Our first grandchild was born, and died, in January 2004. His name was Joshua. He lived only a few hours, because he was born so prematurely. Through an odd twist of coincidences, I happened to be visiting my daughter and her husband when this occurred; they lived about 4000 miles away.
I had gone to visit her because she was confined to bed rest in the hospital, and her days were long and, I’m sure, lonely. So I traveled there, and each day I’d stop and get her some breakfast, take it to her, and then we would spend the day talking, relaxing. I’d push her around the hospital in her wheelchair, since she needed to keep movement to a minimum. Until Josh’s birth, it had been the best time we had spent together in years. Though there were plenty of fireworks between us during her teenage years, that has all been left behind.
The night she began to have labor pains – at about 26 weeks – it had been a very easy day, and after her dinner, she and her husband and I were just chatting in her hospital room.
Josh was born around 7:00 AM the following day. He was in peril from the beginning. The medical team was so focused on him; it seemed like 8 to 10 of them were clustered around her in the delivery room. In spite of all of their efforts, though…when their efforts seemed to be making no progress, the chief of medicine came out to tell her husband and me: it was time to let Josh pass in peace.
We entered the L&D room; Josh was unhooked from the many monitors and other devices to which he had been attached; and was laid in his daddy’s arms. Sad moments.
I am not able to think of him without tearing up. Though I knew him for only a few hours, I miss the little guy, and think of how wonderful it would be to have a grandson now. But I know the medical team gave it their ultimate effort, and have always believed they made the right call.
Josh is buried in Missouri, quite a distance from where we lived. But we visited him this summer, and I made a vow that I would get out there at least once each year to visit him, as long as I am able.
It seems that the only way I can sometimes get past these thoughts is to journal them. I offer this journal for that purpose.
Remember to love those around you, and let them know it; while you can, as often as you can, for as long as you can.