Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Picturing Samuel

Yesterday was nine months since Samuel died, and today Samuel would have been ten months old.  It's hard to believe that much time has passed since we were sitting by our son's side in the CICU. 

This past weekend we went to see my grandparents in Arizona, and we had a lovely time.  On the flight back, we were on the tarmac with a woman who was clearly overladden with a baby, bags, and baby gear.  I asked her if I could help, and she said, "Yes!" with such enthusiasm and gratitude.  She clearly could use a hand or two.  I took one bag, Bryan took another, and she held her baby girl.  I asked her how old her daughter was, and she said "Nine months."  That's pretty close to Samuel's would-be age.  The boys were enamored with the baby as they usually are.  I kept thinking, "That baby looks familiar to me," but that felt like a bizarre thought.  How can a baby look familiar?  Hours later it hit me that her daughter reminded me of Samuel's first neighbor in the CICU.  He had been next to a bright-eyed baby girl who was adorable.  Her parents were seldom there.  In fact, we never saw a dad, and we may have only seen her mom once when she came and sat ten feet away from her and didn't even look at her.  I don't know what happened to that little girl though I'm fairly sure she moved to Step-Down a few days after we arrived at Egleston.  I wish I could remember her name so I could pray for her more personally. 

Seeing the baby on the airplane certainly made me wonder what Samuel would look like now and what he would be up to.  My niece who is 16 hours younger than Samuel is pulling up on things and trying to walk.  Would Samuel be doing the same?  Sometimes I get tripped up when I try to imagine Samuel if he had lived.  I don't know how to imagine him.  Do I think of him as the boy we never had -- totally healthy and a "normal" 10 month old, or do I think of him as the Samuel who would have survived all his defects but still been living with the reality of a weak heart, defective vasculature in his lungs, and consequences of longterm intubation and TPN feedings?  Do I picture a plump baby like Caleb and Joel were, or do I picture a baby who is underweight and possibly tube fed?  Do I imagine a busy, active boy, or do I imagine a boy who is developmentally delayed because of his rough start to life?  I don't know, and I get so confused that I can rarely picture anything at all.

Yesterday was Caleb's 5th birthday, and he declared at breakfast that no one was allowed to be sad on his birthday; we all had to be happy.  He got out of his seat and went to the fridge where he turned all our emotion faces to happy.  (Judy, our grief counselor, suggested we cut out sad and happy faces for each of us, so we can put up a face to let the family know how we're feeling that day or hour.)  Thankfully Caleb's birthday made it easy to be happy on one of my thirty-firsts. 

Here are a few pictures from our time in Arizona.  The boys LOVED seeing their great grandparents and especially loved our first family hike in the mountains. 

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