Monthly Archives: January 2009


I still find it hard to make it through the day without thinking about what I should be doing with Alexander at a given moment.  If it’s 9:30am on a Thursday, then we should be in his gym class or 10:30am on a Tuesday, we should heading to my tennis drill or if it’s 12pm, it time to think about lunch before I’d put him down for his nap.

I tried to keep our days pretty flexible but we did have a few routines. 

I had a meeting in South Jersey today.  I guess I didn’t think about what direction I had to go but on the way to and from the meeting, I had to pass the exit for Alexander’s pediatric opthamalogist and the exit for the surgical center where he had his tear duct surgery.  Both times I passed the exits, it brought back such a flood of memories.

When I got back into Trenton, I stopped by Alexander’s grave for a few minutes and cried some more.  I’ve been like a waterfall ever since.

I see Alexander in everything I do and everywhere I go. 

I just miss him so much.

Numbing the pain

I got a hug from Alexander yesterday. It was in my dreams but felt very real and was so needed.

Last night, Dan and I attended our first “big” event since Alexander’s service. It was a kickoff event for the Alexander Michael Dodson Memorial Scholarship Fund. It was good to see people but I wish it could have been for a different reason.

I miss Alexander so much.

I love food but I don’t eat a lot these days. Instead, I drink a lot of wine. The wine provides a nice numbing agent for a few hours. Unfortunately, when I wake in the morning and the wine has worn off, the pain of my loss is there all over again. The pain is there when I see a picture of Alexander dressed in his cowboy outfit for Halloween. I’m not a big fan of Halloween but we took Alexander out last year because I didn’t want him to miss out on the fun. He didn’t go for the candy (thank goodness) but really enjoyed the social part of playing with the other kids. The pain is there when I think about the fact we won’t get to see Alexander go to prom, graduate from high school or get married. The pain is just always there.

One of the “don’ts” on the list of the what friends and family should and shouldn’t do for/with a bereaved parent is to not encourage them to drink excessively. For the time being, I’ve decided to ignore this piece of advice.

I miss that even though I know he did, I’ll never get to hear Alexander say I love you mommy.

How can he just not be here?

I miss…

There are so many things that I miss and will continue to miss about Alexander.  Here are just a few I thought about as I was going through the day today.

I miss waking up to the feeling of Alexander curled against my back and his head on my pillow after he’s spent the night sleeping in our bed.

I never thought I’d be a parent to let my child sleep in my bed but Alexander taught me to never say never when it comes to kids.  When he wasn’t feeling well, I felt better if he slept with us so I could keep an eye on him.  There were also those times when he refused to go to sleep and we were both tired so upstairs he had to come.  He liked sleeping in the big bed with mommy and daddy.

I miss making waffles with Alexander.

I miss seeing him run around in the backyard and playing with his balls.  In addition to the balls I bought for him, Alexander also liked to play with our tennis balls.  A friend gave him a tennis racquet and he was just getting to where he could hold the racquet and sorta hit the ball.  He got the concept even if he wasn’t quite coordinated yet to execute.

I miss hearing how excited he’d get when the phone or doorbell would ring.  Our doorbell rings through our phone.  Even though some adults had trouble figuring it out, Alexander could always tell when it was the door and when it was the phone.  If it was the door, he’d stop what he was doing and run to the door so we could walk out to the hall and greet whoever was visiting us.  If it was the phone, he’d stand under the alcove where we keep the phone and wait for me to answer.

I miss our weekly (ok, sometimes 2 or 3 times a week) trips to Target.

I miss our sing alongs in the car.  Well, I was singing while Alexander clapped and smiled as mommy entertained him.

I miss the quiet of nap time.  Only to be happy again when it was over so we could have more fun together.

I miss his mop of hair and how curly it’d get when it was wet.  Dan and I had an ongoing conversation about when we’d get Alexander’s hair cut.  I didn’t want it cut and Dan was itching for the father/son experience in the barbershop of having their hair cut together.  In the end, the only time Alexander had his hair cut was following his service.  Unbeknownst to me, Dan had arranged for the funeral home to cut a small lock of  Alexander’s hair which Dan later gave to me.

