Thursday, February 21, 2013
February 21, 2013 9:11 a.m
Losing your daughter after just six days of having her is heartbreaking. Planning a funeral for a baby is unimaginable. Living the rest of your life feeling like a gigantic piece of your heart is forever lost is, at times, more than you can handle. But this reality does not end there. Nope. There’s more.
Like when your loving, kind, compassionate, heartbroken seven year old son comes to you before he goes to bed and asks if he can ask you a question. “Sure,” you say, “you can ask me anything. What’s on your mind?”
“Do you think Brynna knew us?” he asks. “Do you think she knew us, like that I am her brother and you and Dad are her parents?”
You take a moment, trying to figure out the best way to explain to this sweet boy, what you feel in your own heart is true. You ask him to close his eyes. He does. You say, “I am talking to you now and you can’t see me, but do you know who I am?”
“Yes,” he says. “By the sound of your voice.”
“Right,” you say. “Exactly. And when Brynna was growing inside my tummy for 41 weeks, she heard all of us. She heard me, she heard Daddy, and she heard all of her brothers. And then when she was born, and even though she couldn’t open her eyes, she could still hear us, and she knew when we were near her. Each time we would talk to her or rub her back or hold her, her heart rate would go a little bit faster and so would her breathing, like yours does when you’re excited…so I believe very much that she knew who we were.”
“Oh,” he says. Then his eyes well up with un-spilled tears and he says, “I am just worried that dying hurts, and I really don’t want to die, and I don’t want anyone else in our family to die. And there is always a chance Mom, like when you leave and go to work each day, there is always a chance that you might not come back.”
Then he cries.
And you fight with everything you’ve got left inside, to try to sum up the courage and the knowledge and the wherewithal to answer this. Because you can’t tell this sweet boy that “nobody else will ever die” and that “everything is going to be fine”. Not really. Not honestly. Because he already knows that life is not certain like that. The blessing of naivety has been stripped away already, and he is only seven.
So you say to him, “that is so much to be thinking about and that must be really scary. I am so glad you came to me to talk about this. Your Daddy and I have the same fears and the same heartache and we are adults and it scares us, I can’t imagine what it must be like for you. You will always be taken care of, you will never, ever be left alone. No matter what happens in this life, your Dad and I will always make sure you are safe and loved.”
And he says, “I just really miss her, and I know I will see her again some day. But I really want to see her now. I want to have a long, happy life with her here.”
And your heart breaks all over again. Literally, you can feel it crack in your chest. Because this is not right. It is not right that a seven year old boy has to suffer like this. Miss his sister like this. It is too much.
But all you can do is hug him close and offer that he can cuddle with her blanket if he wants. He says, “yes please” and then you continue to hold him while he cries. And you tell him it’s okay to cry, it’s going to feel better to get it out…
He asks if he can sleep in your bed with you and you say, “of course.” You tell him that sometimes listening to music helps you go to sleep and he says he, “would like to try that, and, do you have that song?” “You know, the one that the little girl sang at the cemetery that time when we went to see Brynn’s name etched in stone?”
“Angels Among Us?” you ask.
“Yes, that one. Do you have that one Mom?”
You do. So you call it up on your ipod, and you push play, all the while calling out to your daughter, begging that she comfort her brother somehow.
As the song begins, his face relaxes and his tears slow. His breathing evens out and his body becomes less tense. Eventually, his eyes close and you can tell he is drifting off to sleep. You kiss him on the forehead and wish him sweet dreams, and as you turn over to go to sleep, in a sleepy voice he says, “it’s okay Mom, Brynn just touched me on my toes and said she loves me and I’ll see her again someday.”
And your heart melts. And you smile through your tears.
Friday, February 8, 2013
February 8, 2013 2:37 pm
I love you. I am so sorry this is our reality. I am so sorry we are on this earth without our beautiful little girl. My heart broke the day she died, and then it broke all over again when I watched your heart break as well.
You are an amazing man!
I won’t tell you, “You’re so strong, and I don’t have any idea how you’re doing all this,” because I know you don’t have a choice. What’s the alternative right? We can’t just lay down forever. The boys need us…life needs us. But I will tell you, I will tell you over and over again, that you are an amazing man!
For more than half my life now, you have been here with me. I have known you longer than I haven’t known you. I have grown up with, and continue to grow up, with you.
Our road has not been smooth. It has been bumpy, winding, and at times such as now, rather dark and unsure. But we have walked our road. And we are walking still. Together.
I love you.
When Brynn was in the NICU and her future was uncertain, you told me to stop fighting to get back to “what used to be,” and join you in the middle of the pool. Remember that? You told me if I kept insisting on getting back to “before,” I would die trying. Instead, you said, we needed to hold onto each other and tread water in the middle of the deep, dark pool, taking our time to rest and wait. And then, only when WE were ready, we would begin to swim toward our future together, whichever way that was.
Now, somehow 15 ½ months out, we are swimming…
This has, without a doubt, been the most horrific thing either you or I have experienced in our life. But I am so sincerely thankful that you and I waited for each other in the pool, and continue to swim together toward whatever comes next.
You are an amazing man!
You are my best, most treasured friend and the most amazing father to our four beautiful children.
I love you. I thank you. I need you. I want you. I am proud of you. I am inspired by you.
I am so sorry we have a reason to be on this road, or in this pool, but I am so very thankful to be with you.
You are an amazing man.