WARNING: this blog post contains content that may be hard for some to read regarding the topic of child loss. I encourage you to be cautious before reading this if this is a topic that triggers certain intense emotions for you. with that being said I understand that this post isn’t easy for anyone to read regardless of their life experiences, but I am hopeful you are able to find the beauty in it that I was, and are able to take something away from it.
“but God needed him more”…..I continued to tell myself as I drove to what I knew was going to be an experience so far beyond what words could ever explain, far beyond what my emotions have ever felt before….”but God needed him more”……and I hoped it was true, and I had to believe it was true, because that was the only way I could ever begin to make sense of what I was about to experience.
I walked the halls feeling lost, I wasn’t physically lost, but rather emotionally. I didn’t understand how this could happen to anyone, yet alone someone I loved and called a friend. I mean I knew, I know that this happens, but I suppose it’s one of those things that I, and that we as a society, tend to tuck away, to turn our heads from, not because we don’t know that it happens because we do, but to think about the possibility and the reality of it happening is just well, painful. And so I walked the halls, and I felt lost…..
As I approached the door I took a deep breath, I muttered those words again “but God needed him more”…. I felt a sense of peace and calming wash over me, and I stepped foot into the room. The scene I had prepared myself for was anything but that. I was immediately greeted with an overwhelming sense of love, I knew I was in the right room but my heart did a double take, how could this be the right place, how did these people have so much strength, a kind of strength I was blind to. The room was full, in fact I had never seen a hospital room so full until then. I was hugged and greeted in a way I had yet to ever experience. Strangers that were family to my dear friend embraced me in the way they did their own. And then my eyes found my beautiful friend, and she was radiating beauty in a way I can’t begin to describe to you. The hurt I could only begin to know she was going through, and the pain I could only begin to know she was going through, but yet she radiated beauty.
And then my eyes found baby Drew, I couldn’t see his face but I could see his little body swaddled up in a blanket, with his little blue hat as his auntie cuddled him. “Would you like to hold him?” she asked. Of course I did, how could I not. After all, my sweet friend had given me the title of Auntie Mer so many months ago to this little bundle of joy, how could I pass up an opportunity, my only opportunity ever, to hold him. She placed his tiny self into my arms and my heart melted. Goosebumps covered every inch of my skin, and I felt the hair stand up on my arms. He was beautiful, no he was more than beautiful, he was perfect. “but God needed him more”…I whispered in my head. I rubbed each of his little fingers and toes, my hands gliding over his soft cheeks, his perfect little nose, and those sweet lips. I didn’t want to let go, and I didn’t want to think about the reality that stood behind this moment, the reason that put me in this place after all. I wasn’t supposed to be there that day, my friend wasn’t even supposed to be there that day, it wasn’t time, and yet here we were. And letting go of his sweet fingers and toes, that made it real, and maybe I was being selfish and wanting to feel his sweet skin just a little longer, or maybe I was just in awe that I had even been given the chance to get to love on him.
After I was certain I had loved every inch of little Drew there was to love, I knew it was time to begin what I had been brought there for. I handed baby Drew over to his momma, and I took out my camera, and I got to work. Capturing every image I possibly could. Creating as many memories as I possibly could, so that when it was time for my friend to say goodbye, she would have something to hold on to, something to remember. I took pictures as aunties and uncles, cousins, and friends, near and dear, loved on this sweet boy that was brought into the world that morning. They kissed his little nose, and they held his tiny hands, and it was beautiful. And then it was time for me to meet Dream, his twin sister. We walked down the hall to the NICU, and tucked away in a tiny crib, all bundled up, and sleeping soundly was baby Dream. And she was beautiful, she was sheer joy and perfection, a true miracle right in front of my eyes.
And then probably the most beautiful moment of that evening occurred. Baby dream was unwrapped from her cocoon, unhooked from her tubes and cords, and her sweet twin brother Drew was placed beside her. I held back tears as I watched her reach out to hold his skin, I could feel the peace I knew she felt being reunited with the person she had spent the last seven months with in her mommas belly. But as the peace washed over me, so did the pain, knowing that this moment I had been so lucky to be a part of was likely Dreams last of its kind. I took as many pictures as I possibly could. It was only fifteen minutes of time but it felt like an hour. The nurses helped me position and reposition the babies so that I could get the perfect shots, ones that I could leave with this momma to remember forever. I listened as their sweet grandma sang to them, and I watched as Dream wrapped her fingers around her brothers hand. I hoped that this moment would fill her with enough love to carry her through the rest of her life, that maybe somehow she would be able to remember the peace and comfort of her brothers presence. It was beautiful, and just when I thought it couldn’t get anymore beautiful it did.
We walked the babies down the hall and back to the room where their momma was recovering from all the hard work she had gone through that morning, and we placed her two sweet babies on her chest, and away I went with the camera. Making sure I didn’t miss a single moment, because this moment right here, this moment was the last moment she would have with both of her babies on her chest, and oh my goodness was it the most beautiful moment I have ever been blessed to be a part of.
When it was all said and done and the babies were loved on, and the pictures had been taken, it was time for me to pack my things and head home. After having spent two of the most beautiful hours of my life I gave my hugs and walked back down the hospital halls. My mind full of so many thoughts, but mostly it was just full of peace. A kind of peace my words will never begin to explain to you, and no matter how hard I try, they just won’t happen, because it isn’t possible to string together the right ones.
But I will leave you with this instead:
Somewhere tucked away in some hospital room, there is a mother. Maybe a new mother, or a mother who has been a mother before, but none the less a mother. And after waiting months and months, carrying and learning to love this child she will bring into the world, her heart will be shattered. Her expectations and her realities will not align and match. And she will do the one thing a mother never hopes to do, to outlive her child. And she will grieve, and amidst her grief she will try to remain strong and positive. And she will remind herself of every quote in the world, and she will plead to god, but none of that will help, because she has lost her child. Somewhere there is a mother that will have to pack her hospital room up, and head home without the one thing she came to the hospital for; her baby. Somewhere there is a mother, who may not physically have her child with her today, but she will always be a mother. And how she chooses to wear that honor is entirely up to her. And how she chooses to grieve is entirely up to her. Her title of mother will never go away, even though her baby may have. Her love for her child will never go away, even though her child has.Somewhere on this earth, there is a mother who has lost a child, and she is strong, and beautiful, but tired, and broken, but amazing nonetheless. Today that mother happens to be my friend.
To my friend, and all the other mothers grieving the loss of a child; we see you, we hear your cries, and we are here for you…..
In loving memory of baby Drew, may his short presence and love be strong enough to feel even on the darkest days.
***I am happy to share baby Dream is growing stronger everyday and will hopefully be home soon and reunited with her mommy. I thank my sweet friend for allowing me to be a part of her story, and allowing me to help share it.