Julian: three years ago

On November 8, 2010, we welcomed our little sweet, beautiful Julian. He was born via c-section and when the doctor retrieved him from inside my belly, she lifted him up to me and said, “here’s your miracle baby” and she was right.

Julian's Birth 012

When I was pregnant with Julian, I had some complications that required me to visit the antenatal unit at Bridgeport Hospital every week, for an ultrasound. They had to keep a close eye on him. Once we approached the end of my third trimester, the doctors, family and I were all jumping for joy that he was doing great and going to be born soon. It seems that my body’s complications didn’t interfere with his growth at all and I was so relieved. So, when he was born, we were beyond excited that he was finally here.


Unfortunately, that relief and happiness was cut very, very, short. Within a few minutes of his birth, the doctors rushed him over to the NICU. We were shocked and didn’t understand what was happening, since he seemed to be fine via every single ultrasound. Since Lilliana, our first born, was born prematurely, at 34 weeks, and had to spend a week in the NICU for assistance with breathing, we weren’t too concerned. However, Julian was born on time and weighed 6 lbs 11oz. so it didn’t make much sense.

Julian loved his co-sleeper but not as much as he loved sleeping with his mommy and daddy
Julian loved his co-sleeper but not as much as he loved sleeping with his mommy and daddy

Well, at that time we didn’t know he had SMA, we only found that out a couple days after Christmas. With his illness, his health was quickly dissipating and he should have gotten progressively worse as soon as he was born. But here is the miracle part. He actually got better after a couple weeks in the NICU, he was breathing on this own and feeding from my breast and bottle. It was our perseverance and our deep, deep desire to go home and be together as a family, and our love for each other, that made him succeed through those first two weeks. He was a fighter!!! and he wanted to go home with Mommy, Daddy and his brother and sister.

My "mothers day" with Julian... just a couple days after he was born
My “mothers day” with Julian… just a couple days after he was born

Even though, he suffered through many, many more tragic episodes during our stay at home, we were able to have him home with us for several weeks, especially to celebrate Christmas together. I was able to hold him on Christmas morning, cuddling with him as his brother and sister opened gifts. It was such a beautiful morning and I will never, ever forget it. It was such a blessing and so very special to have such an amazing baby, soul, spirit with us during such a beautiful, time. To this day, I believe with my whole heart, that Julian was our special Christmas miracle.

The proud Lilliana, holding her beautiful, sweet baby brother, Julian
The proud Lilliana, holding her beautiful, sweet baby brother, Julian
Cutie pie Lucas being the big brother for the first time!
Cutie pie Lucas being the big brother for the first time!

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Even though he was here for such a very short time, he made such an impact on our entire world and to this day, we all talk about him and love him every single day. He’s still our son, brother grandson, nephew and cousin. His spirit continues to live with us (but I really do miss holding him and kissing his sweet baby face).

Baby Julian 036

So, today we celebrate and honor his 3rd Birthday. Happy Birthday to our sweet, baby Julian.

Mommy and Daddy love you and that is forever!
Mommy and Daddy love you and that is forever!

In memory of Tio Antonio

On Friday, August 23rd, my Uncle in Portugal (aka. Tio Antonio) died. The world lost a compassionate, kind and loving man.

Tio Antonio and Tia Ermelinda

Tio was just diagnosed with cancer about a month ago and sent immediately to the hospital for surgery, but unfortunately, the cancer had already taken over his entire body. It was such devastating news. My entire family was overwhelmed with such sadness. Luckily, my parents were in Portugal when he was in the hospital and got to visit with him every day during his last weeks here on earth.

Tio Antonio and Tia Ermelinda (pictured above) are amazing people and anyone who gets to be loved by them, is so very lucky. I have known them all of my life, even though I live here in the US, my parents and I visited every couple years thorough out my entire childhood. We were also fortunate enough to welcome them both here in 2003, just a few short weeks after Lilliana was born. That was their first visit to the United States and their first and only airplane ride. We were so blessed and so happy to have them here.

with lilliana

A couple years ago, a few months after Julian died, we decided to go to Portugal. I wanted to visit with them and with the rest of my family that still resides in Portugal. It was such an amazing and special trip and I am so glad that we were lucky enough to do that. It was the first time that they met Lucas, although they got plenty of photos, letters and phone calls.

Lilliana and Lucas absolutely loved being there and my aunt and uncle were so very happy to have us there. I remember one evening at their home, I was reading a bed time story to both of them and my uncle stopped at the bedroom door, and was just watching us and smiling. I will never forget that cherished moment. I am a very lucky woman to have such a beautiful, sweet, compassionate family.

So, as you can imagine, this sorrow has just compounded my already existing grief over losing my sweet Julian in 2011, my loving Godfather in 2012 and now my uncle in 2013. Both my Godfather and Uncle were not just part of my family, but they were like father figures to me and they accepted and loved me since I was born and it is extremely sad that they are not here on earth anymore.

