Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Goodbye, Aiden

It's amazing how the lapse of time begins healing a grieving heart. Yesterday was one of the more miserable days of my life; I could hardly stop crying. Yet today I am able to type these words without tears. Almost. Last night by the time I put my babies to bed I was simply going through the motions numbly; it seemed even experiencing positive emotions somehow doubled back on itself to anguish.

Yesterday Baby Aiden passed into Heaven as he was removed from life support.

There were solitary moments yesterday when my heart wanted to stop with his. Somehow, though, the world keeps moving and we keep on living, even though a seven-week-old baby has been taken from us by a disease that should have been eradicated. I have never lost a child, but to a small extent I can imagine the pain of his mother Kristen, and that is part of what makes this all so awful. Years ago I thought I knew what grief was, but I was naive. These last three years of life have introduced me to grief associated with the sudden tragic death of an 18-year-old cousin, the diagnosis and course of illness with Owen, a friend's repeated miscarriages, the loss of the Hamill boys in the Piedmont tornado last year, and now this. I am a mother, and mothers as well as mothers-at-heart understand this: I have experienced each of these more profoundly than I personally could have experienced them before. Children suffering and being lost is something else. THIS is grief.  Aiden's family seems to be handling this beautifully, relying on their faith and their interpersonal support network to make it through, and for that I admire them.

The loss of Aiden resonates with me deeply and inspires me to say a few things:
To my family and friends, I love you. Loss renews the need for me to say that all over again, although I like to think that I say it frequently as it is. To my three boys, I love you the most. You have the best of me, and I pledge that now and for always. To the world, please get your pertussis vaccination and save a life; adults need boosters too! Young babies like Aiden depend on you to be healthy as they have no immune system themselves. And to Aiden, I love you and I somehow feel your absence already, even though I never held you. You make me want to be a better person so that I can make it to Heaven with you and meet you there. BJ and I have decided to plant a tree in our backyard, and we'll call it the Aiden Tree, and we'll tell our kids all about you as they grow. You have been part of Silas' prayers at bedtime and will continue to be, dear baby. And finally, I'm sorry that life here on Earth wasn't better for you.

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