I have a friend whom I haven't seen in a while. I dropped he and his wife a Christmas card and hadn't heard from them, which I thought was odd because his wife is generally really good about those things. Anyway, he emailed me yesterday to say that they had been very busy over the holidays and to give him a call.
So, I did. He had bumped into some people from my most-recent past employer and inquired about me since I had written a blurb about my new job in the Christmas card. They had told him I was no longer there, so he called to find out what's what. I told him. Then I asked about his busy over Christmas, work or personal, and so on.
It turns out that he and his wife got pregnant last year and they had a son just before Thanksgiving. Their son only lived 5 hours. They knew that he was seriously ill before he was born. They chose not to terminate the pregnancy and they had five sweet hours with their son. According to the father, he was a beautiful boy with a head full of brown hair and big brown eyes. Five hours. During those five hours, they had to live an entire life. They took all the pictures they will ever have of their son. They had to tell him that they loved him all the times they ever could. They had to hold him all they will ever get to hold him.
I find this so hard. My son is perfectly wonderful (upstairs sleeping after a car ride for a nap). I cannot fathom their pain. This man's wife walked around pregnant for six months knowing that the baby growing inside her was not going to live once he was born. Every day he was inside her, he was alive. But once she gave birth, he would die. So, here she is with a growing belly, with strangers smiling at her in the check-out line of the supermarket probably inquiring as to when she is due, and she had to soldier on knowing that she was not getting a "take home" baby out of this deal.
I tried to do my best while on the phone with my friend. What was his name? How much did he weigh? How are you doing now? How's work? How's your wife holding up? Did you have a funeral? How about that local sports team? I never uttered the words "It's God's plan." Nor did I say, "You're young and can try again soon." I have read that those things don't help people. Some people find it offensive that God's plan is that their baby should die. Or, trying again soon isn't going to bring my baby whom I love back to life. I hope I did OK and didn't make his pain worse.
Anyway, I have all these thoughts about how horrible this must be for them and how do you possibly move past somethinge like this to get on with the rest of your life? I mean, I can't even move past little things and this is pretty much the biggest thing I could imagine ever happening. They are obviously strong with a great marriage if they can survive this, and I wish them peace and happiness.