"She just had her first birthday. Look at how pretty she is! That's her older brother..."
One of my colleagues was showing me pictures of her children. Beautiful faces, awash in flushed cheeks and joy and smiles. Mom described for me how blessed she felt that her little Miss J lived. She was the miracle baby, she said.
Mom tells me about her baby girl: Born a year ago at 28 weeks. She was just over one pound at birth weight. She shares her story: Miss J was in the NICU for two months. Her experience of the dark, whispery ambiance punctuated by sudden beeping of vital sign alarms filled her soul with fear. Her comfort was her parental companions and the continued hope that Miss J would survive all this. Her darkest day was when Miss J had a "brady event" - when her breathing and heart stop - common for preemies. This usually means simply an extra dose of caffeine for the little one.
The NICU is a strange, sacred place. I've spent many dark-ish days there, written about one such interaction here and used more than one interaction in my case-studies and supervision sessions. It's impossible to be in that environment and not have it effect me at the cellular level.
Which is why, when my colleague shared her joy of Miss J's first birthday, I felt a redemption. I sensed a familiarity with her story. Then I realized it was the anniversary of my first preemie death-experience in the NICU. It was one year ago that a precious little 28-week old little Mr. M went into arrest. The evening moved in slow motion as I companioned little Mr. M's mom through his death, a ritual washing and blessing, and unspeakable intimate moments that will remain in my soul for ever.
In my conversation with my colleague today, I felt a timed-release breath of gratitude for Mr. M, for that moment one year ago, and a sense of perspective.
Sacred moments, indeed - the very edge of life and death on one thread.
How are you experiencing time-release sacredness in this moment?
...Then Simeon blessed them and said to Mary, his mother: "This child is destined to cause the falling and rising of many in Israel, and to be a sign that will be spoken against, so that the thoughts of many hearts will be revealed. And a sword will pierce your own soul too." Luke 2:34-35