Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Smile When You Think of Me...

I had a dream last night. The kind of dream where it is so real and you wake up right afterwards and relive it again and again over in your mind.

I was at a table, writing in a notebook, making lists in boxes. A list of things that Austin can't do or missed out on.

The top of the page read, A List of Austin.

I wrote…

I can’t tell him I love him.


He never got to marry.


He didn’t get to have children.


He doesn’t know I love him.


As I am writing this, Ryan and Austin are both in the room. Austin walks over and reads what I am writing.

Austin said, “Mom, Do I make you smile?”

“Yes, Austin.”

Austin said, “Then smile when you think of me and I will know you are thinking of me and you love me.”

Monday, March 26, 2007

"If love could have saved you, you would have lived forever".

Friday, March 16, 2007


I remember Austin playing T-ball when he was 5 years old and his "position"
was catcher. He could hardly move in all that padding and he had a catchers
"face protector" on.

I remember trying to kiss him through the face grill before the game and couldn't get past the grill. The coach said, "Catchers don't kiss their Mothers before a game!"

I laughed!

My "Angel" Cameo

In my horrific grieving, I have been reaching "outside the box". There has been so many unexplainable things that have occurred.

I asked my MD for a grief counselor and she referred me to a Dr. ****. I didn't go to the session with any expectations of even talking about "signs" and "afterlife", after I spoke to her about Austin and how close we were, she brought it up about him still being with me and how there were really mediums that could speak to people whom have crossed over. And she said there were fake ones out there, also!

Last weekend I went to a medium and I got a sense of relief...(after an hour of crying). Well, I learned that Austin and I are "old souls" that have been together in other lives. That he chose me to be his mother, that he knew he wasn't going to live a long life (I know that to be true, he used to tell me that when he was 5, when he drew a self portrait as an angel), that he went when he did because we all have "missions" in life and he could serve better from the other side.

Also…When Austin was young, I bought an antique cameo of a cherub, it looked just like Austin. I put it on a chain and wore it. Austin looked up at me and said, “Don’t wear that,Mommy. I am not an angel yet.”

Austin said that he is going to use "tough love" on me and insist that I quit feeling guilty. He knows that I love him. He said that my purpose on this earth is to help other mothers.

There were several things that were said in the session that "made sense". One of the first things she said to me was that I "had the light". This is something that I have known but been avoiding all my life. I have had undeniable "experiences" and seen and known things and I knew Austin did, too. I am medicated with ADD meds but the problem may be in part to my not being able to filter all the....I'm not sure how to explain it. Right now I am in a quiet house, alone, looking over a tidal sound. But ever so often, I hear footsteps, the whistling of a tune, and I smell a whiff of very sweet perfume (not mine!). The other night I kept waking up from the smell of this perfume!

Austin and I used to look up at the sky and try to visualize us on earth, and then expand to The Milky Way, then other universes, and on to infinity. It hurt our brains. That is how I feel now. Living 51 years of thinking that what I see in front of me, "known" reality is just a small part of life.

We all have the choice to listen to society (mainly people that have never lost a child) and believe that our kids are gone or to believe they are still with us. I believe that Austin is still with me. Remember the phrase..."The more we know, the more we know we don't know."? There is SO MUCH we don't know.

So now I am studying Quantum Physics, the String Theory, etc… and it makes perfect sense!

Pages from my journel...

Oh, I gotta tell you...Nathan left this morning for a meeting in north NJ until tomorrow morning, so I am all alone in the house. Well, this morning I was thinking that I haven't "heard" from Austin in a few days. I went into the bathroom and put a new roll of toilet paper in the holder. Then I went in the bedroom, made the bed, picked something up to put it away in the bathroom......And the entire new roll of TP had unrolled and was laying in the floor! I started laughing and said, "Austin, I am still cleaning up after you!" He was definitely channeling his "inner child"!

If that wasn't enough, the garage door keeps opening by itself! It has never done that before today! The medium I saw said that Austin appeared to her as a young boy around 10 yrs. old. He "told" her that was the age he was happiest. When I dream of Austin, that is the age he always appears. So, it makes sense that he is being mischievous!

