The month of October is Pregnancy, Infant and Child Loss Awareness Month. Throughout the month, we will be sharing stories from families about their loss and honoring their pregnancy journey and their angel babies. Today’s story comes from Alexia Harrigan. Alexia is a friend of a dear friend of mine (Jess). I knew nothing about her and had no idea what her story was when I reached out to her last week. It might sound cliche to say “There are no words,” but there genuinely are none. As she shared, I just wished I could reach through the phone and hug her all the way in Texas. Alexia has created a Bible crafting company, called CJ’s Busy Box, to keep his memory alive and honor his life. Please take a moment to check out this wonderful project. Alexia, you have such a beautiful heart and soul. I am so deeply sorry for all that you and your family have been through. Thank you so much for taking the time to share your story with us and help other parents out there to know that they are not alone. We are so grateful to honor CJ’s life with you.
I never would have thought this would be my life. I was the mother of an energetic, funny and charismatic 22 month old little boy and in one day all of that was taken away from me.
Collin (CJ) had bilateral pneumonia. The infection spread into his body and shut down his system and he was gone. Yes, we took him to his pediatrician. But she said it was just a virus, “he’ll be fine”. But he wasn’t. And three days later, on October 9, 2014, we lost the light of our lives and my heart hasn’t been the same since.
Devastated doesn’t even come close to describing the pain that I’ve felt. It’s the worst thing ever.
If there was a darker place than depression, that’s where I’d be. For the first year all I wanted to do was die, just so the pain would be over and I could see my son again. But I’m not a quitter. So, my husband and I have been going to grief counseling. It’s been hard trying to process all of the trauma we’ve been through. Having a healthy baby one week and not having one at all the next. Watching the doctors try with all their might to save your child, knowing there’s nothing else they can do…I still have nightmares.
It’s been two years now, and I feel as if the darkness and heaviness is lifting just enough for me to see some sunshine.
Not all of my days are bad days anymore, and I’m grateful. I’m able to embrace the memories of CJ and smile even with a tear in my eye. Sometimes I still struggle with how to move forward without moving on. I will forever keep him in my heart but I can’t continue to live in the darkness of grief, I’ll go crazy!
One of the things I’ve done to help me move forward is to start a Bible crafting company, CJ’s Busy Box.
Collin and I did a lot of Bible crafts together and I would post pictures on social media for our friends and family to see. I didn’t realize until after he passed away that there were hundreds of people following our posts. I really wanted to continue to share with all of those people and I wanted to keep his memory alive and honor his life. This project has really been a good outlet for me and being able to share our love for Bible crafts with other parents and their little ones has been great.
Moving forward hasn’t been easy but I am determined to take it one day at a time, one step at a time.
Alexia Harrigan is the wife to her wonderful husband Chad, and the mother of Collin James. She is a Physical Therapist by profession and owner of CJ’s Busy Box, a Bible based craft subscription box for children ages 2-5 years old. She is currently writing a book on her grief journey and life after loss. By sharing her story she hopes to encourage anyone who has lost a child or a loved one to embrace the sunshine even when your days are partly cloudy.