Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Your siblings.

When they told us your lungs would need 2 more chest tubes, on top of the 1 already in place, we realized that your body was failing you quickly.  It was Wednesday afternoon & we had planned to have your sister and brothers come down and meet you on Friday.  With them being a state away we realized there wasn't enough time to have them come and meet you...so we decided to hold you right away, while your eyes were still open.

Occasionally I have replayed that decision, knowing that we made the right choice in the moment - though wishing things could have been different, in many ways - wishing that Caroline, Jackson & Ryan could have met you in person.  I am still sad we will never get a true family picture.

They know of you, we talk of you daily, pray to you daily.  We don't really pray for you...as we know you are perfect now & Heaven.  So we talk to you, include you in our family.

Your siblings have saved me, I think.  In the obvious ways but also in the subtle ways.  With that said - their presence & love has not mitigated the pain your absence brings me.  Sometimes it adds painful dynamics to grief, actually.  So this post is me reflecting upon parenting 3 little children while grieving you.

Ryan still being a baby when you died saved me.  I could still say I had a baby, and it be genuine in some regard.

Caroline drawing countless pictures for you or that included you saved me.

Jackson offering to go to Heaven and bring you back so I would no longer have to be sad - so sweet and sad.

Finding Caroline reading We were going to have a baby, but we had an angel instead - breaks my heart.

Listening to the laughter of an 11-month-old, 2-year-old and 4-year-old - saved/saves me.

Jackson pretending he had babies in his belly - 8 blue babies to be precise (his favorite color & number).  But this pretend play ending with "but my babies didn't die.  Not like your's." - terribly sad.

Jackson telling me randomly, "Ethan's not dead Mom.  He's alive," referencing that you are alive in Heaven - saved me.

Having Caroline bring butterfly drawings home drawn by school friends who she has told about her dead baby brother - are their words for that?  Simultaneously beautiful & sad.

Jackson yelling hello to you as you visit us as a butterfly - saves me.

Hearing Jackson tell Ryan to get away from a staircase because "you can't fall down and die like Ethan." - so sad.

All 3 of your siblings demanding that I get out of bed each morning, make them 3 meals a day, countless snacks, take them outside, play with them, and on and on.  They demanded I keep living  - saves me & taxes me.  Keeps me moving through my depression, though doesn't allow me the time I need, when I need it, to focus on my grief.

I know how blessed I am, to have 3 living children.  To not wonder whether I will ever parent a living child at home.  Many parents whose babies have died wonder this very thing, if their losses were their firstborn.  But this blessing isn't without complicated dynamics.  Instead of wondering that, I wonder if my children will remember when mom was depressed, crying so often, when mom was "just missing your baby brother Ethan."  I wonder.

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