I cannot believe that 2 months have passed since I held my babe warm in my arms.
Please stop what you’re doing for a moment. Close your eyes. Take a deep breath. Envision a hospital room. Envision your beloved 5 month old baby in a hospital bed, hooked up to a ventilator via tracheostomy tube. Imagine days of not sleeping well, eating cafeteria food, a constant slow fear building in the back of your mind. Imagine not showering frequently, wondering when the last time that you brushed your teeth was.
Then imagine your beloved child taking a sudden and dramatic turn for the worse. His ivory skin becoming bluish, his extremities cold, his heart rate 250 plus. Imagine lying with him, crying hot, quiet tears onto his skin, all of your worst fears starting to come true. Envision whispering into his curved seashell of an ear, “you can go, sweet boy. Mommy and Daddy will be okay.” You whisper it even though your heart screams that there is no way that you will ever be okay again.
Then imagine he dies. His heart stops beating. His skin turns purple. His oxygen saturation drops to zero. He is limp in his daddy’s arms. The nurses are quiet, as they manually ventilate him. They are watching the monitor. Some have tears in their eyes. The room is silent other than the sound of your sobbing and the beep of the monitors.
And then, he comes back. Despite the odds, his heart starts to beat, he starts to breathe. Eventually, he opens his eyes and looks at you, listens to your voice. But you know. You know it is only a matter of time. And so you make the decision that no parent ever, ever wants to face. You decide to let your sweet, beloved baby go.
And he dies. There in the hospital room, with the beeping monitors, the silent nurses, his doting family. Wrapped in my arms, he takes his final, agonal breaths and slips out of this world. You are left holding a warm body, a body that no breath will stir again.
Open your eyes. Look around at your beautiful life. Hug your children to you and be thankful that you’ve never sat in that dim, quiet hospital room, held your child while he breathed his last, heard the monitor alarm that there is no heartbeat.
If you have been in that place, then my heart is with yours, beating in sync with your grief.
Life is short – for all of us. It is precious. Let go of the things that don’t matter. Love fiercely. Forgive easily. Extend grace to yourself and to others, even when it is hard. Even when you are angry or hurt. It’s gone in a sigh. 5 months and 1 day. Where did it go? Here I am on the other side of it, wondering how it went by so fast. How is it March?
The sense of unreality sweeps over me again – remembering those days and nights in the hospital, cramped, sleeping in a bed curled around my sweet boy. Remembering the peaceful days at home, him snug in my arms. This season in my life has passed, and with it went my sweet and only son.
Remember. Life is short. It is terribly, terribly short. For all of us.