These words still resonate in my mind as though I just read them. I am still longing and grasping for just an ounce of the strength it takes for loving parents to truly accept this as their reality.
I had both the blessing and misfortune of sitting on the sideline of this occurrence through recent months.
I couldn't have been happier than the day I walked into work late February to find what a precious little baby that was so peacefully sleeping, awaiting 12 hours of my loving care to begin. I can say it was truly a special feeling when I looked into that isolette and saw the miracle that lay before me. A special heart string was tugged and I was a "primary nurse" for the first time. It was so amazing the moments of pride and joy in which I relished as this baby graduated first in diaper size, respiratory support gone, then to a crib, and next thing I knew I was bathing, dressing, bottle feeding, and cuddling! It was a small glimpse into motherhood a way I had not before experienced this closely. This past weekend was a huge one, as this precious baby which I loved dearly has gone home to one of the best families I have known.
All the while there was another precious baby nearby. I came to care for this little one in many of the same ways I did my primary patient, taking moments of joy as good news arrived and moments of deep sadness as bad news was slow to set in. The term "unofficial primary" was applied to our relationship. From labs and procedures to surgeries and medications, even attempts at life altering medical consults, everyday was full of surprising changes. It seemed as though this little one just couldn't catch a break. In late April the sad news came that we had hit the "beginning of the end" and to just "be prepared". Caring for this precious baby became increasingly more difficult, as even simple nursing tasks would cause quite dramatic changes. This past weekend was a huge one, as this precious little baby was layed to rest.
As I drove to the funeral I couldn't hide the swarm of butterflies in my stomach and the uneasiness in my mind. I called my Mom hoping that a chat would help put me at least slightly at peace and help me get it back together, which helped only slightly. As I arrived and walked in, those feelings again returned full fledged. I couldn't help but wonder if the parents would even know who I was- after all, I was the "night nurse" that most parents had never meet. I entered the chapel and approached the family slowly as I tried to form words. As I approached, all of my fears melted away as the Mother glanced my way and smiled. I spoke my words of condolence, thanked them for sharing their angel, and hugged the parents. They thanked me for being there to support them and for the months of love and care which I had provided. I was then down the path to speak my peace to the precious baby. I had never seen her so beautiful, so peaceful as that moment. I couldn't help but smile as I saw many of her favorite things lying by her side. As I took my seat and fought the tears which had begun to swell, I couldn't help but think- Why?
That is the moment I sat and began to read-
An angel opened the book of life and wrote down our baby's birth. Then whispered as she closed the book "Too beautiful for earth."
For a brief and fleeting moment, an angel touched the ground;
With tiny wings and halo, and sweet soft angel sounds.
Blessing the lives of others, in beauty and in grace;
Those who saw the angel, knew God has kissed her tiny face.
The angel came for reasons we may not understand;
A journey brief, with gifts so great, and guided by God's hand.
So rest now tiny angel, your work on earth is through;
In the beauty of God's perfect love we saw his gift in you.
As the service concluded, I watched this Mother maintain the strength to stand and bid farewell to every guest in attendance, thanking them for the support they had offered. Her tears were few and her words were many. I felt so incredibly envious of her resilience and strength.
It is moments like this that make you truly and sincerely thankful for every blessing given in life. I am so incredibly thankful for the people, friends and family, that are truly a part of my life, enriching every day of my being. I believe those relationships are where strength like that comes from.