Full disclosure, I’ve birthed four children and never made it to a single due date. All of them arrived early. Some more substantially than the others but never once did I mark a date with a big red circle and then get to that date.
You hear of women bemoaning the babies who’ve over extended their stay. Mom’s threatening eviction. Pleading for the sausage feet and kankles to subside.
I wasn’t one of those moms because each of my babes peaced early. David, exceedingly so.
I can imagine the due date as a type of milestone for expectant mothers. In a way it held a lot of hope for our family after David’s birth as it was the marker for which premature babies approach bluebird status.
Like I said, I’ve never reached a due date.
February 16th was David’s due date. When it arrived, I could hardly believe how quickly time passed. It had been a shocking four months since his birth.
Mya said, "Today was his due date? But he was born so long ago." Followed by raised eyebrows from Kiana and a single word: "Wow." Then Mya said, "I guess we were kind of lucky he was born so early because at least we got to meet him. Some people don't get to meet their babies."
Very sad but true.
I spent much of the day listening to music that reminded me of David. Josh and I watched the video montage we played at David's memorial. I also lit some lemon scented candles thoughtfully gifted to me. In our "remembering spot" I placed a candle for every baby whose family I’d come to know through the NICU that also experienced the death of their child: Brett, Tyr, Alexis, Naomi, Alex, Kavi, "Blackfoot," and Ollie. I also lit a candle for all the past, present and future babies of the NICU. It was a stark reminder of how many babies were lost to those I knew and cared for.
I still get teary eyed thinking of the visual. So much sadness represented in the flickering of those candles.
During the day I received messages from people and how they were remembering David and honouring him on that day. Some people intentionally thought of him and how he impacted their lives, some lit candles and others released balloons in his memory. All the remembering made me feel so blessed and loved by those who I call my friends and family.
As I thought of the day as being David's due date, I thought of all the expectations I had for the day and how those expectations are a glaring contrast of what transpired. I expected a healthy baby. A sweet bundle of joy brought home to live with the rest of the family. Not only did I have those expectations but I took them for granted. Not all babies are born when they should be. Not all babies are healthy. Sadly, not all babies go home.
Much of what we lost when David passed away was the potential for his life. Seeing him do all the things I dreamt and hoped for. Those dreams and hopes died with David. I lost a lifetime of his smiles, his successes and failures, his happiness and the joy I would feel in knowing him and all that he would become. That was stolen from our family.
The excitement I anticipated for that day had been replaced by sorrow. I felt sorry for David that he wasn't able to fully know Mya, Kiana and Joshua. They were so excited to have another sibling. They loved David so much. They still love him and miss him. I'm sorry he didn't have a chance to truly know the lifelong love of his dad. A man who’s a great father. A daddy who loves to tickle, cuddle and race with his kids to bed. I'm also sorry David didn't get to fully know me. My children are my life. He’ll always be a part of my life but I wish he could have felt it directly from me. The true breadth of my love. My overwhelming satisfaction in him. I am grateful we were given the time we had because I know he got a glimpse of our family - his family.
I hope he looks down on our lives and sees who we are and gathers how much he is loved and missed.
I excitedly await the day when we are reunited, where I hear the sound of his voice and feel the embrace of his hug. I wonder what his favorite color is? What's his best characteristic? I like to think it's kindness. I don't know why but it just emanated from him even as a small baby in an incubator.
I wanted to write a letter to David on his due date to say everything I felt for him but what does one say? Nothing written could truly convey the depth of love I had for him. No words would fully express my feelings or the pride a mother has for such a fighter. So I didn't write anything. I needed time.