Saturday, February 12, 2011

Your picture... Another Piece

Oh Andrew-
It's so odd- you're always in the back of my mind, and yet when Joe says your name it steals my breath- only when he says it- and I don't know why... Perhaps it's because I am waiting- waiting for that next question- the ones he asks when trying to put his story together... your story.

Last night your dad was at practice and your three youngest sibs were tucked into their beds fast asleep. I was a bit tired after a long day at work and was reading a bit in my bed when Joe came in. He had a smile on his face and came in my bed, gave me the biggest hug and told me what a wonderful mom I was (he has a sweetness about him- a trait he inherited from his namesake, no doubt). He was looking at his belly button and asked me why we have them. I told him that his belly button marked a very special place. I explained to him that there was a cord that was attached between the two of us- how it was what kept him alive- it was how he breathed, how he ate- and then he said, "Did Andrew's not work?"

And for some reason, I found myself telling him more about his story- your story. I told him that when you were both in my tummy you did lots of flips and somersaults- that you were having a regular party in there- but that with all that fun, that cord wrapped you guys up and that you were caught in a tangle. He asked me if that is what happened to you and why you died. I nodded- but I also told him that he was wrapped up in it too- and that God knew to get me in that hospital- so that he could be born- and that he would be ok.

I watched him as he took in my words- adding the newest piece that I gave him to his puzzle. He did not look alarmed or even saddened. I watched him so closely, Andrew- and I wish I could have crept into his mind- but he's seven and I do not want him to see my grief- the magnitude of it. So when I share your story, I try to share the joy- the hope. I told him that perhaps when you both got tangled, and God called you home, that you said to God, "My brother needs to be with my mom." And sometimes I like to believe that is the way it happened. That somehow you protected him- or probably more so... protected me.

And then he asked what you looked like. I told him that you were bigger than him! That you were bigger than all his sibs. I told him that you looked a lot alike. That you were pink and beautiful and just looked like a sleeping baby. I told him how I carried you both back to my hospital room- how we had some time together- I put my finger in your hand and told him how you seemed to grasp my finger. He smiled.

And then he pointed to the dresser where I have your picture- high above where he couldn't really see it. He said, "Is that his picture?" "Can I see it?"

And I hesitated.

I remember when I got those pictures of you. How I hated them and loved them all at the same time. I hated that they were taken long after you left me- after your body began to change- I hate that sometimes I wonder if they are replacing those memories I had that September night... And then I love them. I love that I have a picture of you. A reminder that you were real- Not some made-up story- Not a dream that I had, once upon a time...

Those pictures.
The ones your dad doesn't like because they, too, are not his memory. The ones that I looked at for hours until I could see them without being overcome with sobs. The pictures that I chose to keep in my room only- for my eyes only-

Until now?

And here he was asking. I got up from the bed and picked up your picture. Your darkened lips, your reddish hair, your darkened hands... and in those steps I prayed, that Joe would be ok to see this, that I would be ok sharing with him- for, after all, you are his brother...

I sat next to him and we looked at your picture. I didn't even look at Joe's reaction, I couldn't take my eyes off your face. For though your picture is always there- like you are always in my mind- I hadn't sat and really looked at it- not really- not like that.

Joe took a breath and mentioned your hair. And I told him that he and the others all had little wisps of hair before they were bald for two years- He didn't mention your lips- your hands- your coloring. Perhaps he saw you as I did- as a perfect little person.

And then we talked of heaven and how you have a perfect body now- one that doesn't get sick or hurt. One that never needs a band aid. I told him that he would recognize you- that I would recognize you- and I watched as that made him smile.

And tonight I am thinking about those words- and that conversation that again turned suddenly to his poor fish, Rocky- that you must be taking care of- even now as I type. We fell asleep in each other's arms until daddy carried him back to his bed when he came home.

And I wonder now as I type this if you were there- somehow seeing all that took place- somehow felt all the love that grows for you still. Oh Andrew, there is so much that I wonder...

But for now he has yet another piece- and I wonder when the next moment will come- the next question...