I miss how excited Alexander would  get if I held him in my lap while we watched a video on my laptop.  Or, when I’d let him sit at my desk upstairs and watch a video on my desktop.  Alexander loved hitting the buttons on the computer so I finally decided to keep all the programs on the desktop closed when I wasn’t actually using it.  Instead, I’d only leave open a browser showing Sprout Online.  Alexander would have fun banging away on the site.  He didn’t know what he was doing but he made it fun for himself.

I miss our walks to the post office to drop off orders I needed to ship.  Before he could walk, I would push Alexander in the stroller and stuff boxes in and around him so we could get to the post office.  As he got older, he wanted to walk and push the stoller.

I miss our walks to the tot lot in our neighborhood.

I miss doing laundry together.

I miss the gate that separated the basement from the first floor.  We’d long ago taken down the baby gate upstairs and this was the only gate we were still using with Alexander.  Dan sold the desk in his office so needed to move the gate in order to bring it up from the basement.  It didn’t make sense to put the gate back once it was down, but with each small thing of Alexander’s that is moved from sight, it feels like another piece of him we’re putting away.

I miss sitting with him at his little table in kitchen and coloring with him.

I miss watching him climb all over Dan trying to find the most comfortable spot as we settled in for our nightly episode of Wheel of Fortune.

Not too many regrets – from Alexander’s Daddy

Alexander’s Daddy submitted this entry


Often we hear of people having regrets when a family member dies.  They regret not spending time with their loved one or not telling them they love them.


I have very few such regrets about my time with Alexander, except that I didn’t have 40 more years with him.


Though my job causes me to travel quite a bit, it was never excessive and I generally wasn’t away more than 2 nights a week.  


I played with him almost every night;

Read to him;

Rough-housed with him;

Bathed him;

Watched TV with him; and

Wrote a song and sang it to him every day.  


We went out to dinner,

Travelled around the country

Went to arts events;

Went to the drive-in; and

Went to parties.


We Made Christmas cookies;

Went trick or treating;

Had a big birthday party;

Saw New Year’s fireworks; and

Got dressed up for Easter brunch.


Took a hayride;

We took swimming lessons;

Threw the ball;

Visited the barbershop (but not for a haircut for him);

Took walks in the city; and

Played in the park.


I kissed,




Changed, and

Slept with him


I went to his tear duct surgery and

Went to a few doctor’s check-ups, and

I looked after him by myself whenever mommy was out at a volunteer session.


After thinking about it the only regret I do have was the time I spent with him on weekend mornings lying around watching TV instead of taking him out to play in the park or visit the zoo.  


I lost a lot with Alexander’s passing but I do have left many memories of activities, play and time with him, and not too many regrets.

First bit of packing

Alexander has stuff all over the house and garage.  Since the garage is a bit dusty, Dan thought it was a good idea that we protect those items from the dust.  Yesterday, he spent some time in the garage packing away Alexander’s things.  I knew it would be hard for me so I didn’t offer to help.  Dan says one of the toys kept going off as though Alexander was talking to him. 

I’m not ready to pack away his stuff in the house.  I think seeing emptiness where it was once so full of Alexander’s life would be worse for me.

We went out to dinner last night with an old friend of mine and her boyfriend.  It was odd walking out to the garage and not seeing Alexander’s strollers and other things.  He would always run up to his green umbrella stroller and push it around the garage. He had so much fun pushing the stroller and sometimes, I had to chase him around the garage in order to get him in the car. 

Dinner was good.  We went a restaurant called Brennen’s in Neptune.  The first item on the specials menu was a Shrimp Alexander appetizer.  Our little boy was saying “hi” to us so we had to order it.  Dan and I split an order.  It was really good and something Alexander would have enjoyed.

It’ still so hard for me to accept he’s not here with me.  I miss Alexander’s smile and his infectious laugh so much.

5 weeks

Five weeks.

At this time, 5 weeks ago, Alexander and I were watching an episode of Jack’s Big Music Show while I tidied up the kitchen from breakfast and answered a few emails.

Now, I just wish he were here so we could do those things.

