Monday, January 7, 2013

Born to Heaven

My mom's mom, my grandma, Ruby, died on Christmas Day.

I was able to see her on the Sunday before Christmas, sing to her, hear her laugh and feel her feet wiggle while I held them when we sang one of our last songs.

It was just my mom and me singing while my Uncle Roy and my dad listened in and chuckled along with us when we could get Grandma to laugh.

That's one of the many endearing attributes of my Grandma Ruby that I remember very vividly. She LOVED kids. Thank goodness I was a kid once because that is when she loved me most (insert laughter here). She liked to make people laugh, smile and anything in between.

There are so many stories to tell about my Grandma Ruby. Her life was a never ending string of service. She took pictures for the whole town of Highland, where my mom grew up. She documented everything. Served everyone. And loved everyone. She was so kind and so full of joy.

There was one time in her life, I know only because of stories I was told, that my Grandma Ruby was very sad. And that day was the day she lost her 14th and 15th children, James and John. She wanted to hold her twin baby boys so badly but she was too sick to even hold them when they were born and then they were buried.

Two baby boys born to heaven.

So when I went to see my Grandma, for what I knew in my heart to be the last time, I actually wasn't sad for her at all. I was so happy for her to be able to see her baby boys again and be reunited with her hubby, her Freddy.

I knew what my grandma was thinking as we sang "Christmas Time Without You." My mom, at first, didn't want to sing it because it seemed kind of sad to sing a song about being away from the one you love when, indeed, grandma would be without her Freddy this Christmas. But, I jokingly said, "oh mom, maybe she knows something we don't know and she'll be with grandpa on Christmas," and my grandma wiggled her feet and I felt the smirk on her face.

She knew she would be reunited with her husband on Christmas Day. In fact, I loved what my cousin, Rochelle, mentioned on Facebook the day she passed about our Grandma Ruby and Grandpa Fred, even after all these years not having to spend a Christmas apart.

So why was my heart heavy that day?

Well, it had felt heavy for about a week because my brother, Aaron, and his wife, Chelsea had lost their baby boy just 5 days before the night I visited my Grandma on her death bed.

It brought just a little closer to my heart how my Grandma Ruby must have felt never having been able to hold her sweet little boys here on earth.

Chelsea was 23 weeks along.

Chelsea and I had been talking the week previous about the news of my sister Kirsten's baby, Zac, just getting the Fragile X test results back. Chelsea informed me that she, too, was worried about their own son about to be born because her doctor was concerned that he, I'll call him Angel on this blog, was not growing adequately so they were going to keep a close eye on her and the baby. She didn't want to make this public knowledge to our family because she didn't want to worry anyone during the same time that we were all grieving the diagnosis of another child in the family with Fragile X.

Exactly one week from the day of hearing about Zac's diagnosis I received a call from my mom and I heard the worry/tears in her voice. I knew immediately that Chelsea and Aaron had lost their baby.

I had felt a strange feeling all day and just knew what it all meant when my mom called.

I had noticed earlier that Chelsea had tried to call me but I was on the phone taking care of some Fragile X Association of Utah stuff.

I tried in vain, all day, to get a hold of them. I knew something that might help them.

You've heard me mention it in a previous post, the organization, "Now I Lay Me Down To Sleep."

I had been wanting to become a photographer for them but just hadn't been able to because of my camera, at the time, not working. I wished so bad, now, that I had been on the ball and had been trained and admitted into the organization because I so badly wanted to take pictures for Chelsea and Aaron.

I finally sent Aaron a desperate message telling him to call me.

I told him all about NILMDTS and told him I knew it would be hard at the time, but they would be glad, later that they did it.

After much thought Aaron and Chelsea decided to do it and I got them in contact with their photographer, Heidi. I asked Heidi, if it was OK with Aaron and Chelsea, if I could be there to learn about what she does and how she does it.

When Aaron and Chelsea invited me to be there, I never knew just what an amazing, awe inspiring, heart wrenching, gut wrenching and sacred experience it would be.  I felt so privileged to be a part of it.

I am going to tell you my perspective of the experience while trying to keep it ... tactful.

Aaron had only seen Angel briefly after the delivery.

Chelsea had not.

She wanted to wait until I was there.

She and I were both shocked.

Nothing could prepare us for how a 23-week-old baby would look.

He was so tiny.


But, real.

So, totally and completely perfect.

Just, tiny.

Too tiny to survive this life.

In fact when the nurse brought Angel in I thought she was bringing in the blankets they were going to wrap him in. When she began to unfold these little blankets I saw this small little face.

Every detail was there. His, sweet, pudgy little nose (looked just like his sister Yaya's), forehead, round eyes, and his perfect little lips (that looked like they would soon grow to be like his mom's).

Then as Heidi, the photographer, took him to get him ready for pictures she peeled back the blanket further and revealed his adorable little hands and his perfectly perfect feet.

23 weeks.

He was not just a fetus, or a peanut or a thing.

He was a baby.

A sweet and charming little one.

His body was very frail and delicate and a wonder to see.

I loved him.

His strong spirit was there in the room and there is no denying there was life.

At the end of the photo session I had the privilege of holding him.

It didn't even feel like I was holding anything because he was so light, only around 7 ounces.

And then I held his hand on my finger.


On my finger.

His hand was so tiny but every detail was there.

Right there laying delicately on my finger.

I smiled at him.

And then I cried.


As I thought of how I would never hold his hand again.

On the way home I cried some more because I ached knowing that Chelsea and Aaron were aching. They would never hold him again. They would never raise him. They would never watch him crawl, walk, talk, go to Kindergarten... all of it. They would never get that chance here on earth.

Their baby boy was born to heaven that day.

That's where he will be.

That's where they will see him some day when their life here on earth is done.

I am sure my Grandma Ruby was there to wish him a Merry Christmas.

If you want to know more about what I believe
about eternal families you can learn about it by clicking here.

1 remarks:

Nurse Heidi said...

Beautifully written, Rachael. It is indeed a privilege to be in the presence of these angels.