A while back, (probably over a year now) I received a tender e-mail from the sweetest of young ladies. Fifteen year old Sadie had a writing assignment for one of her high school classes, and she asked me if my Jack could be the subject. The assignment was to write about a person who had an influence on your life. Sadie gave me permission to share her essay. It is as follows:
I’ve never met him. He’s never met me. Yet, Jack is one of the most influential human beings in my life today. His life began on November 18, 2008, and ended December 29, 2008, it would seem silly that a child with such a short life could do so much to change my day to day life, yet it is so true. Jack was the son of one of my mom’s best friends. We were so excited for her, when we heard she was going to have her second child. For all she knew, for all her husband knew, and for all the doctors knew, Jack was perfectly healthy in the womb; minutes after this great child was born, before his mother could hold him, he was rushed to emergency care. Not once in his life, did he laugh or smile. He soon was connected to a very complicated machine. It would take his blood; coagulate it outside of Jack’s body, then put it back into his body. Here is a blog entry, about the process:
“This afternoon, Jack will be taken off of the ECMO machine. There are several reasons:
– each day that passes poses higher risk of bleeding in the brain
– his cannula site (or the place where the tubes enter his body) is leaking more and more each day (meaning blood is oozing out of his neck […]”
Of course all of this devastated me and my family, but it was on the day of Jack’s funeral, when it hit me. It’s also the day that Jack became one of the most influential human beings in my life. Jack and his family taught me humility. I learned that I have been blessed with every day of living. Every day of my life I need to be so grateful for another day on Earth. I shouldn’t complain, because things could be a lot worse. Jack taught me to not forget the love I have for my family. I thought if this happened to one of my four little siblings, I wouldn’t know what to do. So in a way, he taught me how to love and appreciate everything my family does. Jack taught how to be strong. When hard things happen, I can lean on people, like Jack’s family did. I’ve never met him. He’s never met me. Yet, Jack is one of the most influential human beings in my life, today.
I think about my Jack everyday. I miss him. I want to be chasing him around the house and dealing with all the delightful things that two year-olds bring to everyday life. Of course I remember him always. I am his mother. Some days I wish I could wear a sign that reads, “please tell me you also remember my son.” I know that as time continues to pass, he will likely be forgotten by many.
I know Sadie won’t forget Jack, and I am so grateful that he had such an influence on her life. She is an amazing girl, raised by an amazing mother. If my girls end up half as terrific as Sadie, then I will have accomplished a job well done. I don’t think she will ever know how much this essay meant to me. Very few people know will understand what it feels like to know that your child has been lost but not forgotten. Thank you Sadie for remembering.