And the waves crash down.


My little boy is gone. He passed away in his sleep this morning.

I keep swinging between forgetting and remembering.

So much of this was reminiscent of when we were in the hospital when he was born, it’s weird.

I was supposed to take him to my parents’ house today  so that he could get a haircut.

I woke up and saw a text from my mom, cancelling on me. I said, can we do it Wednesday? And she said she worked every day besides Sunday now (she used to have Wednesdays off).

I looked at the next text message, and it was my friend wishing me a good morning. I texted him back asking him what his plans were for this afternoon, as I have to work at 5 and was now not taking Noah for a haircut.

My next text message was from Caleb, and it said “Call me right away!”, sent 1.5 hours before. I assumed he was mad at me for something. I called him back and he didn’t answer. I was just texting him saying that I was sorry I had missed his call as I was sleeping in, when he called me back.

I thought he was joking. He said, I would never joke about something like that. I said, no, you wouldn’t. He said that the police were there, and victim services.

I told him that I would be right there.

Then I screamed in a tone that I have never heard from myself. I was hysterical. I could barely stand. I got my roommate to drive me to Caleb’s (Caleb had mentioned getting someone to drive me, I hadn’t even thought of that).

My logical brain took over and I posted on the Facebook group for my work, asking if someone could take my shift tonight and possibly tomorrow.

When we were told that he was being airlifted, my logical brain took over there too.  I knew that I *needed* to find the hospital social worker so that she could connect me with the social worker at the Stollery, and I *needed* to find my doctor so that I could be discharged early…. Very much like, “okay, I need to do this, this, and this, in this order”.

I also emailed his teacher. Because logical brain told me that he’s supposed to go to school tomorrow, so they should know. Because any time that he’s ever missed school, I’ve emailed the teacher to let her know. And I didn’t want to call her right before school tomorrow, she has to put on a happy face for two different classes of kids, I figured giving her some time would be the best. She’s been with Noah for three years now.

There was a woman there for some reason, I’m not sure what her role specifically was, but she handed me a folder with pamphlets/information booklets from the various local funeral homes in it. I opened it a little and the first one on the top was the same funeral home that the hospital had given us the number to when we brought him home. We chose that one.

I laid on  his bed with him. His face looked like so many stillbirth baby pictures I’ve seen. For some reason it never occurred to me that that’s what everyone’s face would look like. I pointed that out to the victim’s services lady (she accompanied me into his room), and she told me the scientific reasoning behind it. I said something like, “that’s the science,  Noah”.

My brain is weird.

I had to make a statement to the police. The policeman said that it is very common for children with his condition to pass like that. I knew that already, from years of being in HIE groups.

We had to decide if we wanted an autopsy or not. We chose not to.

They called the funeral home for us to arrange for his transfer.

I had to call my parents. My mother was hysterical. Caleb started crying again when I said those words.

I told my birth club. I remember telling them about when we took Noah off life support when we were in the hospital.

I told another group that I’m close to.

I told my HIE group.

The funeral home workers showed up.  My parents wanted to see him before he was moved. So the workers waited outside.

My parents and sister showed up.

The funeral home workers came inside again, and moved him. I watched them load him up and put him in their vehicle. They had wrapped him in the blankets he slept on. The blankets that his Auntie Olivia made for him before he was even born.

When he was born he was immediately sent to the NICU and I sent Caleb up with him while I got stitched up. This was the opposite. Caleb was downstairs and I went up and watched him go. I had to make sure he was safe.

I called a few of my friends. I messaged a few others.

My parents drove me home. I had a shower and ate. A friend came over.

Another one is staying with me tonight.

Today is bizarre. It feels like I have two different brains, and logical brain is the only one around right now. Emotional brain keeps coming in at random times and asking if this is real.

Logical brain is letting me function.

My sweet baby boy is gone.

 

 

 

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30 thoughts on “And the waves crash down.

  1. Olivia, there are no words to express
    My sorrow to you! Just know many people are here to support and love you!! Much love and hugs!