But for now, I know he is full, he is at peace, he is safe. And though he talks about God and how He is always with him, he has also mentioned you- and just like being a twin must have been so special- having a twin is special too- and I'm so glad that he has you- still.

I love you.

Always and Forever,
Your Mom

29 comments:

  1. Oh Laura this is beautiful.
    Rond

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  2. You are amazing!

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  3. Laura - this was so touching and so moving. Thanks for sharing such a sweet and special moment. What blessings our children are!

    Today is Justin's bday and I was remembering the day he was born 11 years ago. Sometimes I need reminding!

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  4. Thank you for sharing your photo of Andrew. I know how precious these photos are to you. I love the way Joe talks about him and asked you questions. This is a beautiful post and you did a wonderful job sharing their story with him. ((HUGS))

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  5. I know I will be faced with these questions too sometime down the road...thank you for sharing. It was so beautiful to read this. So sad, but so sweet.

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  6. Oh Laura, tears. I know that conversation, about the cord, I had it too. I woke up on Wednesday morning, it was my birthday. I was gathering backpacks and making lunches and I peered over into the living room to find my 6 year old daughter telling her baby brother E all about his big brother Nathan and how he was supposed to come on my birthday. In that moment I just wanted to take it all in, and my husband looked over at me to see all the emotion I was holding back, and he whispered softly to me, "it's her story too" I nodded and grabbed their bags and hurried them out the door. I spent much of that day reflecting on what the story means for them, my other children. Thank you for sharing him with us. (((hugs))) my friend.

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  7. Love this piece... I think this is the 1st time in all the years of knowing you that I have seen a photo of Andrew, "he's beautiful"

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  8. You are an amazingly strong lady Laura Doran, and Joey is so lucky to have you as his Mom so that Andrew can still be a part of his life. Those are two beautiful little boys. HUGS!!!!

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  9. What a beautiful post Laura. Your description of your conversation with Joe has me in tears. You handle Andrew's life, death and his place in your family with so much grace. I only hope that, when the time comes, I can do the same for my Jessica and her sister. xo

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  10. Your posts are always beautiful, but this one really hit a nerve with me tonight. I don't really know why (maybe I'm just emotional), but it's just beautiful. Beautiful that you can both remember Andrew separately and yet the same. How amazing! I love the love here!

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  11. So beautiful, Laura. Love seeing the photo of Andrew. Both he and Joey are such beautiful, special boys. Love how you share Andrew's story, as it's Joe's story, too. Thanks for sharing the photo; I know that took a lot of strength, as it's something you've kept private for so long. Love you!!!

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  12. What a beautiful little baby, your Andrew. While I can't pretend to know the pain of losing a child, reading this broke my heart. I think you are an amazing mom for being so open and honest with Joe about his loss (and yours). There isn't a doubt in my mind that Andrew will know you both when he sees you again. Beautifully written as always, Laura.

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  13. Wow...what a beautiful post! I'll tell you...Andrew is blessed to have you and Jeff as parents. How many other parents would cherish him the way you have? You know, people sometimes wonder why God is not visible to us. But I would say He is...and I see His presence when I look at Andrew's pic. Thanks for sharing! :)

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  14. That post took my breath away...Andrew...what a beautiful baby...and a gift for all in heaven...
    What a wonderful story...and I love how Joe takes it all in with such grace and love. You are an amazing mama with sooo much love and kind words to give.
    Thank you for sharing such a precious gift with us...xoxoxoxoxox

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  15. Laura - I've never commented before but I just had to let you know how beautiful this post is. I love hearing how Joe wants to learn more about his brother. You are such a beautiful Mom. And thank you for sharing your photo of Andrew - a beautiful boy.

