Well, in good news, George smiles at just about everything. Seriously.
Silas has begun singing along to his "Truck Tunes" songs in a falsetto voice in the backseat, all while wearing his superfly shades. Because he hasn't mastered long sentences though, he simply mumbles jargon in a really high pitch with an occasional emphasized "BACKHOE TODAY!" or "FORKLIFT BOOGIE!"
I somehow can't believe it has been a whole week since Aiden passed away. Only now do I feel as though I have stepped out of my 'fraidy hole and am looking up to the warm sun through tear-dried eyes. Aiden's death filled me with anguish, if you couldn't tell by the last two posts. I grieved more deeply and intensely for Aiden than I have for most of the deaths of people I have actually known. Over the past few days though, my grief has transformed from feelings of hopelessness and tears to mobilization, to a sense of "how can I help? How can I keep this from happening again?" Aiden's aunt Sarah, who runs both the 50 for Aiden and Pertussis: One is Enough pages, seems to have processed her grief through action all along, and finally I am at the stage where I can join her in this effort. Raising awareness about pertussis vaccinations will take a few different approaches in my life, at least two of which you will have to wait for. One will be a post co-authored by BJ and me in which we discuss the debunking of the vaccination-autism myth, which continues to be a reason why parents do not vaccinate their children. We're currently working on this piece and I would like to have it up by the weekend. I've also begun the word-of-mouth education to parents and grandparents I know, asking them if they are aware that they need to get themselves vaccinated for pertussis. Somehow this isn't common knowledge in Oklahoma, or in lots of places in the United States, which is why the CDC estimates that 92% of adults have not received their pertussis boosters. Unfortunately, it is believed that Aiden was infected with whooping cough by an unvaccinated adult.
My love for Aiden is complicated and difficult to explain. No one has actually pointed a finger at me and said, "You didn't even know this baby! He was only the friend of a friend! What's your problem?" Still, I find myself rationalizing why his illness and death impacted me to the point that it did, and honestly I have no answer. I'm a mother, I have a young child and an infant, and when I look at them I know how much I have to lose. But it's something more than that. I know that Aiden and his situation brought me to my knees in prayer far more often than I have been known to pray in recent years...and yet, it was a different kind of prayer. As my friend Cyndi eloquently stated, "...Mainly we Christians tend to pray...for the circumstances in our life
to change. Whether it's about a health problem, financial, relational,
etc. We're suffering, afraid, worried, and we want God to change our
circumstances. But I think God is mainly interested in changing US." I've thought a lot about the prayers that I lifted for Aiden and what kind of effect these prayers may have had on ME; my soul-searching has led me to the notion that I cannot pray for someone so passionately and relentlessly without coming to love (and miss) that person so passionately and relentlessly. Somehow, I have profoundly felt the void that his tiny little body created when he left this Earth. I have learned other lessons this past week as well:
Be grateful for what and who you have in your life. Life can be ridiculously unfair. God provides peace. There is nothing as awful as a broken heart. Thousands of people (especially Oklahomans, I'm convinced!) can truly come together in the wake of tragedy. And last but certainly not least, your best friends and family can blow your mind with their amazing generosity during your grief. I can't tell you how many wonderful phone calls I got from my best friends, which helped since BJ was out of town all week. My mother-in-law strategically kept me busy on fun errands out of the house with the boys and her. My mom cooked for us dinner one night, and Chanda and Landon cooked for us on another. People close to me let me vent and cry, accepting no apology for the out-of-place tears at work or in public, and people asked me directly about Aiden rather than sweeping the issue under the rug like something to avoid. For all of these things, I am thankful. Also, a thank you for those who pitched in for support on Silas' cut tongue, which was a real doozy and required round the clock Tylenol and pureed foods for a few days. (In this picture, the coloration makes it look infected but it's really not.)