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A Last Goodbye: A Letter to Our Son

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I felt like I’d been telling you goodbye from the moment we met.

As soon as you were born, the nurse held you between your daddy and me for kisses, and then you were gone — on a plane to a big city two hours away to “The Wizard of Oz,” as I used to call him, the big heart surgeon who was going to fix your special little heart.

The next time I saw you, you were 2 days old. No scars yet. No oxygen. Perfect and pink. I finally got to snuggle you, with wires and lights beaming under your little blanket. We kissed you and sang to you. Waited for a plan.

Then it was time to say goodbye again, for your first heart surgery. I remember my knees buckling beneath me as they wheeled you away. You were so small in a sea full of people, taking you to the Wizard.

That was the first surgery. We said that same goodbye eight more times in five months. It didn’t become easier, just different. We knew what to expect. The knots in your stomach. The gut wrenching pain of knowing your child was going to endure pain. Praying the phone in the waiting room didn’t ring too early or take too long to ring with an update. Counting the minutes. Hours. Finally getting to see you being wheeled back down the hall, so small in a sea of people. Praying this time, this time is it. This is the last one. No more trips to Oz.

But then the final goodbye came. It was a goodbye we decided on together, you included. You couldn’t fight anymore. This was something you couldn’t fight, and I couldn’t bring myself to make you anymore. I held you as you floated away. The agony of feeling you child’s soul leave their body is everlasting. It’s embedded in your being.

I’m so glad I got to meet you. I was there for all your moments, all your triumphs, all your defeats. That was our last goodbye on earth, but I know one day we will be together and will never have to say goodbye again.

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Originally published: November 13, 2015
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