Hopefully, if there is really a heaven, my Julian is there with both of these amazing men and for that, I am thankful. It makes me feel good that they are there to take care of him and that all three of them, along with my Grandparents and my other family members (my aunt, other two uncles and my two cousins) are all forming their little family there and that one day, we will all be together again. It’s a little sad that we have so much family on the other side, but I guess that is part of life. It’s just hard to handle at such a fragile time, one year after another.

This post is in memory of Tio Antonio, as we are sending him and my family all of our love and tears, as we remember all of our days with him.

Back to school blues

Well, the time is almost here, the end of summer fun with my children. In another week, they will return to school.

back to school

It’s a big year for my little ones. Lilliana will be starting 5th grade, her last year at elementary school (loads of tears here) and Lucas will be in school full time, starting 1st grade!!! For the first time in 10 years, I will be alone. Not only is it sad because I will miss them so much but it also reminds me that Julian was supposed to be here with me, smiling at me and keeping me from tearing down as my kids get on that bus. Now, no one will be here to do that and it will be an extremely rough patch for me. I’m not going to lie, it’s going to be super depressing.

I know, I should be excited for them, their life is growing and they will be going on new adventures in their lives. Of course, I will be happy for them, but I know that deep down in my soul and heart, it’s not going to be all a sea of roses. It’s going to be hard. It already is really hard.

It’s been quite a summer, filled with good times and bad times. I wish I could say it’s been an amazing summer but it hasn’t, our family has experienced more sorrow this summer, but I guess I should try to focus on the good days. The days we were able to enjoy the sun at the beach or pool, go to a matinee movie, visit with friends, go on a little vacation, helping Lucas catch his first fish etc. This is all part of life, there is happiness and sadness. Sometimes, I just wish there were more of the happy days and much, much less of the sad days, but unfortunately, that isn’t how it works in this life.

end of summer

When I was younger, I remember some of my biggest problems were passing my exams or trivial issues with friends, but now as an adult, the problems in life are so much bigger.

Well, I guess I must button it up soon and try to enjoy these last few days of summer at home with my kids, because I love them so much and love the time I have with them so much. They are the best thing that has ever happened to me (aside from marrying my hubby). Hope you all enjoy these last few sunny days that are coming our way.

The Truth

Argh, truth be told, it’s another day of sadness. These days are so difficult, feeling so overwhelmed with our loss and life’s complicated twists and turns. It seems as if I can never catch a break anymore. This empty feeling will always be here, forever engraved in my heart and soul, but lately, things have been extremely challenging. There is just so much going on in life that continues to challenge us.

My handsome little man
My handsome little man

Maybe it’s because Lilliana and Lucas are getting older and will both be in school on a full time basis in the Fall and I will be home alone, without my baby Julian. Or maybe it’s because so many people, including my close friends, around me are having more babies and are filled with so much excitement and joy in their lives and I just have a hard time being around that because I wish it was me. Or maybe it’s because life keeps throwing me curve balls almost on a daily basis and I just can’t juggle them all any more.  Or maybe it’s because people still don’t ask me about Julian or talk about him because it makes them uncomfortable or they don’t know how to deal with their own emotions, so I am left with all this sadness within these four walls of mine. Or maybe it’s because life just keeps going on for everyone else and mine has been standing completely still for over two years. Or maybe it’s because my heart is in a million pieces and I am constantly reminded in life that I can’t run home to my baby because he’s just not here anymore but buried under the cold, hard ground.  Or maybe it’s because I am trying so hard to make life happy again and then something happens to pulls me way back again to this sadness. Or just maybe it’s because losing a child is the biggest loss and hardest thing I have ever had to endure in my entire life and it will be with me forever and I can’t imagine dealing with all this pain and suffering and trying to be happy on a daily basis for the next 50+ years!

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Whatever the reason, there are a lot! I don’t mean for this post to be a pity party but just a reminder of how difficult life is sometimes and how we all face so many challenges and some are much harder then others. Even though Julian died over two years ago, and we still go on vacations with Lilliana and Lucas, still take photos of our children, still celebrate their birthdays, still post recipes and still continue to move forward with “business”, it doesn’t mean the grief is over. The truth is the grieving will NEVER END. My family and I need and will always need constant support and loving. We all need it as each of us faces difficult challenges in life, some more then others, and we all need constant pick me ups. We are human and we need those hugs, sometimes more then you can even imagine on some days. So, keep asking your family and friends how they are doing and really, really listening to them, giving them your full support as they might really need it that day!

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This week, a few videos captured my attention and helped me realize, even more, how precious life is and how we should embrace it and live it to its fullest in love and laughter. Today, I’m going to share them with you.


This first video is about a woman, who lives nearby in Long Island, New York. In 2009, she lost her three children in a tragic car accident. I just learned about her story as I watched her interview on The View and downloaded a full interview on NBC News that I’ve posted here. As I watched her tell her story, I could see and feel the sadness in her eyes and her soul. Losing a child changes your perspective on life and alters the way you see the world. It is life changing and no one can ever understand that unless they have lost a child too. She lost all three of her children at the same time and her house went from lively and full of smiles to empty and cold. That just broke my heart to pieces. She’s written a book, ” I’ll see you again”, which I ordered and plan to read.


