Marino and I are on vacation right now - one that we had planned for a couple of months with my friend Jen and her daughter Sydney. Unfortunately, this means we are not in Maryland today to be there for my friend Kristal for one of the most difficult days of her life. Today, Kristal and her husband have to say goodbye to their son Christian. You may recall me mentioning that Kristal had a very difficult pregnancy and endured great discomfort and exhaustion in the hospital for weeks to make it to 25 weeks in her pregnancy, at which point she had to deliver Christian on May 29th.
Christian was quite the fighter from the beginning of his life. I had the privilege of meeting him the day after he was born and it was pretty amazing. Kristal and I really bonded even more in our friendship in only the way mothers of premature babies can. Although Christian's journey was sure to be tougher than Marino's was, most mothers have never been through extended hospital stays with a child like NICU moms. We talked often about the highs and the lows as Christian grew.
Unfortunately, at the end of the week before last, Christian took a turn for the worse. An infection, coupled with a surgery attempt, proved to be too much for him. Kristal and Kris held their boy as he became an angel at just 11 weeks old.
Today, is Christian's funeral and I wish that I could be there for Kristal. I know how much she loved her boy and how badly she wanted just to be here. I remember talks we had in the hospital about the worst case scenario and this was it - losing him. Kristal just wanted her boy with her. I shared this poem with her last weekend, and I wanted to share it here as well, in memory of Christian and a mother's love:
i carry your heart with me
i carry your heart with me (i carry it in
my heart) i am never without it(anywhere
i go you go, my dear; and whatever is done
by only me is your doing, my darling)
i fear no fate(for you are my fate, my sweet) i want
no world (for beautiful you are my world, my true)
and it's you are whatever a moon has always meant
and whatever a sun will always sing is you
here is the deepest secret nobody knows
(here is the root of the root and the bud of the bud
and the sky of the sky of a tree called life; which grows
higher than the soul can hope or mind can hide)
and this is the wonder that's keeping the stars apart
i carry your heart (i carry it in my heart)
Kristal, Kris and Gabby, we are thinking of you today and praying for strength and peace for you. Good night, sweet Christian.