Samuel Evan, my first child, was born on April 14th, 2012. He is the son RaeAnne and I had been wanting for a long time, and he came as a welcome surprise in our lives. He was quite active during pregnancy, and the ultrasound technicians often had a difficult time getting a good picture. He waved at us on the first ultrasound image. I knew right then I would never be the same as before. I already knew that when RaeAnne told me the news, but that really made it sink in. As he grew, we really got to know him as well as we could. We talked and read and even sang to him each night. He knew the sound of our voices and I'm told he would often move or kick when he heard me.
He now lives in Heaven with Jesus. As the blocks with the letters of his name say on the top of them, he "grew his wings" about 4 hours after being born on a rainy, stormy Saturday night. We had prayed for his healing for 5 months after learning of a condition that existed in his abdomen that could not be corrected. We received his diagnosis from the doctors at Mayo Clinic (Methodist) in Rochester, MN, and if there was anything that could be done to fix the issue with his bladder, it would have been done there by some of the best doctors in the world. But after about a week of ultrasounds, amniotic procedures, and lab tests, we were told there was nothing they could do. So we put his life in God's hands and we prayed. But our request was not granted.
The last 6 months have been a blur of emotions stronger than any I have ever experienced. Intense sadness and depression mixed with numbness and shock and tears have combined to make most things in life seem irrelevant. I'm walking through a darkness that I can't see the end of, and I know there is light somewhere up in the distance. But there are also plenty of obstacles in this darkness, and it's like being lost in a deep, dark forest where you can't see the end in any direction but you know it's there somewhere. That last part is paraphrased from a book I'm reading called A Grace Disguised by Jerry Sittser, and I've found it to be very true.
Our dreams of raising our precious baby boy are shattered, and we are left with his things and his ashes while trying to pick up the pieces. We don't know what to do, but somehow we make it through each day without him. Grief is exhausting. Sometimes I wonder how I get out of bed in the morning. But there is hope, since I know I will see him again and someday get to share with him all the things that I couldn't on this side of Heaven.
As I held my Samuel in the NICU after he died, I believe that God was also holding him in His arms at that same time. As I laid his body down and eventually walked out of that room, I knew I had left a piece of me in that room that I could never get back.
I love you Samuel, and I always will. I will never stop missing you. But I know that you are the lucky one. But I will never stop missing you. Thank you for fighting to the end so that we had 8 very memorable months with you.