In memory of my son

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Tomorrow would have been our oldest son's 30th birthday. He was born on July 14, 1984, and died some 12 hours later. His name was Brian.

I have his little footprints framed on my dresser. I will be forever grateful to whoever took these, as well as to whoever took pictures of him. A thoughtful nurse also gave us the little yellow knit hat that he wore during his short life. Blessings to whoever knit it. Years later, when I was looking at it, I discovered a little brown hair of his inside the hat that I had never noticed before. It took my breath away.


The hospital where I had him had a tradition of serving a meal to both of the new parents, including champagne to celebrate. When someone hesitantly asked us what we wanted to do, we said "yes, we want to celebrate his life." And we ate and drank, thinking of what a wonderful gift his short life had been, how happy we had been.

Of course, I was still in shock at that time, and so much grief and anger and confusion would follow.

The hospital where I had him had asked if we wanted him to be baptized (we said yes) and they arranged a small funeral service for him. Several friends and family came. I was there in my bathrobe in a wheelchair, still hooked up to an IV pole. Because I had had a C-section I wasn't able to go to the cemetery with my husband when they buried him. It was a rainy day, and I still picture him there alone with the gravedigger.

I had been raised in a church-going family; my husband had not. We had no particular beliefs about God at all when we got married, even though we did get married in a church with a traditional Christian service.

I think the greatest gift that Brian gave us was the gift of faith. Through all the difficult questions that surfaced during our time of grieving, questions people have asked through the ages regarding suffering and evil, we were able to come out on the other side with a strong faith in the Christian God.

In the subsequent years we lost six more babies through miscarriage. Those times, too, tested our new-found faith and made it stronger. I thought of Peter, who was asked by Jesus, "will you too leave?" after some of His followers had abandoned Him, and when I, too, wondered about this God. "No, Lord, where would I go? You have the words of life."

There were times I did wonder what God was doing, but where else would I go? Who else loved me as much? Who else offered me as much hope? Who else faithfully walked with me through all the pain and heartache that this old, broken world can dish up? Who else promises to bind up the brokenhearted, to make all things new, and Who promises I will see my loved ones again? Yes, seven in heaven. I am looking forward to seeing all my dear ones.

Brian was the first of our ten children. Yes, the Lord blessed us with three beautiful children who lived, now 21, 23, and 27. They are treasures to us.

I think back to myself all those years ago, young, happy, and so proud of my little expanding belly. I remember walking downtown with my husband the first time I wore a maternity top (that was in the days before skin-tight t-shirts outlined the baby bump). "Do you think people can tell I'm pregnant?" I asked him, trying to push out the barely visible swell of my stomach. I wanted to share with everyone the exciting, wonderful news of this unbelievable miracle. And then how quickly it all turned, months later when I worried I hadn't felt him move, the anxious trip to the hospital, the doctor listening for a heartbeat, and then the frantic rush to the delivery room and an emergency C-section.

Beauty and happiness, then horror and disbelief. I lay there in the hospital afterwards, stunned and in shock, clutching a small doll from my childhood that I had asked my husband to bring from home. 

I think of the young woman I once was, and wish I could reach back and hold her, and whisper that everything was going to be okay, that the Lord can bring beauty out of ashes, a glad heart out of mourning.

Happy birthday, Brian. And thank you, dear son. One day we'll be rejoicing together.

46 comments :

  1. This brought me to tears, Deborah. I will be thinking of you tomorrow as you honor your first son. Bless you and your family.

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  2. Oh, Deborah, this is a beautiful, heart-tugging post and such an incredible testimony to the Lord and to the life of Brian. The promise of Heaven and eternal life with our loved ones is such a comfort.

    That Scripture passage of "Where would we go? Only you have the words of eternal life" has ministered to me greatly through the years. Like you, I've had a longing for children. I have 2 (22 and 24), but after child #2 the womb was closed (through no action on my part). I've sobbed, agonized, prayed, shaken my fist at God, and in the end come to the conclusion that He is my only hope and while I may not understand His plan, I CAN trust it.

    Thank you for sharing the story of Brian's too-brief life. I'm sure he is smiling down at you from Heaven.

    Love and blessings,
    Patti

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  3. I, too, am moved to tears. God bless you as you remember Brian on his birthday. Thank you for sharing your faith that the Lord never leaves us and helps us through such heartache.

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  4. Oh sweet friend, what a lovely and heart warming post you have done to celebrate your little boy's short life on this earth, cause our Lord wanted him ! I bet you always wonder how he would be at 30! You have an angel in heaven to watch out for all of you. Happy birthday to your angel sweet friend.
    Love,
    FABBY

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  5. Oh Debbie, I remember those years so well. Thank you for this reminder of eternal hope on this weekend when so many of us are grieving. Happy Birthday to your Brian-what a sweet reunion that will be!

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  6. What a wonderful tribute you write to your first son, Deborah. It is heart warming that little Brian, in his very short life, has brought so much to yours in later years. He would be so proud of his very special Mum. xx

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  7. Oh how precious are those wee footprints. This was a moving, poignant post with the best possible outcome for you and your precious family. There's going to be a grand reunion one day!

