Monday, September 10, 2012

The gift of Empathy

I've met many wonderful people throughout our journey.  Many of those people have come into our lives, stayed a moment and although are still there for support if/when needed, have gone about their own grieving.  That is one of the funny things about grieving... I want to be around others who know what grief over a child feels like, I want to be around a couple that can relate to our experience... but at the same time, we can't grieve "for" each other... I feel their pain, but can't take their pain away... we grieve in parallel... there is something comforting in knowing that.  We met this family this weekend (actually we met multiple families this weekend) at a golf tournament/benefit in memory of Bennett and in support of the CJ Foundation for SIDS.  Bennett's mother told us her story... obviously similar to ours, but very different at the same time.  A story she told has been replayed in my mind multiple times since meeting her... she received a call on February 28th, 2011 that Bennett had been found unresponsive at daycare while taking his morning nap (sounds so very familiar to me) and that she and her husband needed to get to the hospital as soon as they could.  They took at cab from their downtown Minneapolis offices and while in route to the hospital they received a called that Bennett did not make it.   She talked about looking at a restaurant they were passing and she could see people eating, she looked at the cars around her and people were laughing on their cell phones... she kept telling herself that he couldn't be gone because she wouldn't be able to be alive if he was gone... people wouldn't be laughing or eating.... the world would surely stop if her son wasn't alive anymore... but the world went on, as hers was shattering and in a sense, just beginning.  (A very familiar feeling)  Upon arriving at the hospital, her and her husband went to his room, not knowing what to expect, in total disbelief and found a nurse rocking Bennett in the rocker.   He was swaddled and when she noticed them, she asked calmly, "Are you Bennett's mommy and daddy? We've been waiting for you." as she handed him over... looking like a sleeping angel.  They were able to spend some quality time with him before heading home to start their journey through the unthinkable and unimaginable pain that comes after losing a child. I'm not sure what it is about their story that I have been able to stop thinking of... I think maybe it is how impressed I am that a nurse stayed with Bennett until his parents arrived... never leaving him alone.  How loving and caring she must be...   I remember when we were at Children's hospital... I never left Dex's room unless someone was in there with him.  Even after he passed away and we were leaving I remember talking to the nurse and begging her not to leave him alone and she assured me he would be loved and taken care of while in her care.  Why did that matter?! I don't know... but it did.  I think because even though he was no longer with us, he was a baby... he is my baby and you would never leave a baby alone.  I know Bennett's mother thinks of this nurse as their angel and I am so thankful for her, for them!  It was such a pleasure listening to her talk, crying with her and sharing Declan's story with her... and knowing there are people out there who 'get it'... they can't take our pain away, but they can help support us through it.

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