My son is a bundle of energy. His hair is the color of corn silk. His eyes match the color of the sky and sparkle like the stars. He is quick to offer his smiles to the world and collects admires like a beachcomber collects shells. Like all my children, he has changed my life. But even with all the majesty possessed in his two-year old form, how he has changed my life can not compare to what his brother has done for me.
My son is a twin. I carried him and his identical brother for 33 weeks in my womb. One devastating day, a routine ultrasound found their two hearts – one beating swift and sure while the other lay silent and still. My boys then needed to be delivered and I will never be the same.
To be that close to life and death – to hold both in your arms and to try to understand the difference – it is difficult to put into words.
My living son came first – I briefly looked into his eyes and saw such life before they whisked him to the NICU. His brother came next – his arrival is something that my mind can not dwell on. I will just say it was wrong. It was a charade of how a baby should be born.
Previous to this experience, my only encounters with death were graying grandparents; their bodies dressed, made-up, and lying in coffins. It is how you picture death. But now death was a five-pound infant, my son, swaddled in a pin-striped blanket and being placed in my arms.
I want to say that I loved his body. That I held and rocked and sung to him. But there was too much disconnect. His body was too limp. His lips too dark. His skin too gray. It hurt every time I tried to glance at him so I just sat and stared until the tears blurred my vision and I could no longer see.
I wanted nothing more than to bring these two boys into the world. I wanted to take them home and introduce them to their two older sisters. I wanted to learn and experience all the joys and all the frustrations of raising twins. I wanted so much more than what I was holding in that hospital bed and for the first time in my young life I fully understood what heartbreak felt like.
And this hurt forever changed me.
I gave up a dream that day. And by doing so I began to look around me and ask myself, “Who else here has had to give up dreams?”. I wanted to hear all the stories. I wanted to hear of every hurt in the world and to find a way to tell them all, “I’m sorry.”
I am often asked what helped me the most and the only I answer I have is this: Nothing really helped but I never tired of hearing “I’m sorry.” For some reason those two words lift you in small, minuscule ways and give meaning to the hurt that is tearing you apart inside. Even today, almost three years later, it is all I want to hear when I tell this story.
What I Want You to Know is a series of reader submissions. It is an attempt to allow people to tell their personal stories, in the hopes of bringing greater compassion to the unique issues each of us face. If you would like to submit a story to this series, click here. Today’s guest post is by Cyndi Taylor.