I’ve thought long and hard about sharing this picture. It was taken in the final moments of Mr. Bean’s life. He had just been unplugged from all of his machines, his IV’s and tubes removed, and he was placed in our arms. There were probably 30 doctors and nurses standing around his bed. The PACT (palliative care) team filing in to be there for us during the process. I had so much fear of them being too raw, too much. But when I look at these pictures all I feel is love and gratitude that we had the opportunity to be with our baby when he left this world.
Because we knew for months in advance that there was a strong possibility that we would outlive our child, I delved into death. Maybe to a fault. I thought about it long and hard. I prepared myself as much as I could. I had a basic understanding of how the process would or could play out. I didn’t eliminate his death from my thoughts. As scary and painful and hard as that was to think about. I did. I talked about it and read about it. So when the time came when a wonderful and kind doctor turned to us and said, after 30 minutes of chest compressions and frantic work, “he is dying”, I didn’t fall to my knees. I didn’t panic and scream and beg. I sat down with my husband beside me. We wrapped our beautiful boy in his blanket and we held him in our arms. And we told him how much we loved him. We told him that we were with him. That his Grandparents and aunties and uncles and cousins loved him. That his brothers loved him. That he had people who we loved waiting for him wherever he was going. We stroked his cheeks and his hair and kissed his hands and lips and loved him so so hard. He left this world peacefully, surrounded by incredible amounts of love. That is such a gift. I’m so grateful that I haven’t had an ounce of regret about those final minutes. As gut wrenching and heart shattering as it was, it was as beautiful as it could be.
We need to find a way to open up communication about this crazy thing called death. Because it’s part of this wonderful life that we have been given. Death and dying and deep grief are tucked away because they’re uncomfortable and they’re scary. But every single one of us will experience them. What if, by allowing us to be frank and honest about these dark and undesirable things, we can experience them with as much love, understanding and support as possible. We need to not mistake openness and transparency and honesty with a lack of compassion or a minimization of sadness and fear.
I’m so thankful for the opportunities we were given that day. Killian’s Momma and Daddy were right beside him through his entire final battle, his birth and his death, and were given the chance to stay with his body for hours after he was gone, remembering every little thing we could. What a gift we were given in the darkest moment of our lives. I’m so grateful for that