I don’t know what to say.

The day after Cole died, I was sitting at the NICU computers, talking on the phone with Zina. She knew things were bad, and she called to find out what had happened and how we were doing. I was bawling as I told her we’d lost our precious little boy. When I hung up, a woman sitting next to me told me she’d overheard and she knew how I felt, because she’d lost one of her twins too.

Her boys were born at 26 weeks, back in July. One of her babies had died in utero and had kicked off her labor. After he was born, his brother was already on his way out and they couldn’t stop him from coming. He’d had his share of complications, but he was doing alright.

His due date was coming up in November. That’s the magic date in the NICU. Your due date. They tell you that if all goes well, your baby should come home close to his or her original due date. On Lina’s due date (January 8th), the doctor told us she might be ready to come home within a week. On January 9th it all fell apart. But that’s not what I’m writing about.

Little Michael wasn’t ready to go home by his due date. He struggled. He had a lot of issues with his little lungs. He was on and off the vent. But he’d made it that far, I was sure he was close to going home. I always stopped by his bed when I needed a little lift. He was so big and cute. He was a reminder that my itty bitty Lina would be ‘big’ one day, too. When we left for Greenwich, I couldn’t find Patti, so I left a note with my e-mail. She was shocked to see us back just a few days later. She watched us during that horrifying, miserable two days. And she prayed that she would never find herself in my shoes.

Yesterday, I got this e-mail:

This Friday at 10:50am our little precious boy Michael James passed away. Despite our dreams, hopes and prayers he lost the fight to join his loving family and all who awaited his departure from the hospital. During the nearly 8 months he fought for life, he inspired his doctors, nurses and family in his tenacious fight.

I am heartbroken. I had imagined him finally home with his loving family. I spoke with Patti, and I found that I didn’t know what to say to her. I thought I would, but I could not come up with words that expressed how sad I felt for her. There just are no words. But my heart knows what her heart is feeling.

The first thing she asked me is “How do you get through it?” I’ve asked that question a million times. Because it doesn’t seem possible. How DO you get through it? I’m not through it. So I don’t have the answer. But it’s true that time takes the edge off. A little.

This should not happen. To say it’s ‘not fair’ is pointless, but it isn’t. IT.IS.NOT.FAIR. This should not happen to babies. To parents who love them more than anything. I wish I knew what to say. I wonder if I ever will.

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5 Responses to “I don’t know what to say.”


  1. 1 P.Williams March 10, 2008 at 2:31 am

    Oh God Patrice I’m so sorry. I’m sure her loss hit you hard and brought that candle right up in your face again. I want you to know that I read every post and I often weep and always pray for you. I try to think of something, anything, to write to ease your pain, but like you I know there really are no words that are good enough. I love the way you express yourself and that you can take the words of others and make your own sense of things. Like with the candle analogy. I know that you will never forget Cole and Lina, because I know I never will. I was talking to a friend of mine who lost her little boy when he was only a few hours old. That was 15 years ago. She told me “not a day goes by that I don’t think about him.” Most days her other children don’t give her time to dwell o it, but some days the grief wells up and it feels like yesterday. So no you don’t ever forget, but you do live and you do find happiness again. Day by day you will find the world coming back into that light. Cole and Lina would want it that way. They would want you to embrace Annika and life and to honor them by letting their memory remind you how precious every second is.

    You have done and are doing everything right. Keep writing Patrice I’ve found that it can give you solace in your darkest hour to know that you have a voice. To give wing to your words. Patti

  2. 2 Rebecca March 10, 2008 at 2:44 pm

    I don’t want to repeat myself, but I’m writing this here because I hope that maybe it can bring comfort to Little Michael’s family. The losses that the two of you have endured are unimaginable, and my heart and my prayers are with both of you and with your children. I pray that God Blesses both of your families and spares you from any more heartache, and that He leads you to peace. I pray for strength for you to survive this, and I admire you for the strength that you have shown since the birth of your babies. God Bless you all.

  3. 3 Searching March 10, 2008 at 5:55 pm

    No, it’s not fair. For that sweet little boy OR for you and your family. I am so very sorry for your losses and tough ride in the NICU.

  4. 4 Amy March 10, 2008 at 6:44 pm

    This is the most unfair thing life can deal us, that is my belief. I am so incredibly sorry for your losses and your friends losses. My thoughts and prayers are with you all.

  5. 5 mary March 10, 2008 at 8:35 pm

    Patrice
    I thought of you on Sat. when Mikie passed. It was another tough day on the unit, but that poor baby had suffered horribly for weeks. I think that for the past few weeks they came in thinking “will today be the day” but just couldn’t admitt to it. Patti had just asked about you the day before,and was wondering how things were going. You are very right Patrice, life is certainly not very fair at times!! Your experiences will always remain with you but they will eventually dull with time. I think of you and your family often, especially now sinece we have a resident on the unit whose name is Annika. My prayers remain with you all.
    Mary


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About Me

I'm a grieving mom. I have one beautiful daughter, Annika, who's 3 years old now (born 12/28/04). I also had twins, Lina and Cole, on 10/04/07, born at just 26 weeks. We lost Cole after just 23 days due to complications related to his prematurity. Fiesty little Lina overcame so much and just when she was getting ready to come home with us, suddenly had a complication unrelated to her prematurity and passed away on January 11, 2008. This blog is about getting through it. More...

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