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  8. This is such a moving post, Deborah. How sweet those footprints are, and to have found that one hair - touchingly tender. Thanks be to God for his faithful love.

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  9. God certainly puts some people to the test and I'm glad you and your husband didn't give up. Your three miracles you must be proud of, and it's nice to remember Brian the way you have here with a tribute to him.

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  10. Brian would be so proud of this wonderful post you have written! xo

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  11. Oh Deborah.

    Your post evoked tears that are streaming out of my eyes. You have been through SO MUCH. But God has been by your side through each moment. What a wonderful testimony to His love and faithfulness you and your husband are.

    Little Brian's short life had its purpose and what a powerful one it was---to help you and your sweetheart find faith again.

    Thank you for sharing this poignant post. And Happy Birthday to Brian. What a celebration he must be having among the angels in heaven. Susan

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  12. I really enjoyed this post, Deborah, as you remember your first-born's birthday. What a lot of trials and heartaches the Lord has entrusted to you. Yet, you've come out shining, bringing so much glory to God. Loved hearing about your journey of faith!
    Mary Alice

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  13. So many tears. Hard to read through all that you have shared. You are an amazing person to be so positive with all you have gone through. I am happy for your blessings times 3. Happy Birthday to your son in Heaven. The footprints are most precious.

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  14. What a sweet gift your wee Brian's life was to you and your husband. I'm so glad to read that you have three children living - their lives were hard-won. My mum's experience was much like yours and we were always comforted to know that we had brothers and sisters in heaven watching out for us.

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  15. Dearest Deborah,
    What a touching story about your Angel-Son Brian... you made me cry!
    Those footprints are so precious and I only wish, my Mom could have had something like that for my Angel-sister that got still born. She never saw her; they took her away and hid all baby clothes from her... Dad put her in a Blue Band margarine box and on his bike, off to the lot adjacent to the Catholic cemetery where he handed her to the gravedigger who buried her in unblessed ground as she was not baptized. That to me is the most painful part; no marker for her Angel grave; nothing...
    You can read about it here: {My Angel Sister & Mariette's Back to Basics Explained}
    So, yes I do understand you in a way, not that I've lived through it but the pain it caused my Mom. She had 7 more and I'm the 2nd born and carry my sister's name... That's what the post is about.
    A big all around hug to you!
    Love,
    Mariette

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  16. Well I cried through this one. Such a beautiful post. What a hard time you have had.

    My DIL lost a baby to a tragic accident by a person watching the baby at 4 months old.The grieving never stops in child loss, I know that :(

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  17. Aww Deborah, I cried when I read this story. What heartache you had in losing six of your babies. I know you are so thankful to have your three children. I think I told you once that I had two miscarriages before my four children were born. Yes, one day we will see all of our lost loved ones. Blessings to you, sweet friend.

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  18. So bitter sweet.You have touched My heart. I would love to witness Your reunion with all of them,so I can rejoice with You-Thank You for opening Your heart and sharing.

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  19. Dear Deborah, My heart is filled with emotion with your story and I am moved to tears. God surely is so good to bless you in so many ways through the heartache. Those dear little foot prints are so precious and what a treasure to have all these years. Happy Birthday to Brian. I know you will be together again one day.
    Bless you my friend as you remember and honor your son.
    Big hugs for you.
    XO

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  20. Deborah, I have no words. Thank you for sharing the tragedy, the beauty, the hope, the tears (which I am sharing with you at present). Thank you so much.

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  21. Thank you for sharing your memories of your precious baby boy. What gifts indeed are your 3 living children. Our biggest struggles and trials in life are often when we cling so much stronger to Him and then our lives reflect HIM to others:) Have a lovely week, Deborah

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  22. Oh Deborah, I type this as tears stream down my cheek. What a touching and lovely tribute to your baby, Brian! I know that he was carried away to heaven and that you will all be united together again someday! Thank goodness that God is there for us when we need him! All we need to do is seek.
    hugs,
    Jann

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  23. Hi Deborah, I feel so sad for you and wish I could give you a big hug. It is a blessing that Gid has given you 3 Children! I have such a lump in my throat and praying for you today!
    Julie

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  24. Dear Deborah,
    Thank you for having the strength and faith to share your story today. On July 14, 1980, my first husband passed away from a rapidly progressing cancer. My daughters, aged 3 and 6 at the time, and I were left alone and shaken. I woke up today thinking about that time in my life and reading your post this morning, brought so much comfort and reassurance that a happy reunion will indeed happen. The years have brought me a very happy fulfilled life and the second love of my life, but those lessons learned about faith and trust in God in the face of tragedy will forever be remembered, but sometimes take reaffirmation. Thank you for sharing today. Rosie

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  25. Hi Deborah,

    You are such a strong woman to have been able to endure such heartache and pain and I know that your faith has given you this strength, along with many loving people in your life. Thank you for sharing this very important day, in memory of your beloved son, Brian.

