Friday, February 26, 2010

Update...


Last week, Chloe traveled to Houston with Sara's family, and I went to Colorado on a ski trip with my family. During the ski trip planning, I had decided that I was not going to go because I did not want to take Chloe to Colorado in February. A few weeks before the ski trip, Angie (Sara's sister) called and asked if she could take Chloe to Houston for a family wedding. She thought it would be a good time for Sara's extended family to see and spend time with "Lil' Chlo-Chlo." Mom told me that she thought it was a "sign" that I should go on the ski trip. I bought a ticket and it ended up being a great time. Sara's family got to spend a week of quality time with Chloe and I got to "shed responsibility" for a week. It was good for everyone involved.

Chloe in Houston

Cousins

Angie and Chloe

Powderhorn, Colorado

While in Colorado, the 1 year anniversary of Sara's mammogram occurred (the day we found out she had cancer). Once again, I was shocked at all that had transpired in 12 months. The following day was the 5 month anniversary of Sara's death. It was not until that point that I realized that Sara died only 7 months after she was diagnosed! A few times each week, I still shake my head and cannot believe that she is gone.

On the long President's Day weekend, Chloe and I stayed home in San Antonio. It was a weekend of reflection for me. Since Sara died, I tend to eat my meals standing at the kitchen counter. Setting the table for one was always too visible of a reminder of my current situation. On Friday night, I grilled a steak, baked a potato and made a salad. I set the table and realized that I was okay with my "new normal" and the single place setting at the table. Chloe was in her swing next to me and we enjoyed a nice meal. In a previous post, I referenced the verse Phillipians 4:11 - "...for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances." I think I was forcing myself to be content, but now, I can truly say that I AM content with my current circumstances.

When Sara's fam was visiting, back in November, I thought I was ready to go through some of Sara's stuff. We got all her shoes and set them out in the garage and started to sort through them. I wanted to keep some for Chloe, wanted Angie to have some of them, and wanted to give some of them away. As I stood in my garage looking at all her shoes, I had to consciously fight back tears as I decided what to do with each pair. Each pair of shoes went with an outfit that Sara wore when we _______.

"Sorting Shoes"

Seeing her hiking boots, with dirt still on them from our hike to the top of Mt. Fuji, brought on a wave of emotion. Seeing the shoes that she wore at our wedding brought on a wave of emotion. Seeing her tennis shoes that she taught aerobics in brought on a wave of emotion. Needless to say, I was not ready to go through her stuff. I put most of her shoes back in the box and put them back in the closet.

On Saturday morning, I woke up and felt ready to go through her closet. A few months ago, I bought some big Rubbermaid tubs to store her things until I figured out what I wanted to do with them. I know that I am saving all of the clothes that Sara wore when she held Chloe. As I was folding her clothes, a rerun of Extreme Makeover - Home Edition came on the TV. The story was about a young couple with 3 young boys. The mom was 28 when she found out that she had cancer. She died 6 months later and was buried on her 29th birthday. Sound familiar? As they were walking through the finished house, they showed a big picture of the mother on the wall of the house. The story was too similar...

As I was folding Sara's clothes, with our baby on the bed next to me, tears started streaming down my face.

Through this "journey of grief," I have never tried to push certain feelings away. As the different emotions arise, I just "roll with them." Of course, there have been tears, but that was my first time since we were in the hospital on Sara's final day, that tears have flowed like that. I had been waiting on an emotional outpouring...and it happened.

This past week, Chloe received a package in the mail. It was sent from Sara's cheerleading coaches from high school. Sara was the head cheerleader at Deer Park High School 11 years ago and absolutely loved being a cheerleader. After we were married, it was not uncommon for Sara to get excited and spout off a cheer from her high school days. I would look at her, shake my head and just laugh. If she got really excited, she would start to do those "cheerleader jumps." She was so full of life!

Sara's coaches had a Build-A-Bear made wearing a DPHS cheerleader outfit. They also sent Sara's old cheer outfit for Chloe to have.


Here is the an excerpt from the letter they sent to Chloe...

Dear Chloe,

We wanted you to know a little bit more about your very special mother. She was a cheerleader here at Deer Park High School for four years, and she became a special part of our lives.

She was proud to represent her school, and she was committed to the success of her teammates. She always came into practice with the goal of helping everyone have a good day, and she wrote us a letter once telling us that one of her favorite things to do was to make us smile. We kept that letter and treasure it today.

