I remember his breaths, his chest slowly rising and falling as we walked around the dining room where light streamed in from half drawn blinds. I was captivated by his tiny features, the way his lips pursed and his newborn scent. I remember feeling afraid. Here I was, a first time mom holding this beautiful, fragile and precious life so vulnerable and dependent on ME and like most first time moms bringing home a newborn felt scary, but one with a critical heart defect? One who just had open heart surgery a mere 8 days earlier? Terrifying. “Would I catch the warning signs if something was wrong? Would he be ok?” I asked myself.
I remember taking the photo that morning. We had done this routine just about every day, but that morning was particularly hard. I woke up feeling doubtful about my ability to handle everything. We had experienced so much heartache and it was far from over. I looked down and saw how he melted into the crook of my arm. He trusted me, he loved me, and he NEEDED me. I decided then that I wouldn’t allow fear to steal our joy. I wouldn’t allow our suffering to be meaningless. We would make light of this, we would fight and we would not lose heart. I took the picture so I wouldn’t forget. I hope I never forget… That while our pain may be momentary the lessons they leave behind are the ones I will fight to hold on to.
Once you’ve experienced darkness, only then can you truly understand and appreciate the light.