Today my youngest son turned 4 years old. We had his birthday party yesterday. It seemed very appropriate. For my family, the dates of April 26 and April 27 will forever be linked. One day of enormous grief. Followed by one day of overwhelming joy. Neither experience ever truly free of the other.
Today’s blog entry is a guest piece written two years ago by my wife, Jessica. It’s really her story to tell anyway — a daughter to one, a mother to the other, the only physical link between the two.
You came to us very early on a Tuesday morning almost, as if, on the wind. We had planned your birth for hours later, but you were operating on someone else’s timing. That Someone carried you to us with the same arms that had carried your Papa home just hours earlier. Still trying to catch our breath from his loss, we blinked our eyes and you were here.
I started having contractions on Monday night, but they seemed irregular. But around 2:30 a.m., I knew that everything was becoming more intense very quickly. I woke your daddy and we left for the hospital, arriving there around 3:15. I was overwhelmed by all the nurses, who moved so quickly and tenderly. They determined that I was already dilated seven centimeters. I told them I was to be induced at 5:00, but I hadn’t been trying to wait and be a hero! I was so worried that I would not get my epidural, but the anesthesiologist thankfully arrived in time, and by 4:30, Dr. Babin was there and we got ready to wait awhile. My blood pressure began dipping, and I got pretty nauseous, so she decided that it was time to have you.
The next part, Simon, is the part that I play over and over in my mind. There I was . . . surrounded by all these nurses, your daddy and your Gigi at my side, and everything was calm. So incredibly calm. Dr. Babin got everything ready and told me that we would wait for a contraction. I felt no pain, and I was completely aware that I was about to welcome my last baby . . . my precious son. One push . . . another . . . and one final push, and out you came. So gently, so softly. And we could see you and hear your cry, and you were perfectly perfect.
I struggle to describe the peace of that moment. I have never felt so vulnerable and, yet, so powerful all at the same time. And I guess that delivery room became the place where God’s grace was so present and His peace so palpable that I am humbled to even recall it. You slipped into our lives just as my daddy had slipped away, and there was only peace. No pain. No struggle. Only the pushing and pulling of the Spirit toward new life.
I’d like to think that Papa was the first to meet you, Simon. And maybe, in some strange way, you will remember him . . . his voice . . . his touch . . . and remember that he loved you even as he was leaving you. Your birth and his death will always be knit together, and we all will treasure you because you became our joy in the midst of sorrow.
My son, I am so glad you were born. May you read these words and know that you were loved from the very beginning, and that Love will still be there in the end.