It was entirely possible that I could have died as a newborn. My heart defect is a lethal one if proper surgical intervention is not immediately available. If I had been born even a few decades earlier (possibly even 5-10 years earlier), or in a country that doesn't have modern medical care, I likely would not be here now. I've known this about myself since an early age.
I'm extremely lucky.
But what if I weren't? What if events had gone differently and my mom and dad were the ones going to the funeral home and picking out an urn, and pouring over the grainy, faded pictures of their first child. Baby Emily who did not make it. Baby Emily who had a heart defect and died.
Perhaps it's a morbid thing to consider, but when I think about life turning out like that, my one shining thought is:
I hope my parents would have gone on to be happy.
Because really, after I died, that would have been the most important thing. I would not be there to miss anything or feel pain or sadness...so I hope that the hurt they had for me, and for themselves, would, in time, fade. I would not have wanted my death to crush them. I would not want to be the sole condition on which their future happiness rested. That's not a fair condition to put upon anyone. It amounts to: "I will only be happy if you never leave".
I have been thinking about this lately because we have hope once again, that we might get to bring home a baby this year. And, although I'm hoping with everything I have that things go well and are wonderfully uneventful in terms of medical care and pregnancy progression...I also know they might not. Bad things happening to you once, does not give you a free ride the second time.
As much as I am hoping and praying things go well, I do not want to base all my future happiness upon this little embryo. It wouldn't be mentally healthy or fair to that little bundle of cells. "Little embryo...if you don't make it I'll just die!!!" That statement is neither true nor fair. I cannot make either Aidan or the new baby the only source of my contentment and mental well-being. Yes, I was a mess after Aidan died (who wouldn't be??), but his death did not take away all the other joys in my life. I must remember this. I will still be Emily no matter what happens in the next few weeks, months or years. I can and will have joy in my life. It did not all go away when Aidan died.
So, if baby Emily had died all those years ago, I would have wanted to leave my parents with this message:
I love you.
Have you been happy since your child died? Do you feel it is even possible? What does "moving on" or "letting go" mean to you?