As I was putting on my make-up the lights went out (the breaker tripped for the bedroom)

I shut a door upstairs and this morning it was open!

Knowing that Austin "visits" me has brought me a form of peace and acceptance. After Austin died, I focused on his physical absence. Now I have Austin back, just in a different way. I will take whatever I can get!

I have a little plastic bag that I labeled "Austin's Dimes", I call it his
dime bag and I put the dimes in it. Sometimes I find one right after another. Once I followed a trail of dimes leading to his painting! I just laugh and say "Hi, Austin!" Thank goodness for the bluetooth technology ....people don't look at you when you are talking to yourself anymore, they think you are talking to an earpiece!

To my Grief.net family, my on-line support system

I was just trying to clean up my mail box...I tend to save everything "as new" and it builds up! I was reading all these sweet notes from everybody and I couldn't delete. So I started a file "Sweet notes of comfort", to save them under.

I just can't believe what a wonderful, caring group of people you are. I am connected to you all and I thank G*d for that. I sometimes don't answer or respond but that doesn't mean I wasn't touched, sometimes I read and smile, sometimes I read and cry and sometimes I save it to answer when I have a free moment, then it seems too late.

Some of you are struggling with difficulties that are seemingly un-surmountable without the added horror of losing a child. You have lost other children, spouses, have gone/still going through major health issues, dealing with the addictions of other children and brother. One of you has a husband in a nursing home; another has a husband in Iraq. There are those with financial problems and those that are forced to work in an environment that doesn't deal well with grieving employees. Some of you have bravely moved far from everything familiar to start a new life in a different place. Some of us have been reunited with family members and others have been shunned.

But every typed word means something to me, sometimes it is familiar, sometimes it makes me think, sometimes it gives me hope, mostly I am just so much in awe of all of you.

I don't remember all the names, but you know who you are...

Wow, one of you is painting your heart out! What a magnificent idea!

Others are reading, exploring, learning so much that we didn't know/understand until grief has brought us to this point.

Still others are leading the way to go on TV, helping in documentaries, public speaking, spreading the message that addiction is not a choice. You are educating the public about this tragic epidemic.

Then there are those that are waging a more personal war on those dealers/people that were responsible for your child's death. You are dealing with prosecutors, court systems and putting yourself at risk, to save another family from this intense pain. You are selfless.

Also, I listened to a brother's song wrote about how he misses his brother who died from drugs. It was on his brother's web site. I cried so much that I couldn't even tell you how it affected me. It was heartbreaking.

You are my family and I cherish you all.

Lesli.....Ryan and Austin's Mom
Austin Nicholas Barthen
2/26/1981 - 9/16/2005


As most of you know, I have been living in a house in Wilmington, NC on the
Sound since the first of December. I felt peace instantly. I knew Austin
was with me, I felt him near me in a comforting way. I was happy, I was sharing
my life with Austin.

I thought that I had progressed greatly in my grief.

Then, last week we decided to return to our home in NJ for 10 days, for an
assortment of reasons. Before I even left for the airport I was an emotional
mess. Coming back here in NJ has not been good. I feel like I am in the eye
of a storm and all the guilt, new grief, raw pain, bad memories, sound
bytes, snapshots...they are all swirling around me. I literally have limited
vision, hearing because of all the chaos surrounding me. I can't concentrate, I
have heart palpitations, my hands are shaking....symptoms of a panic attack.
I feel that there is a negative energy at work here.

Has anyone else had to leave their home to find peace? Isn't it harder to stay where there is bad memories? Do the good memories override the bad memories? This wasn't Austin's "childhood" home or even state. I raised my sons in Ohio, Austin came to NJ when he was 18 to live with me. Maybe if I had raised him here I would have better memories of NJ.

I don't think Austin would want me to stay in NJ. He used to tell me, "Mom, you don't know. New Jersey is a bad place." Maybe, he knew he would die here.

And now I am spiraling back into that deep, black hole of grief.