Life Is Just So Daily

Monday, July 03, 2006

7/2/6....Happy Birthday, Riley.....

Sunday would have been Riley's 3rd birthday.

So, of course, yesterday it was really on my mind. It had been for a few days...

We went to Camp Wanica this past weekend. One year ago when we were there, we were celebrating Riley's 2nd birthday...his very last birthday. And we had no idea.

And yesterday I just spent a little time in the nursery by myself, rocking in my rocker.

The day of Riley's funeral, I was up at like 4-something in the morning & just started crying. I was crying so hard in bed that I woke Damon...he didnt know what to do....I went to the nursery & just sat in the rocker, and rocked myself, & cried & cried about Riley. And then came the contractions. Or did the contractions come before I went into the nursery? I dont remember now.
I just know that throughout that whole day---I was having them about every 30 minutes to an hour. Not super-regular, & not close enough together. Damon didnt want me to go to the funeral b/c we'd be so far away from the hospital, but I couldnt not-go. It was September 11th.

My sister told my mom that she's just so afraid that people will forget Riley.

I'll never forget Riley!
He changed me.
He changed me on the day he was born. I had never witnessed a birth before...I was there the very moment he came into this world & took his very first breath. I remember telling my sister that it was so gross, but so cool! In the hospitals where I've worked---I've been in the room before the pushing---during the pushing---and after the pushing...but never during the delivery.
So--he changed me.

Here's something funny that Riley taught me: When feeding a baby, you need the G.I. Joe Kung-Fu Grip on the jar of baby food. Once, when I was feeding him, he got excited & flung his little arms. Well, the top of his hand hit the bottom of the baby food jar, and baby food went EVERYWHERE! The jar went flying, the spoon went flying, the food may have even streaked the ceiling. What a mess! And of course, Tiffany just laughed at me....and so did Riley.

Riley was huggy (if that's a word???), cuddly, sweet... he would stand at your feet & look up at you with his little face... always trusting & looking for fun. I cant remember a single time that he was ever too busy being a baby or little boy to give me a kiss or hug when I asked for it.

My favorite memory...and the one that makes me the saddest, really...is when I would leave my sister's house & she & Riley & Trystan would sit on the top step of the front steps & wave "bye" to me, and blow me kisses. He'd be sitting there in a diaper, bare-foot...just waving & smiling. And we'd give anything to go back & have that moment over again...to etch every detail about that moment into our brains & hearts forever. If we could just get one more big hug, or one more big wet Riley kiss!

And before Riley passed away, he & Trystan would tell me either: "God loves Nana's baby", or "Jesus loves Nana's baby". (It's terrible...I cant remember if they said "God" or "Jesus") Anyway...they would say that b/c I was big, fat, pregnant, and they knew that a baby was growing in Nana's belly. That's what they call me..."Nana".
I'm their aunt...not that grandmother...but it really all started with Allen when he was little. He couldnt say my name, so he called me "Nana". Then when he went off to school--he started shortening it to "Non".

Anyway---I was/am their Nana.

When Riley died it changed me too.
I had "worked" a lot of infant/child deaths in the ER...but this was so incredibly different.... being on the inside of the tragedy...just different.
When Gage was born it made Riley's death...different...harder...
Life can be so short. We never know how short it may be.
I'll never forget Riley.
Every time Gage masters another task...I think about Riley & him mastering that task. I went to the ocean--and I thought, "Riley never saw the ocean. Trystan has still never seen the ocean. Gage hasnt seen the ocean." I think about him all the time. I think, what would he have been like if he'd grown up? Would he have gotten married & had kids? What kind of job would he have had? Would he have liked school? Would he have always been that sweet??? I think about him every single day.

And sometimes I think about him being alone...dying alone. And it's a horrible, horrible, horrible thought. I think about him going to the morgue, and I think about them doing an autopsy on him, and I think about him being buried, alone. I think about that stuff, and I know it's all so morbid, and it just hurts to think about it, but my mind goes there, and I have these images of him...his little barefeet in his bluejeans & blue shirt...in his big-boy underwear because he was working on potty-training. And I think about him being all alone in a coffin, and I feel terrible, and sad, and angry, and I sometimes understand that God is in charge & has a plan & a reason for everything...but sometimes I am just so mad that his little life ended like this---all alone. He was just a baby, and he was all alone in the end, and I sometimes I just dont understand why God would do that to him.

So...to my sister, I promise, I will never, ever, ever forget Riley.
Riley was born on a Wednesday. It was July 2, 2003. I was there at his delivery. My sister wore a hospital gown; Riley wore his birthday suit; and I wore a black linen dress & wore my hair in a low ponytail (as I often do...). They had a whole crew of people there because they didnt expect Riley to be as big as he was, and thought he may need some help breathing when he got here... Well, he didnt. He was just fine! Crying, and wiggling...he really surprised everyone.

Riley died on a Tuesday. He was 2 years, 2 months, and 4 days old. He died 9/6/2005. I was at home when I was told...I was wearing pajama pants & a t-shirt when I got the news from my aunt. My house was a mess b/c I was on bedrest, and not expecting company. I was 17 days away from having my own son.

I'll never forget what was said at Riley's funeral...and I know I've repeated this many a time...but I think about it every day...
"We cant do anything to bring Riley back here, but we can live the kind of life that will take us to where he is."
Happy Birthday, Riley.

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2 Comments:

At 11:05 AM , Blogger auntie tipper said...

He said 'God loves Nana's baby'. When we started prayers with the boys, it always started with 'God loves Mommy, God loves Daddy,..." and so on with their family and everyone they ever met. When you got pregnant, we did not know if it was a boy or a girl. The boys could not say 'nephornini' (remember when I was pregnant with Allen?).
My biggest hurt is that he died alone. When we found him, he was sitting in his car seat. His little hands were in fists with the pinkie on the bottom, and the thumb on top. Now that you have a little toddler, you know that when they hold your hand, they actually hold 1 or 2 fingers. That is how his hands looked. I truly believe that even though he was by himself, he was not alone. I like to hope that his Aunts Jean and Nell, his Pepa, and his Papa (James' dad) were holding his hands to heaven.
There are alot of memories of that day that I wish I did not have. There are a lot of moments that I wish I could remember more clearly. Camp Wanika was bittersweet for me. I had a memory of him in every spot of the camp. I also remembered that his last moments with his extended family was to have a party. I remembered his laugh, his cousin Braelyn telling him exactly how to open his presents. I remember Mema down on the floor helping him to open some presents.
My biggest fear is that he will be forgotten. He wasn't here long, nor did he save the world. His biggest achievement was that his coming into the world brought his mommy and daddy back together, his unexpected delivery renewed my faith in God, his unexpected departure reminded me of how precious every moment is.
He may not be remembered by the world, but he will be remembered by every person his smile touched, and that is more people than I even know about.
Thank you Nana for this very special message. I cried for the loss, and laughed when I remember you in the delivery room. Thank you for remembering Riley, and reminding me of the moments that I thought I had forgotten.
I love you.

 
At 9:59 AM , Blogger mayab said...

Hi, I was browsing the web looking for pictures for my presentation, actually about breastfeeding,but the picture I liked on your site was baby standing by the fridge.I am RN,IBCLC. I am asking for permission to use that picture if possible Thank you
Maya Bolman

 

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