Today marks two years since I last saw Owen alive, since he drank his last bottle, smiled his last smile and took his last breath on his own. Today is almost more significant to me than his official death date (May 26). Perhaps it’s because today is when everything changed. Today was the day everything was flipped upside down and inside out. My “perfect” family of 6 was changed in a very big and un-fixable way.
This is also a time when I think about the EMTs and firemen that invaded my home. Their faces are on my heart and their jobs are in my prayers. Last year I brought the fire station a meal as a way to honor them and to say thank you for all that they did. This year I decided to do the same. So yesterday we brought the fire house that responded to my 911 call a meal. We spent over an hour with the station – the boys got to sit in all of the fire trucks and ambulances. And when I say all – I mean every last vehicle in that garage!
Last year I was a little disappointed to find that the man who gave Owen CPR wasn’t able to attend the meal. They explained to me that he had a class to be in. I couldn’t picture his face. I could see him on his knees in the nursery, I could see his hands on Owen’s chest, but I couldn’t remember his face. When I looked around the room this year, I recognized him immediately.
I spoke with him for a bit towards the end of the visit. He apologized for not being able to save Owen and said that he still feels like there was more he could have done. I was surprised to hear that he felt that way. I have always been so eternally thankful to him – I have never blamed him, wondered if he could have done more or even wished he would have done something different. I knew he had done his best. He was my hero in all of this – he revived Owen’s heart so that he could be an organ donor. Without him my journey would have ended on May 21, 2011. Owen would have passed away silently as so many other infants to. But Owen was given a chance to tell his story. My family was given five beautiful days in the hospital – sitting around Owen’s bed, all piled on top of each other, laughing and crying and saying good-bye to our beautiful baby boy. This EMT gave this gift to me. It’s been the only part of this journey that gives me peace and healing – two little girls lived through the death of my baby boy. I lost so that others could win. If Owen’s heart had not been revived, he would have only been able to donate his heart valves – that’s it. This blog wouldn’t exist. I wouldn’t have found my love for writing. Being about to speak about my faith so openly wouldn’t happen. This entire journey would have ended in one night.
I wanted to find the words that would let him see into my soul and see what I saw in that night. I wanted him to know, with certainly, how thankful I am. It was by far the most painful experience of my life – but I’ve also be so richly blessed through it. Isn’t there a bible verse about “blessed are those who grieve for they are comforted”?
I am surprised by the emotions that still sneak up on me. My mom came over today on a whim, just to keep me company. I didn’t know I needed company, but her being there made me feel better. I continue to be thankful for all the prayers my family and I received during Owen’s hospital stay and continue to receive. You are what made my story start to feel like it was serving a bigger purpose. Thank you.
Owen – mom still loves you. I always will. We speak your name in our home. We pray for you at night. Your brothers will grow up knowing about you. Chunky Monkey. Buddha. Oh-Dee-Doe-Dee. Owen.