Friday, September 7, 2012

You'll never feel closer to God...

"You'll never feel closer to God than when you hold a baby who was born to die."

A wise woman said this to me about a month ago.  She had no idea my baby had just died, let alone that I had just had a baby.  I went 32 years without hearing such a statement, and then had this said to me 2 months after Ethan died in my arms.

My response:  "I know what you mean."

Have you ever had the gift, as sad as the circumstances may be, to be with someone when they died?  I had not until it was my son.  My sweet son Ethan.

Before I went into the room I prayed to God, asking him to grant me the Grace to be strong.  To grant me the peace to live in that very special moment, and make memories to last me my lifetime.  I asked him to allow me to appreciate the joyous moment of holding my son for the first time and to delay my grief by one more hour.  God granted me that gift, and I will be forever grateful.

When I look back at those pictures of me holding Ethan, I see a mother's pride in my eyes.  That's right, Ethan may have been born at just over 3 lbs under terrible circumstances, yet he was my son.  I was, and remain, damn proud to be Ethan's mom.  So I posed for that first (and last) picture of a mom holding their newborn.

I wasn't scared to be with Ethan when he died, hold him when he died.  I did ask his nurse Maryann and his respiratory therapist Richard to be nearby and answer any questions I might have as things progressed.

This past winter our cat, Pete, became quite sick and needed to be put to sleep.  I was anticipating being the one there when we did that, and was really worried and scared to be present when our pet died.  (It didn't work out that way as I was placed on bed rest the day it needed to happen)  I knew it was the right thing to do, but I was just anxious about the experience.  Yet here I was, removing life support from my own child and I was not nervous.  I was at peace with it.

I felt God's presence in that room, that NICU storage closet that had been cleared out for us.  Something holy was happening.  Maybe that is what people reference when they talk about the Holy Spirit.   We were not alone in that room.  As I held the gift that God gave me I knew that it was time to give him back to God.  Jesus is holding Ethan until I arrive and reclaim that job.

Being present at Ethan's death was a gift.  I do not fear death, for I have seen it in all of its beauty.  Of course I pray that when it comes time for me to walk that journey, that I will be comfortable, as Ethan was.  But I will not fear death itself, for I have someone to meet.  "You'll never feel closer to God than when you hold a baby who was born to die."  Amen.


  1. You have quite a gift for writing and sharing your experiences.. the blog is filled with beauty.

  2. Your grace and strength are amazing.