  2. What a beautiful write up Olivia. I cried like a baby. My heart is so broken for you and the family. Our thoughts and prayers are with you all.

  3. I am so sorry for your loss Olivia. My heart breaks for you. I may be far away, but if you need anything at all, don’t hesitate to ask. Anything.

  4. Olivia, we are McKenna’s parents. She still loved seeing and talking to Noah in the hallways of the school, even after she started Kindergarten. His smile was infectious. So sorry for your loss, and he will be missed. Our thoughts and prayers are with you.

  5. I’ve followed your story and Noah’s since Karen Brackett first mentioned you both, and I’m so unbelievably sorry to hear this. Take care of yourself, let the people in your life take care of you too. You, and everyone who loved Noah, are in my thoughts.

  6. God bless you and your family…when I read this I understand what life is about..We just got to cherish each moment with each day with our children xx💟

  7. I don’t know you, but my heart is breaking for you and your sweet Noah. God heal you in your time of sorrows and know he’s taken Noah home to give him his wings and to watch over you. Thoughts and prayers for you and your family.

  8. Olivia. I am weeping. My Mama heart breaks for you. I am so sure that Mikail and Noah are playing side by side at this very moment. That picture doesn’t fix things, but I hope it brings some measure of comfort. I am praying for you and I am so, so, so very sorry.

  9. I cannot find the words at this time to accurately express how much this saddens me. We only met once while I lived in GP at a moms and tots mall meeting one lunchtime 3 years ago, but I believe that Noah had found his wings and no longer is in pain. He will forever be missed and is an angel that God decided he needed by his side. Please look after yourself and keep the memories!!! They are the best!

  10. Olivia, I read your post on Sara Allsopp Lander’s Facebook just now. Sara is my niece by marriage and a treasured someone with whom I have shared grief stories. It breaks my heart to hear about Noah’s death and even though you are a stranger to me, today you feel like a sister. Ten years ago my 30 year old daughter went on vacation with her husband in Mexico where she “drowned.” So we have that bone crushing pain in common. For me it was like an earthquake forever leaving a cleft in time-the time before she died and the time after she died. And when the earth quaked, the dam I had used to trap femotions and pain broke flooded my life And frankly I feel lucky when I can tread..

    I came to hate people who gave me advice and platitudes, but I’m going to risk doing just that, because as awful as today is, the months and years ahead will be worse. My advice is to treat your grief, anger, nightmares and all sorts of emotional, spiritual and physical pains as sacred spaces to be honored. Grieve when, where, how, and how ever much you need. Absolutely, no one has the right to interfer ort ry to fix you. You will probably feel very alone, because in reality most people have no idea how you are feeling or what to do or say, If you are lucky, some friends and family will be present for you. Sadly, you will lose some friends and family because they can not be present for you. I offer you my shoulder, my ear and my hard earned experience. I will try to friend you on Facebook so if you choose, we can keep in touch. I am so very sorry, Olivia. Rosemarie O’Connor. rosemarieoconnor@yahoo.com, 12-205 Highland Crescent, Kitchener, ON N2M 5L6 CANADA

  11. Your little man has left footprints on all our hearts. We have met in passing a few times. Lean on family and friends. We will give you the strength and courage to get through each day.

  12. Olivia. I am so sorry to hear about your loss. I know it has been a long time since we spoke. But please know that if theres anything I can do I am here.
    Noah was a wonderful boy. He knew that he was well loved by both you and Caleb. I stand in awe of your courage and bravery over these last few years. Although his time was short, he touched many people. He was loved.

  13. I am so so very very sorry. I always enjoyed hearing about Noah on yr blog or in the groups I used to be in with you. You’re such a good mom to him. I’m glad he had two loving and devoted parents and he felt loved every minute of his life. May his memory be a blessing …Sara Savel

  14. Olivia,

    We do not know each other. But my beautiful daughter also had a severe brain damage due to HIE. And a little more than a month we lost her forever. It is heartbreaking, and it hurts so much. And I am so, so sorry for your loss.

