Saturday, February 20, 2010

Fourth Anniversary


An event has happened, upon which it is difficult to speak, and impossible to remain silent.
~Edmund Burke

I am sad and heartsick. 4 years ago today my first born child died in my arms. He took his last breath. I held him as the last breath of life left his body. At the moment of his death, it was as if everything stopped. Everything in the Universe just stopped to witness the death, the passage, of this one little baby boy. Time stopped, the whirlings of the planets paused, for a split second that lasted forever--for an instant, and for an age, that is still stretching out somewhere inside of me--like the spaces between atoms--impossibly small and at the same time incredibly immense--everything, everything...stopped. My breathing, my heart, too, it seemed, stopped—but then, unlike my baby boy, my lungs involuntarily took in a gasp of air to remind my living body that it needs to breathe. Time began again. Theo was dead. I held him, his father held him. We bathed him, took his g-peg out, we dressed the area, dressed him, wrapped him in blankets and just held him. For a long time. Not long enough.
Taking him outside to the big car the funeral home sent over to pick him up, handing him over to the man who placed his little body on the stretcher—a tiny, child sized stretcher—how sad that have those—was the hardest thing I have ever done. Throughout all of my journey with Theo, the pain and exhaustion of a 36 hour labor, the confusion and fear of not knowing what was wrong the day he got sick, through the diagnosis, the surgeries, the chemo, the dashing of hopes of recovery, through the days and nights of waiting, praying, crying, the months of his dying, holding him as he breathed his last, through all of that-- giving his little body over to the funeral home man was the hardest thing. I had to turn away as the car drove off down the cold, dark street on that quiet, frozen February night. Through it all, of all the things I watched, all the things I saw, all that I faced and did not turn away from, never thought of turning away, through all of it—that was the one thing I could not bear to watch. I could not watch the big black car bear his body away from me. Later, at the funeral home, I wanted to see, and insisted on seeing his body, arranging his body myself in the tiny casket, his blanket, his toys, the pictures, the rosary, all the little things we placed with him. I was anxious and afraid that seeing his body would be terrible. But I was surprised (and also not surprised) that I felt relief when I walked into the too-bright fluorescent filled room and saw that the body lying there on the stainless steel table, was not Theo. It was the much loved and cared for body that had so very recently held Theo's bright spirit, but Theo was no longer inside it. That much was clear to me. The pain of his absence and the presence of the clear evidence of his death, was agonizing. But I knew without a doubt that Theo had gone on. I hope and pray--though my praying is very different than it used to be--that he is near, that he sees me, that he watches over us, that he is with me, with his father, with his little sister, with his grandmother and with his grandfather, and with others who love him. I hope he sees us and spreads his love over us all. I believe he is peaceful, that he is wiser and full of grace and love and that he is something greater than I could ever imagine. This is how I imagine him to be. But he is my son and my heart aches for him and wants him to be here with me.

I love you Theo, I miss you.

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

I am so sorry. You must have really loved your baby boy, he was adorable. I cried when I read this. Theo was a beautiful child... I didn't know him, but I mourn with you. After learing of Theo, the world feels a little colder. May Theo rest in peace

xaismama83 said...

I'm so sorry for the loss of your little man. I recently lost my son to stillbirth and although that has almost taken my soul, I can't imagine losing him after knowing him for any amount of time. I see that you visited hollywood cemetery and I also go there to clear my head. Theo was a beautiful boy and I know he is in heaven watching over you and your family.

Heather Bogolyubova said...

Theo looks so much like my little boy Luka. My heart is broken wide open reading your story. I am not a religious person, and I don't know if I even believe in God, but I truly hope that there is a place where you can someday hold your sweet baby again.