I just thought I would post and let everybody know how we're doing. I just finished copying and pasting all the previous entries and comments into a separate word file on our computer in case anything happens to the blog. While I was doing that, I read through all the comments-- and some of the previous posts--all the way back from the beginning. Some of my posts really just broke my heart. Ones where I was so hopeful, where I recorded that I saw his eyes focus on me (which I did) and where I said "Yay! He's sucking!" He only sucked a tiny bit that day, but it was enough to inspire hope that I would be able to feed him again. Looking back, I just got exhausted reliving all that, even in the space of 45 minutes or so, and only scanning it. Skipping through, being struck by certain phrases, certain moments in time. I was also really touched once again by so many of the comments throughout this whole past six months. I don't know how many of you realized that Theo left us on February 20, 2006, exactly 6 months to the day from when we first went into the hospital on August 20, 2005.
It seems like years ago and in some ways, just like last week. Of the more recent comments, I noted one posted by a girl I haven't seen since high school --- now a woman with her own children --- who was worried by posting a comment as his funeral was starting that she might be in some way invading our privacy. I thought about that and although I have mentioned and thought many times about the many who have followed Theo's and our story through this blog, I really have no idea how many people have really come to know us through this. How many people I have allowed up to the window of our lives. And how there is no way that Kelly could invade our privacy when I voluntarily opened the shades for the world to see in. It started just as a quick way to notify people of the situation and then to update everyone on how he was doing day-to-day without having to send out several emails or take or make so many calls. But it turned into something else, something that has helped me personally in so many ways--sharing my thoughts, even when I have kept much of my private thoughts and pain inside... I have shared a great deal, letting unseen, unknown tens, hundreds, maybe even thousands, for all I know, into our little world. This chronicle has been healing to me, helping me to maintain some objectivity and at the same time explore my feelings, hurts, questions, fears. It has allowed me to share my wonderful baby's life with so many people, all of whom deserve to know him, or at least know of him. And he deserves to be known. And above all, I hope our story might help other people who might be experiencing similar nightmares, or who have done so in the past. I want to continue to write about how we are moving through this next stage of our grief and pain, for all those same reasons.
Yesterday I took the original draft of the "Theo and the Baby Angels" story handwritten by my aunt Dolly with a sketch she drew of me and Theo, to be matted and framed. A man named Ned, who had helped me the day we were leaving to go out of town for the funeral by on-the-spot framing a picture of a dragonfly with Theo's name in the wings (created by my friend Lisa) was there to help me again. I reminded him who I was and he asked how I was doing. He looked at me very seriously, paused, and said, "You never get over it." I told him I didn't think I would. With tears in his eyes, Ned told me about his son Christopher, who was born January 13, 1971 and who died of a vascular problem on February 2, just two short weeks after his birth. We talked, and I was so thankful that he shared his story with me. There are so many people who have lost their babies, who still miss their children, who still feel the hole left in their lives every single day. I hope that Theo's story and our story can somehow help people to know that they are not alone. And help other people who know families who have lost a child, something of what it's like.
As I said before, grief comes in waves. I went to the grocery store yesterday and it seemed there were children and babies on every aisle. And I swear they were looking right at me, directly into my eyes, and they looked as though they knew that I was a mommy without her baby. They looked kindly at me, with love. They made me feel very sad, but somehow comforted and even though I did get teary eyed, and cried a little in the spice aisle, I was ok. Some things make me cry a lot, others don't. Yesterday, the big trigger was a picture we took of Theo just a few weeks ago. He was smiling in his sleep. I loved that he smiled sometimes in his sleep. Jamie sometimes would stand over him with a camera while he slept hoping to catch that fleeting little smile that lit up his sleeping face, just for a moment. Those brief smiles meant to me--to both of us--that he had happiness, he had good, sweet dreams and in them, he was happy. Some way, even with a nearly completely damaged brain, he was able to have lovely, happy dreams and to smile in his sleep. That one photo made me cry yesterday every time I looked at it. Yet I couldn't seem to keep my eyes from it.
And I wondered this morning when I woke up, how many mornings until my first thought is not, "My child is dead"? But we are able to laugh sometimes and love each other, be there for each other. We enjoy moments through the day, especially ones we can share. I am so thankful to have Jamie. He is a wonderful father and a wonderful partner. He took such good care of Theo and he is taking good care of me.
I am very grateful that we had the time we had with Theo. I can only imagine the great pain of parents who wake to find their baby dead in the crib of SIDS or the parents whose child dies suddenly in an accident or the untold horror of the family who may not even know where their child may be, whether she is alive or dead, or a family who knows for certain their child died a violent, malicious death.
We have been fortunate in many ways. We had sacred, peaceful, love filled times with Theo even in the midst of pain and suffering, ours and his. At least we had that.
But the pain of losing our child, no matter the cause, as Ned shared, will be with us the rest of our lives.
Thank you again for all the love and care--the cards, flowers, gifts, support, everything you have all done to help us. Nothing has gone unappreciated. I will continue to post our story. I will share my letter to Theo and details of his memorial service dates and such. Please check back.