes something funny - like the day they made the big move and moved his crib away from his mom's bedside; turns out it was something like the other side of the room. But, it was huge to her and Carter. And I shed tears the time she talked about certain doctors referring to Carter as if he were a "thing" instead of a tiny loving little boy. And as "we" live through his struggles, he emerges a hero.

He becomes "The Little Engine That Could"

A year went by and I finally got to meet them all. As a matter of fact, it happened to be Carter's very first birthday. Like the blog I had been following, this family was AMAZING. A few of us (from Carter's Railroad Family) had attended a Walk/Run fundraiser for Operation Smile. It was pretty chilly that day on March 27th and Carter was in his stroller all bundled up.

I couldn't wait to peek inside. And when I did, the most beautiful big - dark eyes met mine. He just stared at me eye-to-eye. he did not smile. But he didn't cry either. (whew) He just stared. As others peeked in with me, his eyes remeained glued on me. Well, I coudn't take my eyes off him either. I could have just sat there and watched him forever. He was absolutely beautiful!

Every time I looked in at him that day he'd meet me with those bid dark eyes. I was soon thinking to myself, (as Sally Field once exclaimed) " He likes me! He REALLY likes me!"

Realistically, it might have been the ball cap i had on iwth the snarling bulldog wearing a bright orange hat surrounded by "bling" and my big dark sunglasses that caught Carter's attention that day. But I will forever choose to believe, "he only had eyes for me".

News Update:
By the time you receive this newsletter, sadly, the little light in our life went out. Our little Carter passed away May 30, 2010.

Following surgery, complications proved too much for him to overcome. We will never forget him and the little ray of sunshine he brought into our lives. In his 14 months on earth, he taught us so much about the truly important things in life. Our love and prayers go out to the McMerrick family and we deeply share their grief.

Farewell, little buddy. We'll all just try to "Keep On - Keepin' On".

Typing that out made me cry a little, but it's a good cry. I remember that day she describes, and it is by far one of my favorite days with you, my sweet boy. I can't wait until the day that we can have more days together like that one.

Still missing you, and loving you, and praying that I will dream of you tonight.

-Your Momma


Chris Price said...

We think about you guys and pray for you every day. Fathers day is always a little sad for me too. My heart breaks for you and Mike. Love your family and continued prayers.

Kristin said...

So sweet.

Sherry C said...

I love that letter how beautiful. What a sweet sister and brother Carter has drawing pictures and taking him flowers. They miss him as much as Mommy and Daddy . I hope you have many sweet dreams of you little boy.

I hope you are hanging on. Find something to smile about everyday. Carter is watching and loving his Momma's smile.

((((big hugs))))

Lacey said...

Still thinking of you guys! Remember to call or text if you need anything. The "girl" shower is July 10th if you want to come.

The VW's said...

Love, Hugs and Prayers!!!

Amber said...

We still pray for your family and your sweet Carter. You are a truly inspirational family. God Bless.

Rachael said...

Incredible, absolutely incredible. Thank you for sharing that story. Beautiful. We thing about you everyday.

Amber said...

Still walking with you...broken hearted...it's selfish I know. Thank you for continuing to share with us!

Phyllis said...

things like that car situation make me so angry, not seatbelting kids in, smoking around kids, leaving them alone in cars.....I think we are fortunate to know how precious these little people are....

still praying for you all daily. thanks for the update. We are still on Team Carter!

Phyllis said...

things like that car situation make me so angry, not seatbelting kids in, smoking around kids, leaving them alone in cars.....I think we are fortunate to know how precious these little people are....

still praying for you all daily. thanks for the update. We are still on Team Carter!

Anderson Family said...

Tears, tears, tears. Love the letter to your little Carter. Still thinking about and praying for you everyday. We miss seeing his updates and what he is up to. Old habits are hard to break and I bet you will be looking for that oximeter number for a while! Loves and hugs from all of us!

Jhari said...

Me too... from the very first line of your post Heather, tears tears and lots of tears. Hugging you now. Still thinking of you as always Carter Jay - my real name by the way is Mary Jay. Thank you for updating your blog. Lots of love from me and family.

Cathy said...

I can totally relate to Kathy. While I never got to meet Carter, I felt like I knew him through reading the blogs. We were so excited when he would do new things. Carter touched so many people in his 14 months. Thank you for sharing him with us!