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.
Owen’s small footprints made quite an impression in many people’s heart. I remember vividly watching for updates. Melissa we all mourned with you and Doug when Owen died and without the firefighter his legacy wouls still live on but he also gave a tremendous gift and life to two others. Now that is an amazing gift.
Melissa you are blessed to have that fire fighter in your life, and the Fire Station is also blessed to have your family in their lives. I’m sure your appreciation of them made an impact. Even though they were just doing their job, sometimes it’s a hard, traumatic job for them too. I just started working in the administration office of a fire station recently, and I’m just now realizing that the firefighters are not super-human gods but just people, with real, human emotional responses to a tough job. Thanks for sharing your story.
You are amazing! Even I remember the news like it was yesterday.I am reminded of Owen multiple times a day because we named our fighter after the bravest warrior we know. When I sing the ni-night song we say Bentley Owen goes ni-night and not a day goes by that I don’t remember. My kids know where their middle names came from and why they are special and why Bentley’s is even more special. You and your journey, and your faith have made me a stronger person. I pray for you and thank you daily for sharing Owen with us. He is an amazing little boy! Sending hugs today and always.
My trio are just a few months younger than yours, and I remember learning of your precious Owen just after this terrible day 2 years ago. I have thought about your family often in the last two years and prayed for you when I’m reminded of you. To be honest it’s been awhile since I’ve thought about it or checked your blog though, but somehow today I very randomly came upon it again and now seeing that it’s the anniversary of when Owen went to the hospital, I think there’s a reason I happened upon it today. It may be as simple as just letting you know that I’ll continue to think about your family and pray for healing, and that your story reminds me to be patient through the hard days, hold my kids tight and thank God for every day we have together.
What a kind thing to do, to take a meal to the firemen. A lot of the fire crews that were at the accident that killed Jason and his best friend came to Jason’s memorial service. It meant a lot to me. I’m sure part of it was their own need to deal with processing the deaths they had just seen, but I was thankful – and still am thankful – for the difficult jobs they do every day.
God Bless you and your family.
God Bless u and your family…Owen’s Story will never ever be forgotten, He was such a Warrior!!!
I don’t know you, Mel… but I read every time you update. The world joins together in a GIANT BEAR HUG with you on this day, and every day… While I have never lost, I am still a mother to my own three children – and we have this in common… I grieve with you for the loss of Owen, and I celebrate with you in all that he has brought to your life. God continues to bless you, sweet friend. Much love from Texas!
I have thought of you often….you and your boys. Keeping you close in prayer always. I know that God is watching over you as your Owen is. i read your post and yes, there is a verse in the bible that says “Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted. Matthew 6:4. You are such a strong Mom. They say “God doesn’t give you more than you can handle”….i believe that ” God makes you strong enough to handle what you need to”. You are stronger for walking this journey, and other women are stronger for your sharing your journey. please continue to feel the support and love from all of us.
Hugs to you Melissa,
Psalm 121~ I lift up my eyes to the hills, where does my help come from….