Big Brother

A few days after we returned home from Theo’s funeral, one of his nurses came by for a visit. We sat in our family room, the room that was previously home to Theo’s crib, equipment, medication and dressing supplies. The same room where we had held our beautiful boy for the last time, just one week before.

I feel lost, I remember telling her. For the last 7 months, Theo had been the sole focus of our family. Every ounce of our energy and time was devoted to his care. Now he’s gone, and we are two parents without a purpose and without a child.

She reminded us that for the last 7 months, we had been living a life inconceivable to most. Mark and I had normalized it because we had no other choice. And though we would still trade every ounce of normalcy to have him back, Theo’s illness consumed every aspect of our lives which revolved around nursing shifts, around the clock medication, daily dressing changes, social isolation, and the intense anxiety of knowing that at any point, we would have to say goodbye to our little boy.

Her advice to us was this: rest. Take this time to rest physically and emotionally.

I realized that, as the shock of Theo’s passing was starting to wear, I needed time to be quiet and still. And I did just that. I detached myself from most of the world so I could quietly grieve my son and rest my heart. When I use the word rest, I’m not referring to a repose from mourning, quite the opposite actually, a time to just be. A time to let the stillness of grief replace the former restlessness that defined our lives.

But now I’ve found myself being drawn back to my writing as I navigate this complex grieving process, and I wanted to start with an announcement.

Our sweet Theo is a big brother. A week and a half after we laid our first son to rest, we welcomed our second.

Babies born after child loss are often referred to as Rainbow Babies. This is quite befitting as the beauty of a rainbow does not negate the ravages of the storm yet in the midst of the darkness and clouds, it provides light and hope. Joy and sorrow dance daily as we grieve Theo’s loss and find happiness in our son, Frederick.

There are now two things that I always wear close to my heart. The first is Frederick, whom, as you can imagine, rarely leaves my arms. The second is an angel wing that I wear around my neck, of which Mark has an identical one. The pair made by the two was attached to the pocket of Theo’s jacket when we buried him.

“Oh my love will fly to you each night on angel’s wings…”

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9 comments

  1. Beautiful!!! That seems to be the only fitting thing to say! Beautiful words, beautiful thoughts, beautiful tribute and most of all a beautiful baby

  2. Once again the eloquence of your words have made me cry. You are a remarkable woman. I am so sorry for your loss, and so happy for you and your husband. Frederick is a lucky boy!

  3. So beautifully written and so emotionally honest. I wish you nothing but happiness moving forward and so much joy and giggles out of your little Frederick. Theo will forever be in my heart and as I hold my daughter each night, I pray for peace, happiness and health for all of you. You are the strongest woman I know and Frederick is one lucky boy to have you and Mark as his parents.

  4. Love and joy to your heart and peace and solace to your mind, sweet Momma. You have not had an easy path, yet you have walked it with courage, honesty and openness. That is extremely admirable. May you enjoy the newness of Frederick and all there is to discover each day. May you be comforted by his presence. And may you always, always know that you are loved. ❤

  5. Congratulations on your second born son. Your writing puts all of life into a perspective. The love of Theo will never diminish but love grows as we need it and Frederick will have the same kind and q2uality of love that Theo has. When I had my second daughter it amazed me that I could love her with the same wonder and intensity that I loved my first. |It was then than my Grandmother told me that love grows not splits.God bless you little famiy and keep Theo in his care

  6. Your entire story had re-shaped the way I’ve looked at and cared for my son for the past 6 months. Theo will always be the big brother and I hope that Frederick will bring some much needed joy and happiness to you both. Congratulations, he’s beautiful!

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