Lessons from Death

My heart goes out to all those families in Connecticut. I know how it is to lose something very precious in your life, to mourn and grieve, to be angry. I have learned some very special lessons this week through my own personal tragedy that also happened on 12.12.12.

My daughter-in-law was 21 weeks pregnant when her water suddenly broke out of the blue. We were terrified for her and our son. They were able to stop her labor with medications and place her on bed rest in hopes she could carry this strong little boy for three more weeks.

She was 22 weeks and three days when her labor started again, unable to be stopped. This was on 12.12.12. Our little grandson was born at 5:17pm and tried desperately to take his first breaths, but to no avail. There was no way to save him.

Yesterday, we attended a service to lay his little body to rest, to give us closure and to tell him good-bye ourselves. Our son and daughter-in-law were so strong where I was so weak. I watched them from time to time, their expressions and their silent tears. They held hands, clinging to each other in this time of crisis. I tried my best to draw strength from them but I dried my own tears many times throughout the day. While I was in front of them, I swallowed my grief as I longed to hold that little boy in my arms, and lent them what support I possibly could.

My father-in-law said a very touching prayer, barely able to contain the tears that begged to spill forth. He choked his way through and I could feel such love from this man. He is a great example and father, not to mention an amazing grandfather. He taught me that it is okay to grieve, that everyone in that room felt the same as I did. It was okay.

A man spoke to us and told us what a strong spirit this little one had. He taught me to extend my faith and feel this young baby’s presence around me. Although I never “knew” him, I still feel a bond with him. 

Taking this baby to the cemetery made me think heavily upon my own family. Having a large one between my husband and I, reflected on what I would change if I had that opportunity. My family is the most important thing to me and yet, I found I have regrets. Many of them. Knowing I will never see this child in this lifetime, I thought of how incredibly lucky I am to have such a clan of healthy and happy people. To place any of them into the ground would devastate me, probably even more so than our grand baby did for I have a relationship with them all in some capacity.

I have taken so much for granted all of my life. Yesterday’s events made me all the more pressed to improve relations with those that have become strained, to spend more quality time with my children at home, and to appreciate them for every gift they present to me through life.

I can never let those feelings fade. This circumstance has left me feeling raw and vulnerable. I pray I never heal and forget, but that I take my wounds and cover them with the love and support of my family that is here with me. To use it as an amplifier, not a reason to cry. I know that little boy would not want me to be sad for him, although that doesn’t always help. But to take that severe sorrow and turn it to love and tolerance within our family would make him proud.

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