Thursday, January 7, 2010

a beautiful letter

this was posted by a woman on the preemie parenting forum i spend alot of my time on. its a letter written by her brother about her son bode who was born early. its just amazing...

My brother put this on facebook, he hasn't even met Bode in person yet. As I read it and cried I realized it's not really about just Bode, it's about all of our kids:)

Through Bode's Eyes

"We all see what we want to see. You have to look with better eyes than that!"

- "The Abyss"

The infant in the photo below is that of my nephew. My sister is a known 'photoholic', and nearly every picture she has taken has shown the same, non smiling face with that wide eyed, crazed look in his eyes. This is the same look one might get waking up after three days of nonstop partying to find yourself in an expensive Vegas hotel suite with three goats, two midgets, one blue horse, and Wayne Newton asleep in the bathtub, then wondering how you got there when you know the party started in New Jersey.

I initially thought that this expression had to do with his rather abrupt entry into this world. He wasn't quite done 'cooking', so to speak, but his warm and safe enclave suddenly became very cold and claustrophobic, so he promptly hit the eject button. Unfortunately, because his lungs hadn't fully developed yet, he quickly found out that he couldn't yet breathe. Modern medicine interceded on his behalf, and suddenly the little guy found himself attached to every piece of neonatal equipment known to man. Tubes, wires, machines that go beep! beep! beep!, blue lights, and a bed that was far less comfortable than his previous digs.

So began Bode's dance between this world and the next. It was now a waiting game for my sister and her husband, a moment by moment waiting game. They would repeatedly have to hear the worst eight words you can say to any parent: "He make not make it through the night". Suddenly your world gets very focused. Your whole sense of priorities shift, and getting the laundry done doesn't hold the same weight it did earlier. That trip to the mall, Christmas cards, the oil change on the way home. They don't mean a damn thing when your child is in danger of leaving this life.

Your world becomes of time, of the moment. How long is 'through the night' anyway? Five hours? Seven? You become intensely focused on every square inch of your child's ever so fragile form. You pray constantly to whatever god you follow in this life. You ask, you beg, you make deals. Anything to keep your child among the living. The night passes, dawn breaks, and he's still with you. You've survived the first hill of the roller coaster, but then you realize just how big a coaster it is that lies before you.

Your child is going to stay and dance awhile. One step forward, two back, and the like. Moments become hours, hours become days, days lead into weeks. Routine sets in. Your world expands as you come to know the hospital staff by more than just their nametags. You finally talk to another mother who's been there everyday like yourself and learn that her child is also dancing in their own fight for life. Suddenly it becomes a little less about you, and you discover that you're not as alone as you once thought.

Bode's dance expands the circle of souls that are touched. Time marches forward, a few more steps are taken, and the circle expands even farther outward. From a hospital in Pennsylvania to a small apartment in Massachusetts, Bode touches his uncle's rapidly crumbling selfish armor and knocks a few more holes into it. I reach out to my sister in my own creative way, and it gives her that little bit of added strength to make it through just one more day of not being able to hold her own son.

Eventually the energy shifts and prayers are answered as Bode steps further into this world. Medical equipment is removed one lifeline at a time, until finally he's just one short hernia operation away from being home by Thanksgiving. The holidays take on even greater meaning this year as Bode is welcomed fully into the fold, and a new routine sets in for my family. The routine of raising a normal, healthy child.

Now we're back to those photos of his big, wide eyes looking back at us, and upon reflection I discover the reason for his expression. It has nothing to do with fear, shock, pain, or concern. It's not a bit of negative energy at all.

It's joy.

Bode is gazing upon the unconditional joy found in everything that surrounds us. The trees, the sun, Christmas lights, new fallen snow, mom and dad, friends and family, and so on. He sees what we often miss as we move through this life, and he's still awestruck from the experience.

So maybe that's the reason for Bode's tumultuous journey into this world. Perhaps it was just his way of letting us know that we too should widen our own eyes a bit. We should allow some of that joy into our own hearts and souls. We should be awestruck.

My gift of strength to my sister and her husband were tee shirts I had made with the caption, "Bode Knows Birth". I'm now inclined to believe that Bode may know something about life, as well...

unfortunatley, there was no picture of bode at the end :( but i know just the look he speaks of

1 comment:

  1. Amen! I read this on the preemie board too and it was sooo gorgeous. You did a great job adding a picture of Devin at the end just brings it all together even more. I know that look too, and man I just want to cry again looking at Devin's eyes after re-reading that letter!