Losing him was horrifying, but if I focus on how horrible his death was for us, for him, I'd go crazy. I dwell on what I feel, but never on why it happened. With time, I've trained myself to relish in every aspect of his short life, even the really awful ones. I am just now learning how to talk about it.
There is good in every bad if you look hard enough.
Ethan's prognosis was poor, but his life was so rich with love. People crowded the hospital halls and waiting rooms just to be there for him, for us! Each and every person had a part in lifting up our spirits. I'll never forget each day that we shared together. My precious boy had tubes connected everywhere, but he still looked so angelic despite the medical madness surrounding him. A stranger might look at this picture and see a sick child, but I see a beautiful boy surrounded by heavenly blue light.
This is one of my favorite pictures that we took of Ethan in the NICU. And this "rose-colored" moment is an equally important part of his life and his death. Even though this picture sometimes envokes the sadness within me, I am so glad that I have it in my possession. And to be honest, it wouldn't have happened without a little help. Unbeknownst to him, John's cousin, who also suffered a traumatic loss, gently gave us two very important reminders:
Cherish this moment and don't forget about God.
He purchased a disposable camera and gave it to John. "Take pictures.", he said. At the time, it didn't really dawn on us to document such sad events, but I'm so glad we did. We eventually ended up bringing our digital camera to the hospital, but we would have never thought to do so if his cousin hadn't thought of it. This cousin also pressed a rosary in my hand. The same rosary that helped me (and continues to help me) maintain my faith in God's plan. Such simple reminders of two very important concepts.
Not once did I ever feel anger toward God for bringing Ethan back to Him. I honestly believe that the rosary had something to do with it. And now, over one year later, I also have the ability to look back on Ethan's NICU pictures and countless others, thanks to the reminder John's dear cousin gave us. I am so thankful for that wonderful gift.
Now, I can use my rose-colored glasses as I see fit.