    Poppy

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  26. God Bless you my dear, you and your husband are very strong and brave people. So glad that He blessed you with three children. He saw you through all this and didn't want you to suffer anymore.
    He does work in mysterious ways.

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  27. Beautiful and so thoughtfully written. Thank you for sharing your story and your unending faith.

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  28. Oh my, Deborah...what a bittersweet and inspirational testimony of your faith. My Adam, who we just visited was 32 on July 13th and I could not imagine life without him. You are so blessed to have had your faith grow during these years of multiple miscarriages and losing Brian. How do people this without God? Thank you for sharing your heart and may God continue to bless you!

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  29. Oh Deborah,
    I am so sorry and feel your pain. How wonderful that you were able to have three healthy children now all grown. You are such an inspiration of faith for me which I really need at the moment. Thank you so much for sharing your sadness. Time does heal but we never forget! Blessings, Karen

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  30. "No Lord, where would I go ? You have the words of life." Thank-you for sharing this . I have no words for your great loss but joy in your great gain.

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  31. Oh sweet Deborah. I cannot hold back the tears. I am so sorry for your loss. You are a very strong and inspiring woman. Thank you for sharing your story with us. I send you a big hug from here my friend.

    Blessings,

    Janet

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  32. I'm so sorry for your loss...like many others, this post brought me tears. Thank you for sharing your story and your beautiful faith.

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  33. Oh, Deborah, my heart breaks for you - I am so sorry for your loss. I do firmly believe that souls live on in eternity and that we will be reunited with our precious loved ones some day. I also believe they are always with us, watching over us and holding us close when we need it the most. I also believe that suffering through these heartbreaking experiences makes us much more compassionate towards others and that is your special gift to the world. A hug for you xo Karen

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  35. What a beautiful post, Deborah. Your words of loss and faith are so touching. I've also experienced miscarriages and it's not something you forget.

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  36. I am sorry for your pain, Deborah. Glad, though, for the gift of Brian's life and your faith. You have been through a lot. My goodness. God bless you.
    Beth

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  37. This is my favorite of all your posts, dear friend. xoxo

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  39. Oh my dear Deborah!

    I am just now reading blogs again after an extended absence. I am so truly sorry about this. How SAD, but you totally have an amazing attitude.

    I am praying for you my dear.

    BTW the comment before m ine is spam, you may wish to delete it. Don't you just hate spam?

    Sisterly hugs.

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  40. Oh Deborah, I was so touched by this. I too lost a baby. He was 8 days old but the doctor told me he had no chance of survival, although born at full term ( in fact 10 days late), he was anencephalic. It was very painful but I knew God had His reasons of taking him. I've also had 2 other miscarriages but have 3 children, now 40, 38 and 33 now. We know we have a Baby Angelino who is an angel so we pray to him a lot to take care of my granddaughter Rea who is sick. I ask him to keep his niece company all them time especially when they put her under anesthesia for some procedures. Talking to him to ask Jesus to make her well always gives me peace. I know your son and my son are playing together in heaven....Christine

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  41. That is a beautifully written post! Thank you so much for sharing this with us! Your tender emotions and strong faith ring through it all. How loved your babies are! And I'm so happy to hear a mother say strongly that she'll soon see her little ones in heaven, instead of the many posts written where nothing but anguish, disbelief, and overwhelming sorrow are present. There can be a bright side, past the sorrow, and someone must write about that too! God gives us that. When Jesus says, "Let not your heart be troubled," the context of that statement is His preparation for us all in heaven, the REAL life he's making for us there, the reunion of friends and loved ones. Thank you again.

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  42. How beautiful. I, too, lost a little boy (a late term miscarriage) after a series of miscarriages never to conceive again. How wonderful that you have three beautiful children. After 38 years of an extraordinarily happy marriage, I know that God has blessed me, although not entirely in the way we had hoped. I thank him every Sunday at Mass for the joy of a happy marriage, a strong faith and a wicked sense of humor.

    I am also thankful to you for the courage it took to write this lovely tribute to your little boy.

    M-T

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  43. Deborah, I am so sorry for your loss. I too had lost three children to miscarriage and now have 3 living children. It is a horrible experience to have so much hope and joy for the child and then to lose it all. Your tribute is beautiful. I am so glad you have pictures and his footprints. I have two nieces and a nephew that come over ages, 3,2, and 5 months and sometimes we think they were the three that never made it. They act just like my own. We will understand all these mysteries someday and hopefully we will be amazingly surprised by what really happened in our time here on earth. God has a plan that I sure don't always understand but, I know it is for a greater good.

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  44. Hi, I came here via the links in Mariette's blog. What a wonderful tribute to your little angel.

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  45. Dear Deborah,
    I also came via Mariette's blog. I am happy that you got on the end three living children. Its really hard, especially with the first child to lose it so quickly. What a wonderful couple you must be to have faith after all that. God bless you and yours.
    Best greetings, Johanna

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