A Sweet Surprise
You struck like lightning out of a clear blue sky. Before you, your mama prayed and prayed for a baby. Many fertility treatments and prayer chains and negative pregnancy tests later, your brother was conceived. But you? You were a snow day in June. A winning lottery ticket found face-up on the ground. You were a perfect surprise, unexpected but very much wanted, discovered about a year after your brother was born. While your big bro’s life was very much planned and calculated, you sat quietly in your mama’s tummy for weeks, a wrapped present waiting to be found. You were a little red bird tweeting softly outside a window, saying, “Here I am, Mama. God knew you needed me.”
I won’t say that I love you as if you are my own son. I could never feel the depths of loss and love that your mama and daddy have felt since you’ve left. But I love you and your family as if they are my own blood. And in that, I’ve discovered that at the very core of earth-shattering grief is mind-blowing, transformative love. And little boy, you have that in spades. I don’t know of many humans on this planet that are loved as much as you and your brother. The weight of your loss is felt with gravitas daily because your life was so cherished. Your family and circle of friends were so desperate for you. It is the height of injustice that you aren’t with us anymore, but for the three minutes you lived outside of your mama, I am grateful. I am grateful that the world had the blessing of you, even for a tiny bit of time. You were a whirlwind. The love we have for you has changed all of us.
A Change in Course
When I say you’ve changed us all, I mean it. As a matter of fact, here’s a secret that I haven’t told your mama. She thinks that I am changing careers to become a nurse because of the experience I had when my little boy was sick in the hospital. But that’s not entirely accurate. I started thinking about becoming a nurse when my son was sick; that’s true. But it was only a pipe dream. A fantasy, at best. Then you showed up. You were born just a little too early. Your short life convinced me to fully redirect the course and purpose of mine.
A Life’s Purpose
The week you were born, I called a hospital to volunteer to rock NICU babies. I wanted to do something to honor your life. The hospital never called me back, so I did the next logical thing I could think of: I went to an open house at a nursing school. A few weeks after that, I signed up to start my pre-requisite classes to become a nurse. Buddy, your life made me want to work to give little boys and girls just like you a chance to live. Thank you for that.
Hope for the Future
Science has come so far in such a short time. As the years go on, modern medicine has found new ways to save babies born at earlier and earlier stages. I have faith that one day, a baby born at exactly the same gestational week as you will live a long life. I might cry when that happens; both for the life you could have lived and for the fact that another little someone as special as you will have a chance to grow up.
Baby, your life was filled with love and purpose, from top to bottom. For your family and friends, the grief of losing you is a moving, shifting tsunami that swells and recedes from day to day. But your little life has equipped us with the strongest of sails to navigate those dark waters: the power of our love for you. Your mama and daddy captain this ship with such grace, but every day is challenging. Please send them a rainbow to help guide their way.
We love you forever,
Your Mama’s Bestie