    From what I can tell by your blog, you were fantastic parents to a beautiful little boy. And I am sure he touched and changed many, many lives. But it hurts, and you are missing him, and it is just horrible and unfair. My heart breaks for you.

    But you are not alone.

    Thinking of Noah and you,

    C

  15. Gratitude Doesn’t Erase Grief

    DECEMBER 08, 2014
    In your grief, have you been told by family and friends to be grateful? I imagine the answer is a resounding yes. If so, I’ll be very clear: we need to stop this madness.

    In the work I do with people facing trauma, I’m told over and over again how those around them just want them to be grateful. They might even make an attempt at utilizing the advice, but it almost always incites anger, not comfort.

    Promoting gratitude is one of the most misleading—and harmful—offerings you can make to someone in the throes of grief. Yet it remains as popular as ever; it’s become a mindless, pervasive drug.

    It’s well-meaning bullshit, but it’s still bullshit. Why? Because it’s based on two fundamentally flawed assumptions: first, it assumes that gratitude has the ability to fix grief. Second, it assumes that grieving people are less prone to be grateful than those who aren’t grieving. Both of these assumptions are ludicrous.

    Gratitude and grief serve fundamentally different purposes. Using gratitude to wash away grief is like telling someone who’s received a cancer diagnosis to take an Advil. Their purposes are completely incongruous.

    Ungratefulness generally arises in response to the trivialities of life, not life-changing events. The person who complains about every ridiculous detail of their job, or seems to be incapable of appreciating anything, is ungrateful.

    The person who’s lost the love of their life? First, they are often profoundly grateful: for their family, the friends who care for them, the love they receive. They may not actively show it, but it’s often there.

    Yet even this leads to a further assumption: that grieving people should be grateful. They shouldn’t. The immediate aftermath of tragedy is not the time to find things to be grateful for. It is a time to find solace not in happy things, but in grieving itself.

    This also addresses one of the most foolish assumptions many make about the purpose of gratitude: that it exists to make you feel good, which is narcissistic and ends up defeating the purpose of being grateful in the first place.

    Being grateful might lead to you feeling good, but that’s a byproduct of doing the work involved in creating the conditions by which you might find a peaceful heart. Cultivating a grateful worldview probes the depths of your being. It widens perspective, increases your capacity to listen, encourages self-reflection, and leads to a more honest, gentle disposition. All of these things may very well result in your feeling better, but how you feel isn’t the goal.

    A lack of gratitude is often the outworking of a selfish mindset, not the result of tragic circumstances. This is an important but often neglected distinction.

    So the next time you’re faced with someone who’s life has been torn apart by loss, please do not tell them to be grateful. It’s useless and dismissive.

    Being with a grieving person is profoundly uncomfortable. When someone attempts to come to the aid of a person in pain, they often try to mask that lack of comfort with ridiculous bromides. Gratitude is the most fashionable of these. Unfortunately it almost never makes it better. If anything, it makes it worse. The advice attempts to “get somewhere”, instead of honoring the pain that exists in the here and now.

    Instead of offering some sort of gratitude-infused platitude, stand with your loved one in silence. Be uncomfortable with her, no matter how awful it makes you feel. Listen to her, hold her, stand with her. Doing any of this will foster a thousand times more peace than any sort of gratitude exercise ever could.

    Gratitude doesn’t erase grief. Nor should it. It is not an antidote to loss, nor could it ever be.

    You don’t honor grief with gratitude. You honor grief by grieving.

  16. Wow.
    I know what it feels like to have these two different brains. The morning my son passed away, I did all of these logical things. It almost felt wrong. Why am I not completely shutting down? Something must be wrong with me…
    Now I know it was a coping mechanism, meant to keep me from losing my mind.
    Love to you. From one bereaved mama heart, to another, as you journey in finding ways to accommodate your “new normal.”
    Losing a child forever changes a person.

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