We hope this bear will help you know the "spirit" your mother added to the lives of many students and teachers here at Deer Park.

Our blessings to you as you grow,

DPHS Cheer Sponsors

Here are a few more recent pics of the little lady.

This past week I heard a new song by Mark Shultz, called "Love Has Come." It is one of my new favorites.

47 comments:

Missy said...

I just want to say I don't even remember how I found you but you inspire me....thank you for sharing your story and for inspiring me every day....You have a beautiful little girl!

shannon said...

on your last post, someone mentioned a blog written by matt logelin. i had a look at it and it is a guy in a similar place as you. again, thank for sharing. i hope you and chloe are well.

A Sip from the Well said...

I am glad that you got to blow off some steam. I appreciate the song. It is on point with what I have been thinking a lot about. I feel like heaven is so real to me at this point. I can envision Eric there and I wonder what does he get to see? What does he sing? Who does he get to meet and talk to? What an amazing thing to think that your Sara and my Eric are with Jesus. I can't wait until we get to be with Jesus too. I have never felt that way before in my whole life. Thanks for the post.

Alex and Jill said...

Still amazed at your strength.

Chloe is such a doll.

Soli Deo Gloria said...

Hi Brad-
Thank you once again. All I can say is "wow" every time I read your latest post.
We continue to pray for you and Chloe.
Blessed be the name of the Lord.
Love,
B & J

mikeandmelissafisher said...

Hey Brady, just stopping by to say a prayer for you and Chloe. Keep writing, you're changing lives :)

Love,
Melissa

La Famiglia Repucci said...

Mark Shultz is da' MAN! I really do like his songs. Thanks for sharing this one, I hadn't heard it yet. But I realized that songs like these help me remember that In Christ there are no goodbyes and soon one day we WILL see each other again.

I think about her most days and still have a good cry because I want to pick up the phone and call her. I can't bring myself to erase her name and number from my cell. Not just yet anyway. So I can't imagine how you are feeling as you try to go through her things. Please know that you keep inspiring others through your endless hard work as a Dad and learning how to "set the table for one." Miss you guys terribly and as always we will keep praying. Love G&T

lindsaymeyer said...

I can't imagine how difficult it must be to go through Sara's stuff and let go. Life wasn't supposed to turn out like this, was it?

Thank you for continuing to keep us updated. Your story has softened my heart immensely. I'm really enjoying the Chloe pictures. She's so sweet!

JRMG said...

Brady, You are still in our hearts and prayers here in Italy. Grief is a process and I truly urge you to embrace where you are.

You are doing a great job with Chole, I am so excited to see her grow these last few months.

Matthew 5:4
Blessed are those who mourn,
for they will be comforted.

I truly hope that you find comfort and support from everyone in your life and even those online as you are truly inspiring me during my time of grief.

emily said...

Little Chloe is such a beautiful baby.

I'm also glad to hear you were able to spend some time of the slopes. That was probably a nice, refreshing break with family and friends! :)

Kristin said...

Your strength is such an inspiration to me. You are an AMAZING father. I know Sara is so proud of you. Chloe is absolutely adorable!

Sarah said...

always touching to read your words. So nice to see big Chloe! They grow so fast don't they! Miss you guys!

Melissa's Thoughts said...

It's hard when life moves on, but you both seem to be doing well. Thank you again for sharing your journey with us. It's such an inspiration. I can't believe how much Chole is growing. WOW!

Kelli said...

Thanks for sharing of your heart through this journey of grief!! Knowing that you depend on God for strength and contentment is an inspiration to others. Chloe is an absolute doll!! (We call our Chloe Chlo-Chlo too!!) Praying!!!

Sherylynn said...

What a wonderful legacy Sara has left for your beautiful little girl! You all remain in our prayers.

Peggy said...

Thanks for sharing, Brad. I'm a big fan of honest people, and you're one of them. :) I posted your link on my blog recently so more people will continue to hear the story of the Sullivans.

Little Pink Rose said...

I have never met you or Sara but found your blog through someone else's blog and you have inspired me so much. I think you are such a faithful servant and you will pass that along to your precious Chloe! She's beautiful! Thanks for allowing Him to work through you!

Kathy and Ryan said...

Brady - I'm a friend of Jon's from CO and he and I had just caught up this week after not emailing for about a year. He showed me the blog, and I have to say that my life is now changed. For not even meeting Sara, she really has changed my life, inspired me in so many ways, and I thank you so much for writing your story. You have so much strength and the love of your family and friends is very uplifting. Chloe is absolutely beautiful and you are an amazing father. I will continue to keep you in my prayers.

