I don’t know your name.
I don’t know why you were here in the PICU, I don’t know how long you had been here.
I know only that today you became an angel.
Your room is dark now. Your beautiful pictures and the decorations on your door are gone now.
I hope you are running and laughing and playing up in heaven tonight, free of tubes and wires and beeps and pokes and all the things that you were hooked up to in your tiny crib.
Yesterday morning you started having troubles. Your room was a hive of activity all morning and that code light, that damn red code light was lit up above your door as doctors and x-ray machines and surgical teams moved effficiently in and out. My eye caught that of your nurse and tears welled up in my eyes. Because she is our nurse too. And I knew that look on her face. I knew the look on your momma’s face too, as she leaned against the nurses desk watching all the activity and feeling helpless to it all. And all I could do was pray…
They eventually stabilized you. When I left to go home, you seemed stable. I knew our nurse/your nurse was busy in your room doing the amazing work only she can do to keep very chaotic little bodies as stable as possible. Last night when she got off shift she texted me that it had been a rough day, and that she missed coming in to our room for her loves. I texted her back that it was ok – we sent her our love all day, and I knew she was right where she needed to be all day – taking care of YOU. And I know she gave it her all. I know she poured every last ounce of anything she had left into you all day. And when she left, and she needed to, she let all of those emotions about how hard that day was flow as tears.
I hope you are able to look down now and see her and know what an amazing person you had taking care of you. All of them here are amazing. I saw your beautiful pictures – you were a smiling happy baby – surely you knew the love they gave you. I hope you watch over all of them as they continue having hard days, and continue coming in and doing what they do with smiles on their faces, even if those smiles are hiding tears sometimes.
And today I came back and realized your room was clean.
You were gone.
I tried to tell myself maybe you just got transferred somewhere. Maybe you had to go down to the CICU or maybe they flew you to Chicago. Sure they did.
But see, I know that’s not the reality of life in the ICU.
I know what that code light means.
And I don’t know why today was your time, and two years ago when my daughter was in the room right next to yours, and her code light was going off and going off and going off for so many long hours…..why it wasn’t her time. I don’t understand why some babies make it, and some babies don’t.
I have had to come to terms with the fact that here in the ICU, as much as it feels like a weird microcosm of “home” sometimes….it also feels like the hardest place in the world to “live”. Because while many miracles and successes happen here….just as often there isn’t a happy ending.
But what I want to tell you is that you earning your angel wings was not in vain.
You made an impact with your little life.
You made an impact on me. And I don’t even know you. I hope I can find out your name at least. I’d like to honor you by at least knowing your name.
Because of that dark room with it’s absence of a teeny crib and beautiful pictures of your adorable smile, I will hug my babies tighter. I will grab onto life a little harder. I will complain a LOT less. I will smile more often and I will forgive more easily and I will not take one single minute of life – whether it is here on the hard boxes of bliss or home in my own zone of comfort – for granted.
I wanted to be sad today, not quite like this. But i was feeling sorry for myself. Sorry for my own baby girl who was laying in the room across the hall from you. I dropped her sisters off at school and i was sad that I had to say goodbye to them and couldn’t tell them when i would see them again. Maybe in two days or maybe a week. I passed my little girl’s classroom and I started to cry as i realized she should have been sitting there at the yellow table, brow furrowed in concentration as she worked on her letters and numbers. She should be going on her very first field trip tomorrow to the horse farm. She has been so excited for that trip! It hurts to think of how devastated she will be when she finds out she missed it.
But now I think of all the firsts you will have missed to, and i am glad for the ones my baby HAS experienced. I will try my best to not focus on the things she’s missed, and instead be overjoyed for the things she HAS had.
Dear baby….you weren’t here long, but you made a difference. Your smile was beautiful and I will likely never forget it.
Fly high sweet baby girl~