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  16. Laura--I know those pictures, too. I love them and I hate them. They are so dear to me...and us. We all look past the flaws in the pictures, the tubes, all the bad memories. And we see our son, our brother. The conversations with the other kids are sometimes so painful. What overwhelms me sometimes is that these little kids are looking to me for their explanation and are waiting to be made to feel better....when I want the same thing sometimes--I feel like I don't know any more than they do. yet somehow, the words I offer them and what we talk about, makes us all feel better. I think just talking about Chase is what makes us better, though.
    Thank you for sharing. Hugs to you and Joe....such a sweet, sweet boy. Missing Andrew with you....
    xo
    christy

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  17. Thank you all so much for the kind comments- it took a lot for me to post this picture of Andrew too but I knew that the people reading this blog would see him in the same light that I do. I appreciate your comments so very much!
    Hugs-
    L

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  18. Laura-
    Thank you for sharing such a touching moment and picture. You brought me to tears and made me smile, all in the same story. I think that Andrew looks a lot like Zach! You are an amazing person and even better mommy.

    Hugs~
    Jen

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  19. This is beautiful. Thank you for sharing your picture and this special moment. You are a great example to all of us.

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  20. This is beautiful. Thank you for sharing your picture and this special moment. You are a great example to all of us.

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  21. Laura - I've never commented before but I just had to let you know how beautiful this post is. I love hearing how Joe wants to learn more about his brother. You are such a beautiful Mom. And thank you for sharing your photo of Andrew - a beautiful boy.

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  22. Wow...what a beautiful post! I'll tell you...Andrew is blessed to have you and Jeff as parents. How many other parents would cherish him the way you have? You know, people sometimes wonder why God is not visible to us. But I would say He is...and I see His presence when I look at Andrew's pic. Thanks for sharing! :)

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  23. So beautiful, Laura. Love seeing the photo of Andrew. Both he and Joey are such beautiful, special boys. Love how you share Andrew's story, as it's Joe's story, too. Thanks for sharing the photo; I know that took a lot of strength, as it's something you've kept private for so long. Love you!!!

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  24. Your posts are always beautiful, but this one really hit a nerve with me tonight. I don't really know why (maybe I'm just emotional), but it's just beautiful. Beautiful that you can both remember Andrew separately and yet the same. How amazing! I love the love here!

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  25. Oh Laura this is beautiful.
    Rond

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  26. You have a way with telling the saddest story in such a special way, Sorry for your loss!!!
    My oldest sister got married at 15 and had her first child at age 16. What happened to her and her child reminds me of what happened to her and her son. She started having pains real bad and bleeding. So she was rushed to the hospital and they did an emergency C-section, she wasn't due for a few more weeks, but to save them both they had to deliver. I was only 7 years old at the time, so I am telling this as it was told to me countless times. When my very first nephew was born, they lost him and my sister, but the good part of the story is they saved them both, they were able to bring them both back. What caused the severe bleeding is that the Umbilical Cord had been pulled loose from the baby his name is Charles and he and my sister had lost a lot of blood. He was born really small weighing around 5 lbs and had to be kept on life support until he was able to breathe right on his own. They said he had been yanking on the cord, guess he thought it was his way out!!! He is now 27 years old and a father of two and another on the way!!! he had some learning disabilities as a young child but he is truly a miracle baby!!!
    This made me cautious during my pregnancies, I was what people said a lil too careful, but I was scared of not being that lucky!!! My boys are my World and I would give my life for them!!! My two boys are 11 and 10 years old, but I cannot sleep unless I know that they are breathing and safe!!! People call me over protective, but I dont think there is any such thing as being too protective when it comes to your children!!! I am not sure I could survive losing a child!!!
    Thank you for Sharing Andrews Story, it touched my heart!!!

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  27. I don't know why I've landed here again tonight but this is such a beautiful post. Andrew was such a beloved child, such a perfect little baby. His photograph is so precious and I feel so honoured to have seen it when you posted initially and to see it again this evening as I re-read this post of yours. I'm so terribly sorry Laura, I know that those photographs may not be as you remember your son, I have a love-hate relationship with those photographs I have of my daughter too. But he is truly lovely, such a dear little face. I wish that Andrew were held safe in your arms as well as safe in your heart xo

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  28. This post is so beautiful. God bless you and your family.

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