Friday, April 13, 2012

The power of our hands

Very few of us are able to say we have experienced a true 'life-saving' moment in our existence. We throw around the phrase often enough, but many of us have truly never experienced another human being saving or sustaining our life.  I have been thinking a lot about the people who were called in to 'save' Declan's life.  I think of the police officers who arrived first, walking into the house and seeing a baby, unresponsive... I've learned that both men were fathers... I know they are trained to be able to separate their emotions from their work, but I can't imagine they didn't instantly think of their own children.  I am sure they were even more aware of what was at risk... not only the loss of a child, but also the heartbreak of his parents.  I think of the men and women on the emergency response team... how thankful I am for them.... they gave me the gift of time, precious hours to spend with my angel.  I remember walking into the ER and seeing them performing CPR on my baby... it wasn't crazy, it wasn't hectic and chaotic, it was almost, in a sense, peaceful.  One person held the breathing tube in place, while other men took turns doing chest compressions....their fingers wrapped around Dex's body, tucked under his chest and only their thumbs moving up and down.  Their hands kept my son's heart beating.  He was alive simply because other people, with their own hands, were manually beating his heart for him.  I want to touch those hands... I want to have those hands cradle my face, I want to pull those hands into my chest, close to my heart... I want to hold the hands that in essence held my son's heart. I also want to know why they did CPR for two hours.  Is that typical? I was sitting there holding Declan's hand, sitting on the edge of my seat, preparing myself to hear the declaration of his death at any moment, but it never came... they didn't stop.... I don't know why, but am SO thankful they didn't.  They will never know what they did for us... for my son.  In all this thought about hands, I can't help but think of my own... nothing significant about them. They are getting older and showing signs of their age... a few sun spots, a few scars, but nothing special... I never stopped to think about all they have held, or done... I look at them now and am overwhelmed with emotion. When my children were born, the doctors gave my children right to me...I was able to feel life from the very first moment. My hands trembled with exhaustion and the anticipation of feeling my babies for the first time... I stroked their little faces, I touched their little feet... I delighted in exploring the precious little body sleeping in my arms. As my babies grew, my hands continued to touch wonderfulness, they experienced life at its fullest... from hugs, baths, and blowing noses to dancing and playing army and barbies! Now I look at my hands and see not only the new beginnings I was so lucky to experience, but also endings. Declan died in my arms, my hands stroking every inch of him. I held death with my hands. What once was a scary thought... touching death... no longer was a concern. I would have had it no other way, my hands needed to be there, both for him and for myself. Declan and I... from beginning to end, from 'once upon a time' to 'the end'.  How lucky was I? I was the first person that held him when he entered this world and I was the last person to hold him as he left it... My hands did that. I did that. 

Jewel ~ Hands
Fitting song for my thoughts as of late.... 


  1. I instantly thought of the movie "Steel Magnolias" when reading this post. It is the quote where the mother says at her daughter's funeral, "I realize as a woman how lucky I am. I was there when that wonderful creature drifted into my life and I was there when she drifted out. It was the most precious moment of my life." I think that quote, and your words in this post, said it all.

  2. I remember that now that you say that. I LOVED that movie growing up. I should watch it again, but I have no doubt it would have a different impact!