Last Monday, after my post about our final moments with Hudson in the hospital, Jessica sent me an email describing some of those same moments from her perspective. When I read it, I felt, as always, so incredibly grateful to have her in my life, because even though she did not realize it, she captured much of what I felt about those moments but did not manage to express exactly. For even though I mentioned it briefly, what I think I failed to capture when I wrote that post was that along with the terrible sadness of those moments, there came a great sense of peace. Of all the horrible moments in the hospital, those are the only ones associated with any sense of peace—every other memory still fills me with anxiety and ties my stomach into knots. Thankfully, my best friend saw and conveyed what I had forgotten. With her permission, I want to share her message with you. (She told me that sometimes when she reads what I’ve written about her in the blog, she comes off as a deeper person than she imagines herself being—hmm…see what you think).
This is one of my favorite blog entries you’ve done....
Yes, it is very sad and it does make me cry as everyone said... but I just read it over again after reading it the first time last night and thinking about it a lot over night... and I cried again... but there is something very uplifting and positive and wonderful about it too... the love between a mother and a child is an unbelievable bond and there is no more powerful image of that bond than the position/hold you describe.
The image that comes to my mind from that time in the hospital... after we had all drifted out of the room and left you and Ed in there to have your final time, several of us stood by the nurses’ station waiting. When you finally came out you weren't crying, if anything you had a look of joy on your face. You told me how absolutely wonderful it felt to hold her like that. You said that it just felt perfect. At that one moment you had a measure of peace. It doesn't take away all the unpeaceful moments that proceeded and followed and continue to follow and haunt you today. But for that instant Hudson was helping you rest in peace. And as surprised as I was initially to see that response I totally got it... I have held my children that way so many times and it never fails to calm me and bring me peace. Although it’s not a familiar pose with our parents, I had so wanted to hold my little mom like that. In those last days, I kept pulling her whole upper body up off the bed and into my embrace to try to feel that. Unfortunately she was never fully disconnected like Hudson was... she had the breathing tube pulled but everything else remained attached... if I had known then I would have asked for that... just to be able to hold her fully one more time (as she has held me so many times).
And I can’t tell you how many times in Elliot’s first year of life I sat in my glider rocker and let that little body snuggled in (fortunately my second was more snuggly than my first who was more like your first) provide me all the peace I could take from it. And you will have that again and the penguin will benefit from it as much as you - a gift from Hudson to you both.
And there is also no doubt the comfort and peace it brought Hudson to be in that position for her last days of awareness of this world. There is a reason why any child who is ever hurt, sick or feels bad or sad immediately wants to be in that position - tucked into mom’s safe arms - where somehow, no matter how wrong the world actually is, it feels ok... and warm and safe. I too am so glad you had that time with her - for her sake and yours.
Another thought I have to say... you should feel no regret about bustling around the room, packing things up, while Hudson’s body lay on the bed. That too I remember being surprised about at the time... I was fully prepared to pack up that room without you so you wouldn’t “have to”... but you wanted to. That child, that sweet little body, was your girl... why should you feel awkward being around her body even after the spirit had left it?... that body had been part of your body... that spirit is still part of you... that was the impression it gave me then - not a callous disregard for a body in the room, but rather a very healthy approach to death... a respect for the beautiful life that had been, and the body that in that moment still was.
I can’t tell you how many times in the past 6 months I've thought of your expression and words when you walked out of that room after holding her for the last time - amid all the horrible images of those days, that is one of peace... one I like to go back to... one I think of every single time I hold my children that way... and wish you could still be holding Hudson that way.
Thank you for this post. I hope at times it will bring you peace... not just sadness.
I love you,
Thank you, Jess. You can be certain that I will come back to this message again and again to be reminded.