When Alexander was first born, I cherished the weekly milestones.  Now, they just fill me with dread.  With each week that passes, it’s another week without my precious Alexander.

I still find it so hard to believe he’s gone and keep asking why? Why Alexander?  Why didn’t I know he was in trouble?  Why didn’t I check on him before I left that morning? Why? Why? Why?

As I slowly begin to accept the hand that fate has dealt me, I’ve begun to internalize some of my feelings and thoughts to share with Alexander alone.  I still talk about Alexander often with Dan but I can’t keep answering the constant, “How are you feeling?”.

I know everyone is trying to be nice and really don’t know what to say in this situation, but for now, that is a hard, painful question for me.  My only child, who I spent nearly every minute of every day with for 19 1/2 months is gone.  I’m existing through the days but I’m not feeling ok.  I won’t be for quite a while but at some point in the future, I hope I will.

The first month – part 2

Just when I thought things couldn’t get any worse today, they did.  I went by to visit Alexander’s grave this afternoon only to find the gates closed when I arrived.  I was there at least an hour before they were due to close so I didn’t understand it and there was no sign.

I know I carry Alexander with me always and that his grave is just where his body rests.  It was still like a knife to my heart to not be able to visit him today.

To make matters worse, the emergency room bill arrived today. 

It was just a bad day all around.

The first month

While the rest of the world is watching as our nation inaugurates Barack Obama as our new President, I sit here sad and lonely as I mark the one month anniversary of Alexander’s passing.  The past few days have been really tough for me.  I go through the motions of life but I feel like I stopped living the moment I walked into the hospital on December 20, 2008, and saw Dan’s face.  It was at that moment I realized my baby was gone.

I know the pain will ease in time and I’ll learn to live with it.  I just can’t believe he’s not here with me watching the inauguration of the man he helped elect.  Last November, when we went to vote in the election, Alexander went into the booth with me.  I was holding him and trying to balance him while I was reading the ballot questions.  Before I knew it, Alexander had reached down and pushed the button for Obama. Alexander loved pushing buttons and didn’t realize the importance of what he was doing and I just smiled.

Dan is back at work today. 

Neither of us is having a good day.

More dreams

I had another dream about Alexander this morning.  He and Dan has been outside playing before coming inside to get ready to go to an event.  Alexander looked so sweet climbing the stairs and I just smiled as father and son went upstairs to change clothes. The dream felt so real that I almost called out to Dan to remember to change Alexander’s diaper.  Then I remembered there was no diaper to change because there was no Alexander.

Missing Alexander

I miss Alexander so much that sometimes the pain is unbearable.  Today was another one of those very weepy days for me.

Dan is planning to start back to work next week and decided to go into the office for a half day today to see how things would go.  Since he was going to be gone for most of the day, I had lunch with a couple of friends.  After lunch, I went to visit Alexander.  We recently bought a silk flower arrangement to put out at the grave which I took with me today.  The ground was too hard and I wasn’t able to get the stakes in the ground to secure it so we’ll try again tomorrow when Dan goes with me.

When I got the mail this afternoon, I just bawled.  A friend sent photos of Alexander from an event we attended at her house.  He looked so happy that day.  In the mail were so many reminders of Alexander.  I got a credit card from Babies R Us early last year because you got 2 for 1 points every time you shopped at Babies R Us or Toys R Us.  I figured I had a lot of time to shop for Alexander over the years and gift certificates always come in handy.  Seeing my earned gift certificate in the mail only made me sad and teary especially since it expires just after the 2nd birthday he won’t be here to celebrate.  This weepiness is probably a holdover from a couple of days ago when the anesthesiologist’s bill arrived which also made me very upset.  I know the doctors did everything they could to try to save Alexander but it’s still hard to see these bills which just serve as further reminders of my loss.

I have made a couple of changes as I try to figure out my new normal.  As I receive baby centered catalogs or I can remember catalogs that I’ve received in the past, I’ve contacted them and asked to be removed from their mailing lists.  I also called my cleaning service today and asked that our weekly cleaning be switched to a different day because it’s just too much of a reminder of my routine with Alexander.  I can’t do anything to erase the pain I feel but hopefully these small changes will help ease the pain just a little.