I have heard numerous times how I am an inspiration to people, and how I help others realize the true importance of our lives but let me tell you that in my eyes, this woman is a true inspiration to all of us. I am so fortunate to still have my Lilliana and Lucas here with me, they help me so much with their smiles, their laughs, their joy, their hugs and kisses. I take full advantage of all of this positive energy and am so fortunate to cradle up with them every day. When this woman talks about how her and her husband were planning to take their own lives, I can see that heart break and that longing to be with their children again. When you are a mother, that’s all that matters to you, is to be with your children. This mother and father continue down their path in life, even with all of this tremendous pain that will live with them forever. They are my inspiration.


The second video is about a young man, who died a few days ago from cancer. He set out to share his story and inspire others to live life to its fullest, smiling and laughing each day, enjoying his family and friends. This family knew their son was going to leave this earth in just a few short months and they moved past that resentment and pain, and enjoyed every last moment with their son.


It is so easy to get caught up in the woos of life, especially when the cards you are dealt are unbearable, but as I have said many times, it’s how you handle what comes your way, that makes you the person that you are. Instead of focusing on the negative (that my little infant baby, Julian, died in my arms and that his little body is buried under the ground in a strange place instead of being here with his family, learning to walk and talk and giving us hugs and kisses) but rather focusing on the positive (that we were fortunate to meet and hold our beautiful little son and Lilliana and Lucas were able to shower him with so much love during his few weeks on earth). We should let the positive energy flow out from our souls and embrace each moment that we have here on earth because we don’t know what will happen tomorrow. This family embraced their last moments with their dying son, they are my inspiration.


Finally, this is the last video. a different perspective on enjoying life. This group is showering women on the streets of NYC with song. This made me laugh, I enjoyed it so very much. I love it when people come out of their comfort zone to show others kindness. This is a true example of letting go and just being kind to others. In life, I have come across so many people who just turn the other way when a situation gets uncomfortable for them. Unfortunately, this happened a lot when Julian died. It is an unfortunate situation and so many people don’t know how to handle it, so instead they just ignore it. I am sure I have done this numerous times also, so I don’t judge them anymore. It isn’t easy to move out of our comfort zone, to take the time to do something for someone else when our own lives are so very busy. Sometimes, it’s just easier to not do anything, then do the wrong thing, but the thing is, it is better to do something, then not do anything at all.


I think what I enjoyed most out of this video, was just how much they made these women smile, just by taking a few moments to show them a random act of kindness. This goes a long way in my book. Instead of running away from this strange man, they just smiled and enjoyed the moment. That’s exactly how we should be living our lives, enjoying every single moment because you never know, it just might make your day!



Wow, this weekend was jam packed! Not only was it “Mother’s Day” on Sunday, but on Saturday, we celebrated my niece’s First Communion and my in-laws 50th Wedding Anniversary, plus it was OUR 11th Anniversary on Sunday as well. Talk about an emotional filled weekend!

Me and my baby, always in my arms

I don’t know about you, but that is a lot of stuff going on physically, mentally and emotionally, all in just two days. So now it makes sense, why I have been feeling completely drained and a bit down these last few days. Sometimes, we don’t realize how keeping busy can really just suck up all our energy and I need all the energy I can muster up to just live each day.

This weekend, as you can imagine, was particularly rough on me. I thought about Julian every single second and longed for him to be with us during these special moments. Whenever we get together for family gatherings, I always imagine him there with us, enjoying laughing with his cousins and being part of our family unit. It is so difficult on all of us to go to these events without him. It takes a lot out of me, emotionally, to keep up my good spirits around everyone, especially our kids. We want them to enjoy their life, they are so young and have their entire lives ahead of them. I want them to feel our love for them and how we’ll do anything for them. So even if it takes up all my energy for a week, I will laugh with them, dance with them and show them just how much I respect and appreciate them. 

My three beautiful children, as they should be, "in love with each other"
My three beautiful children, as they should be, “in love with each other”

Thankfully, I feel a little more rejuvenated today. The sunshine and warm weather definitely helps as well as a few days to just cry and let it all out. You need to do that. It’s the only way the anger, sadness and frustrations don’t keep building up inside of you. It is a valuable lesson, to honor your feelings, talk about them without feeling guilty and realize that you are not alone. There are people that take you in no matter what and appreciate and love you even on your “bad” days. Life can be really hard most days, so it’s good to accept that and move forward because sometimes things happen in life, that are unimaginable but sometimes things happen that are beautiful. It’s all in how you handle what life throws at you because it is what it is and we have to do our very best to just keep on.

Happy belated Mother’s Day to all the wonderful, loving moms out there. You’re appreciated and loved each and every day, even if it isn’t always obvious, wink wink. Here’s a sweet poem that I wanted to share with you all.