Day 185 of 366: Blog Challenge 2012
This morning I had an appointment that I could not miss. It was in an unusual location and with a group of very special people. All of us had formed a very deep bond from an experience we had shared twelve months ago today.
The meeting was at the Beenleigh Cemetery. Present were my son Daniel, his wife Belinda, her parents Pat and David and her sister Melissa and husband Garry. And guiding us all was the Pastor of the Lutheran Church that Belinda’s family attends: Pastor Mark.
Twelve months ago today Belinda had gone into labour at 24 weeks gestation with twins. She had been on complete bed rest in hospital since 19 weeks when labour had been miraculously halted even though the experts were sure she would deliver that night. But Belinda confounded them all and within hours the situation had been turned around.
But this was not to last and five weeks later we were woken by an early morning call from Daniel saying “Mum, the babies have come early: two boys. Liam has not made it through the delivery due to a bizarre accident but Samuel is alive and struggling for his life.”
Belinda was doing well and grateful that one little boy had survived. That Sunday, Pat, David, Geoff and I gathered at the hospital to gather Liam in our arms and say goodbye to him. Pastor Mark, armed with care and compassion, arrived and joined us as we nursed this darling little boy one by one and said our goodbyes.
All of us then gathered on 6th July at Beenleigh Cemetery to farewell Liam with Pastor Mark guiding and caring for us in our sadness.
Samuel continued to confound us and fight for his little life! However by Day 7 we knew something was wrong: Samuel had had a very bad brain bleed and might not make it through the night.
Again, the grandparents were up at the hospital, standing in front of the humidi-crib as Samuel fought for his life. We prayed and we talked to him, telling him to be strong. Even the men became emotional as we stood and watched his life ebbing away.
Daniel and Belinda said farewell to Samuel that night and just before dawn on the 11th July, little Samuel went home to be with his brother Liam. Both boys were now at peace. “Safe in Jesus’ arms” as Pat so rightly put it.
Because so much prayer and effort was put into keeping the family going for these eight days, it was an anti-climax when Samuel passed away. On the Monday that he died, Pat David, Geoff and I, Melissa and Garry gathered at Dan & Bel’s house to hold each other up, to talk about our little boys; sometimes we cried, sometimes we managed to laugh as Isaac (2) was a constant joy keeping us going.
It was all such sweet sorrow. However, being together was healing and we surrounded the little mother Belinda with love. She looked that day as if she was in a far away land somewhere and barely ‘with us’ at all. She soon bounced back.
By the 14th July we were at the cemetery for yet another little funeral. We held each other up and we realised that we had formed a tight knit little group – bound forever by what we had been through.
WE REMEMBER SAMUEL AND LIAM
And so we gathered this morning at the Beenleigh Cemetery with this same group of special people, to commemorate the twelve months that had passed since ‘the twins’ were born and Liam had died. Once again, Pastor Mark was there with us: Pat and David, Geoff and I, Daniel and Belinda, Melissa and Garry … remembering our little boys. How can we ever forget them?
I wrote the poem below for the occasion and after Bible readings and prayers by Pastor Mark, we finished with my poem. In it, I look back on the journey of the last twelve months but I also look forward to the new life which is coming. Belinda is 18 weeks pregnant and doing well. Bel’s sister Melissa is now pregnant with six weeks to go.
What a journey it has been! I know now why they say that “parting is such sweet sorrow” because it is. And I know I would not have missed knowing those two little boys … even if it was just for a fleeting moment …
… for Samuel and Liam
How swift the passage of time
Since our little boys were born
…. and placed too soon within the earth
A year has gone
Time to ponder and reflect
Indeed, we’ve seen four seasons come and go …
At first mid-winter had its way with tears
Spring came too soon
… with sorrow undiminished
Summer heat and Christmas joy eased and soothed the pain
Then as leaves of autumn fell to earth
Came stirrings of a life begun
Time to feel again …
And so when winter came once more
A babe was growing round and warm within
All the while – ever present – was the little brother
Who laughed and played and gave us joy.
Today, as chills of winter grow
Our pain – once so raw – is soothed and bathed in hope
Time heals we know
Yet memories are forever fresh
Little bodies gone to dust
Safe in Jesus’ arms they rest sublime
With spirits living on
As we on earth are left to wonder why?
Now standing here together bound in love
We look forward to the ‘fruit of spring’
But never forgetting the two little boys
Who came to us and made our lives so sweet.
We will always remember you: Samuel and Liam.