Lisa said...

Sounds like your trip was a well needed break. You shouldn't feel guilty about getting away. Afterall you are a Dad that gives all you can to make his daughter's life a happy one now that her Momma is gone. It really looks like you are doing a wonderful job. Chloe is absolutely precious and looks an awful lot like you. Anyway, thank you for sharing the pics of Chloe... it is great to see her as she grows up. Take Care of you and that sweet girl.

Hugs & Prayers,
Lisa/Ohio

Michelle said...

Little Miss is SO CUTE! Glad you were able to get some time off. Every parent needs a break, and comes back all the better for it. And many, many cool points for the cheer sponsors. What an excellent thing to do!

Ana said...

Thanks for the update

bass family said...

This is a great post. There was so much I was going to comment on (like how glad I am that you got to "shed responsibility" for a bit... every parent needs that)... but really you've given me a great idea. I did not give birth to my oldest daughter. Her mother died when she had just turned two and I had the privilege of marrying her father and the honor of raising her. I want her to know and remember her mother, with joy and pride. The letter from Sara's high school coaches gave me the idea to have people write my sweet daughter and tell her all sorts of wonderful things about her "mommy in heaven". Thanks so much for sharing.

Madam Schildkröte said...

You're amazing.
I've been reading silently for a long time. In awe. Amazed.

Beth said...

Glad you were able to getaway. It's nice to "escape" from life sometimes.

I couldn't help but smile at the cheerleader bear and letter. Those are the things that will make you cry, but I've realized that it's because I'm overwhelmed at the outpouring of love from people. Awesome!

Thanks for your honesty, it usually puts things in perspective for me, knowing that I'm not alone in this journey and it is ok to be content and to take steps forward.

Psalm 138:8

Beth said...

P.S. I found that song recently too, love it!

parks said...

your blog is something i check for updates regularly... one, because i love the updated pics of your precious chloe and two, because you and sara are inspiring. your writings help me keep the main thing the main thing and to draw closer to our Savior. thank you for your transparency and for sharing your heart with the world. blessings.

Shara Tietz Photography said...

God works in great ways doesn't he! That show came on at the right time just to let you know you aren't alone. God has a way of comforting us in the moment we need it. I'm glad your doing so well...you have been a good and faithful servant. Go DP I think that school makes an impact on all who went there. I've known your wife since elementary school. I have some pics I want you to have when she was a kid. She was always full of soo much spirit! Keep your head up and keep walking in Gods great grace and he will keep providing for you and your sweet girl...sara is very proud of you I promise!

Ps...Chloe looks ssoooo much like you! She's a beauty.

Blessings,
Shara (St. Francis) Tietz

Rachel said...

Wow, what a strong man you are. You will overcome, I know it. I just wanted to say that in the first picture I see Sara in miss Chloe's face, and that she is BEAUTIFUL!!!

Stephanie said...

I have been reading your blog for a long while now, I'm not sure that I have ever left a comment---fear of not knowing what to say I guess.
A friend I went to HS with (MZ) took the amazing pictures of Chloe when she was just weeks old (small world). I just had to say that you are such an inspiration to me. You have helped me strengthen my walk with Christ, and have helped me to understand the true, full meaning of trusting in the Lord. I look forward to your posts and I pray for you and Chloe so very often. Thank you for sharing such a sacred part of your life with us. You have touched so many people and you have undoubtedly touched me and my heart forever.

Cheyenne and John said...

Brady. I love checking in on your blog and I still get teary each time I read your posts. You are such a strong and godly man and your story still inspires many! Thank you for sharing with us. Chloe is absolutely beautiful- you can tell she is so full of life just like Sara!

Jessica said...

She is such a beautiful girl, just like her mother! I'm glad you were able to take a trip for some rest and relaxation. You need to take care of you so you can continue to be a great father to Chloe. Praying for many blessings for you.

Stephanie Anne said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Stephanie Anne said...

Brady,

Once again I am awestruck at the way you handle yourself and the time and effort you put into writing your posts. I know they aren't for us so much as for yourself and Chlo Chlo.

I am glad you were able to make the trip...thank goodness Angie had plans for the baby and you were 'given' a sign that it would be alright for you to go skiing.


Had that not happened, Chloe wouldn't have been able to make her rounds here in Sara's childhood neighborhood. I was so honored to finally get to meet the little bundle of sunshine. She is so beautiful.

