Thursday, August 18, 2011

Approaching a Year

It seems like so many of my thoughts are consumed with Aaron lately, especially as his one year earthly and heavenly birthdays are fast approaching. I find myself longing to remember every detail of those days...every detail of him, and still wanting answers to calm the lingering questions in my heart about his last moments here. 

I sat down this evening and flipped through last years calendar, looking at year ago, wanting to remember the specific details of this time last year.  We started the day with a non-stress test and OB appointment at University Hospital, a regimen that had become the all-too-familiar twice weekly routine. I wasn't admitted to labor and delivery for observation that day, so Aaron must have tumbled around enough to make the nurses happy and allow me to go about my normal day of work. Flipping to the next week, my calendar is filled with typical doctors appointments and work patients, all scheduled along with a NICU tour, Labor and Delivery Tour, and meeting with neonatologists. Each Friday counting down to Aaron's due date is neatly circled and numbered in happy, yet anxious anticipation. 

This time last year, I remember thinking that in just a month or so, our son would make his arrival into this world.  We planned what little we could, but memories of the stillness of that ultrasound room filled with our tears only two months earlier always lingered in the forefront of my mind as a reminder that our best laid plans are often futile...we are not in control.

Those appointments that filled our calendars and days would never actually happen. During the time that we planned to spend anxiously awaiting Aaron's arrival, we would actually welcome him into the world, place him in the arms of surgeons, watch him slip from this life into eternity and plan his memorial service. In a small, private room of the CICU, I held him for the first time after the doctors let him go and in a quiet room of the funeral home, I held him for he last time. My heart knew that it was merely the shell of our sweet little guy, but how do you hand over your child when you know that it is the last time you will see him, most likely, in a very long time?  The next several weeks in the calendar are blank as is my memory of much of that time.  It still feels surreal.

Here I sit, almost a year later and on some days I am still in disbelief that our son was here...that he cried in the OR, that I got to peer into his eyes just once, and that we had him here with us for three whole days. On other days I struggle against the traumatic memories of the night we said goodbye.  Images I can't get rid of...nurses performing chest compressions, Aaron's blood covering the floor around his isolet, 'those words' spoken by our surgeon and the heartbreak and disbelief that this was our reality.  Mostly though, are the days that God lifts the burden of grief from my still broken heart. Over the past year, I have run the spectrum of clinging to Him with every fiber of my being to pushing away in anger, frustration and emotions too confusing for words. Yet He still extends His grace and love, compassion and guidance to, who comes before Him with a heart that is understanding yet questioning, loving yet angry, soft yet calloused and bruised, healing but still broken. 

He reminds me that through suffering grows an enduring hope, a steadfast heart and a reliance on Him that I had never before known. I revel in the moments when His love and presence wash over me and quiet my aching heart, and once again, for awhile anyway, I am comforted that Aaron is healed and Aaron is home. 


  1. Danielle - you are such an amazing writer (and person!)! We prayed for you in church this morning. I can hardly believe in a few short days we will celebrate Aaron's birthday and remember his death - all within such a short span. We are missing him. We are often praying for you, but extra prayers and love to you this coming week! We love you!

  2. Our hearts still break along with yours, and we will always love and treasure Aaron's short time with us. We are glad you have God's love to fall back on. It hurts to watch your children-you and Dan-suffer and not be able to make the hurt go away. It's hard to believe it's almost been a year... love you all, mom and dad xoxoxo

  3. {{{HUG}}} Heavy heart reading this. Prayers being sent your way!

  4. Danielle, you and your husband are so often on my heart. Our stories unfolded within weeks of each other -- our boys born, our hearts stretched to try and contain the infinite love we have for them, and then all our hopes and dreams shattered.

    You've lost so much.

    The strange thing about all this is that having walked a path of loss, I still don't know what to say to others in a similar place -- knowing that at the end of the day, there is nothing to say. Nothing will make your heart feel better, nothing will make your broken heart unbroken. If words could, I would make mine wrap arms around you, cry with you, and hope with you. I would sit and remember Aaron with you.

    I will sit and remember him with you.

  5. Thinking of you and Aaron. I have not thrown away my to do list from the week Sawyer died. All the items on it had to do with him. None of them involved him dying. I am also right there with you about images I cannot get out of my head. I wish I could write something magical to make this journey easier for us both.

    Thank you for sharing Aaron's (and your family's) story. Take care of yourself.


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