When we experience a deeply personal we can forget others share it with us. Sometimes first hand and others in a vicarious manner.
In our hurt, we fail to see the damage done to those around us. Whether from the shared experience or the consequence of our misery and suffering.
Pain pulsates outward from the source attempting to wound those it comes in contact with. Love, too, has a similar effect. Perhaps, a more powerful vibration with continuous ripples lapping at the feet of every path it encounters.
I’ve seen both the painful fallout and the loving riptide of David’s story. It’s why I share the words of others. They were the impetus to mending this mom’s broken heart. Besides, I’m much more fond of the tides of love.
Many of my days were made better by kind emails and letters from friends and family. I, especially, liked receiving notes from people regarding what David had done for them or how he'd changed their lives. It made concrete, for me, his purpose.
On a number of occasions I’d run into people who knew little of what had occurred and in their enquiry I'd have the pleasure of telling them David's story. It comforted me to share his life with others. Most times the listener would cry. I didn’t cry. I was too proud of him and was filled with so much love a sense of happiness filled me and I could speak of him as if the story ended much differently. In one particular case I ran into someone who had read my blog. She was a nurse at the local hospital. To hear her and the other nurses had been reading my blog, cheering David on and excitedly awaiting his arrival was so sweet. They, too, mourned his passing and were saddened to never have had the chance to meet and care for him. That touched me. It also made me proud of our healthcare system, one where the medical staff genuinely care for their patients.
During the time following David’s death I received hundreds of texts, emails and Facebook messages. I read every one of them. There were a few themes that ran throughout the messages. I compiled a number of excerpts from letters and messages I received. For whatever reason, these few messages made an impression on me.
From our nurses and medical staff:
"I enjoyed my time with David and your family and feel privileged to have shared him in a small way."
"I am so sorry for your loss. David was an amazing little guy. His time here was short but he was loved lots!"
"What an honour it was to have known and cared for David. He was a strong boy whose sweet character shone through everyday. He will always be remembered."
"David will remain as special in my heart as he is to you."
"I think of David and your family often. Even though those 2 days were extremely hard I am grateful I was able to be there for your family and for David. You were all so strong and brave. You are all in my thoughts and prayers and I will never forget your family or David. Remember that David touched the lives of many people in the 2 short months he was with us. I will always remember his big eyes looking at me."
"Words cannot express the depth of sadness at the loss of David. He was such a strong little boy, with just enough spunk in him to endear himself to everyone who met him. I will never forget that sweet smile and eye roll he gave me after peeing on me through the incubator door! I feel very privileged not only to have been able to primary David, but to have gotten to know your family. You are truly amazing, in the depth of concern and love you showed not only for each other, but for the families around you. You have made a significant impact on our nursery, and none of you will be forgotten. As you mourn the loss of David, please find peace in the fact that you gave him all the love and opportunities you could, and trust that the strength that he displayed everyday runs also through you, and that together you can accomplish almost anything. Sincerely, and with a heart sad for your loss."
How he changed lives:
"David Onyango – the little man who changed my life! David was born to you at a time when I was going through a part of my life where I needed to learn something very important... things which are life lessons for me. His life - the everyday miracles surrounding him, and his eventual passing cemented those things for me in a very significant and special way - maybe one day we'll get to share that. But it's the reason why I say He changed my life. I am better, wiser - for him having been in the world."
"I want to thank you for sharing baby David. He has changed my life in so many ways... I feel like he found the switch to the street light on my dark road."
"Your little man has touched my heart and many many peoples! You must be so proud of him, he is a fighter!! He is an inspiration."
How he restored faith:
"You and your family have been in my prayers everyday since David was born. I actually started praying again because of it."
"David helped give me back my faith and belief. My pregnancy had left me with a lot of anger but seeing the miracle that David was made me realize God is so big and so powerful. Thank-you for that gift, David! He also brought our family closer together. The first time I ever saw my husband cry was the night David died. My mom and I were also able to bond through our grief. David has also taught us to be thankful everyday for our [children]. We are especially thankful to David for reminding us how lucky we are. David taught us to believe in miracles. David is a miracle. Finally, I will be forever grateful to David because he brought the world jungle balls."
Words carry more than meaning. In the heartfelt letters shared with our family, they provided the stepping stones to healing, an opportunity for a mother to feel proud of her child, a connectedness to our community, empathy and most importantly, love.