So many of us knew Sara's family when they first moved into their house before she was even born. We all able to watch her blossom into the wonderful and beautiful young woman she was. Even back then she was so full of life and energy that just radiated onto everyone around her. She was definitely contaigous.

Oh yeah, and that DP bear is just tooo much. It's so darn cute.

Much love and many prayers as always and may God continue to bless the both of you.

Stephanie Anne

Chad & Angel said...

Just wanted to share with you something my mother did for us after my father passed away. She was unsure of what to do with all my fathers clothes and I'm unsure of where she even got the idea, but she has made quilts out of the clothing. She has used clothing that we have pictures of my dad in or shirts or pants that we remember him in and has made a quilt for each of us children and grandchildren. It is so nice to snuggle up on the couch and have our dad/grand dad there with us.
Not sure if this is something you might want to do for Chloe, but it has helped us.
Chloe is adorable and she is truly blessed to have you as her daddy!

DAWN Braun said...

Brady,

As always, I am at a loss for words and choked up after reading your wonderful post. Your strength is such an encouragement to so many. Thank you again for sharing a bit of yourself, a bit of Chloe and especially a bit of Sara with the rest of us. Hugs!

Kayla said...

I just wanted you to know that your blog and story has truly changed my life. I want to thank you for that! You have reminded me of the important things in life and to always put God first. I'll be praying for you and Chloe, who is the most beautiful little girl I have ever seen! Again, thank you so very much! Your story will continue to change lives.

Tabatha said...

I pray for you and Chloe everyday and hope that you continue on your spiritual path with our lord Jesus Christ. He is the rock that will help hold you together.
Your special Lil lady is getting so big and just adorable as can be. She will bring you lots of joy through your days of grief.
God Bless you Brady and I will continue to pray for you.

Adele said...

Brady- as usual...your posts inspire me and amaze me.
Chloe is growing by leaps and bounds and continues to change and look more and more like you and Sara.
She's is so delicate and beautiful. A beautiful reminder of Sara....what a little miracle she is!
Continued prayers coming your way...
Adele-
Corpus Christi, TX

Lynne said...

Here once again to tell you how much I love to see pictures of Chloe and to read your inspirational posts. So glad to know you went to Colorado for a much deserved break. As a single parent for the first 13 years of my son's life, I know first hand that a bit of time away makes one a MUCH better parent.

Brooke and David said...

You are such an inspiration!! Your strength is incredible and an amazing testimony of the Grace of Our God!

Shonda said...

Chloe is growing so fast! Such a beautiful baby just like her momma!

Sara Sara Sara over and over a million times must have been this absolute wonderful blessing to everyone she met. The bear the cheerleaders sent was one of the most thoughtful, unselfish things anyone on this earth could do!

Going through loved ones things....wow...it's HARD and it's even harder when it's someone at one point in your life you said you could NEVER live without but Brady you are doing it and she is with YOU AND CHLOE! She may not be there physically but she is there! Keep up the good work! LOVE that baby like there is NO tomorrow!

Always,
Shonda

C. said...

I don't know if you have time to read through all the comments that people leave on your blog, but the impact your story continues to have on many is readily apparent. Your strength is inspiring, but your faith leaves me breathless. Thank you.

Mrs. Lydon said...

I have to tell you. I have been following your blog for a while now and I have never commented before. You and Sara and your daughter are beautiful. I cannot imagine how hard the past five months have been for you and your family. But I hope you can stay as strong as you have and that you can keep rolling with those emotions every day. Even though those emotions are so hard to take, dont ever let your self shut down or stop feeling it will teach your beautiful daughter how to feel. I wish you both well. You are truly an inspiration to us all.

The Texas Hoaglands said...

Brad,

Your strength is amazing. Your daughter is beautiful. I admire you so much. I hope you keep the blog going for years to come. Little Chloe is meant for big things, and I personally cannot wait to see what journey the Lord has in store for that sweet girl! Thank you for sharing your journey.

Miss Lori Akin said...

I started reading your blog and praying for you guys when a friend posted a link to this page. It has been a blessing to my life.

May the Lord continue to strenghten and uphold you and your precious baby through the days, weeks, and months ahead.

God is good.

abbie normal said...

I have been following your blog for a long time.
Anyway, I just wanted to tell you how beautiful Chloe is. She looks so much like Sara in that first picture.
Much love and prayers.

Christy said...

Chloe is beautiful. Thanks for sharing!