After they wheeled me through NICU to see Crew, Justin and I talked about Dex while I continued to come further out of the anesthesia. He had already been holding him for several hours. I was afraid that they wouldn't let me see him. When he assured me that they would let me see him, I was afraid that I wouldn't want to see him! Justin, my rock, promised me that I would want to see him and that it wouldn't frighten me.
There is a special staff of grieving specialists at the hospital. They spent the day making sure that we had the memories we would need and appreciate. They took pictures of him, some by himself, some with us, and, to my surprise and delight, some with his brother. I didn't know about the brother pictures until the next day. They also made molds of his hands and feet and little stamped papers, so that we would always remember how tiny his sweet little body was.
Meeting Dex in person was one of the most beautiful experiences of my life. I felt him the moment his body entered the room and holding him in my arms the first time was like a healing salve for my broken heart. I'll never be able to explain it perfectly, but the closest I can come is to say that I just felt an overwhelming sense of peace and hope. He was stunningly beautiful. His spirit stayed with us throughout the day, giving us comfort and letting us know without question that he loved us, he knew us, he claimed us as his parents, and that things had turned out exactly as they were supposed to. In those hours, both Justin and I came to know that we had been privileged to take part in the life plan of a perfect spirit. In those moments, the veil seemed particularly thin and mortal life seemed especially brief.
Justin's family spent most of Monday with us. His brothers arrived before the sun came up to help Justin give both Crew and me priesthood blessings. His parents arrived shortly thereafter. Sisters-in-law came throughout the day as well to offer their support. I'll always be grateful for the kindness, love, and tenderness they showed to Dex that day. I was afraid that the discoloration of his lifeless little body might frighten them, but they were all so anxious to show their love for him and to feel what he had to offer. I wasn't the only one who felt that holding him was healing balm, a connection to a Heavenly Father that understood our pain. Whenever he was put back in my arms, I felt calmer, more peaceful, reassured that he was mine forever. We spent the entire day with him and Monday night we were able to peacefully say goodbye.
I wish you could have met him. He didn't belong here. As much as we knew we would miss him, letting him go seemed so right. He is strong and wise. He is playful and kind. Had he lived, I dare say we would have considered him an "old soul." He's had a busy week, comforting us all in our moments of weakness, me in the hospital, Justin as he carried on with the very difficult duties and tasks required if him this week, cheering Crew on every other minute.
We spent some more precious time with his body and his spirit on Friday, preparing him for his burial. While I held him, it didn't feel right at all to coo at him and talk to him with babytalk. While he felt very much "my baby", his spirit felt so noble, so grand, so powerful, so wise, so perfect, and so understanding. I felt, and continue to feel, very honored to have been able to give him a body, because that was clearly all he needed.
It's been such a blessing to come to know my wild and playful little Dex these last few months. I miss him immensely and if it sounds like I haven't cried over his loss, that is a gross misrepresentation. Our grief is tempered by our joy at knowing that he is safely with the Lord, but I will continue to miss him every day. Holding him on Monday and Friday helped me find the perspective that I needed to go on, but I'll confess that I have to work really hard to maintain that perspective and peace. I never know what's going to shatter the comfort. It's usually dumb, trivial, unimportant earthly things that disrupt my connection. Sometimes I'll be laughing over something and then the tears will unexpectedly erupt in a moment of unanticipated grief.
My precious Dex. Ahhhh... I will miss him. I'm so glad he's going to be up there pulling for us, cheering us along. It makes me so much more determined to make sure that we are a family worthy of eternal life together. I don't want to lose the feelings I've had this week. I don't want to forget what I've learned and what I've felt.
From the moment we knew the twins were coming to our family, we felt the hand of the Lord in the process. We've felt time and time again that things were progressing as they were meant to and we have felt the love of the Lord through this difficult process since the summer. It's impossible for us at this point to throw up our hands and cry "now you have forsaken us!" That just doesn't make any sense to us, and it doesn't feel right or true. While we wouldn't have chosen this challenge, we do understand that there is purpose behind it. We knew it would be challenging to have these twins. We knew it would require a horrendous pregnancy and then the exciting task of raising two rambuctious boys. That's what we had been preparing for. We just didn't know that wasn't exactly the trial waiting for us.
This is my "Dex Song". I know he loves me as his mother. I know he and I will both cherish our relationship through the ages and I do feel that he misses me. I know he'll be there at the front of the line to greet me when the time is right. I know he'll come for me someday and I'll continue to wait for him. In the mean time, I know he'll return to me on occasion to fill the space in my aching heart when I miss him too much.