Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Happy Heart Birthday and Angelversary

So here's the deal. Today and this week and everyday between May 18 and May 22 is both a sad and joyous occasion for us.

Sad because this is the one-year Angelversary of our son, Dastan. Joyous because this is also little Aubrie's one-year Heart Birthday. Let me share their story.

Reader beware. I will not indulge you with brevity here. So grab a cup of coffee, spike it with some Jack and settle in. Here we go.

Daz is my hero. We should all be so lucky to live such a meaningful life free of grievance. He was 18mos. He had no enemies, no grudges, no hatefulness, and knew only the joy of a full stomach, perfect health and a loving family. We loved him ferociously, and still do. He would be two-and-a-half going on twenty, an old soul in a little body that frustrated him because it wouldn't do what it was supposed to do.

I show him here at our wedding on March 17, 2012. Yes, that is St. P's Day. We dressed him as a leprechaun and gave him a bucket of coins to protect, which he did. Ferociously.

He was one of those kids who skipped the crawling phase and went straight to walking at nine months, so soon we almost had to put a helmet on him because we have tile floors and his head-hole wasn't quite closed.

His temperament was one of hot-Irish charm. The birthmark between his eyes flared red as his hair when he didn't get his way, and by God you heard him when he found a mood.

His first word was not Daddy or Mommy or Sissy or Bubba. It was Daisy. That's the dog's name. His second word was Ball, the dog's favorite toy. Third was Outside, where you throw the ball for the dog. So you see the boy's priorities. His last memory before he got beamed up was running at the park by the lake and falling into his mother's arms and closing his eyes. Safe to say that boy burned hot and died doing what he loved in the arms of the one who loved him most, the woman I love the most who stole my heart as much as Aubrie stole Daz's.

And now comes Aubrie. Much of her story is second-hand, so please forgive me if I misrepresent or over-dramatize some details. We met her in March of this year for her one-year birthday. Here is a picture of the meeting. Aubrie is the beautiful one.

Do you see how she erases the sorrow? She is a sugar-coated candy drop of pure and irresistible happiness that rots my teeth and softens my heart with the kissing of her. She is concentrated joy, one drop'll do-ya.

You will notice we all are wearing green. That is for Dastan. That is for organ donation. If you want to be a Super Hero like Daz, sign up now. Seats are filling fast.

We listened to Aubrie's heart, Daz's heart, Aubrie's heart, Daz's heart, and maybe they share beats, A-D-A-D, like that. I don't know how it works, but I feel both of them thumping around in there. We all feel it. Our families merged as much as any marriage ever has, and we share one's joy and the other's grief and none of us are alone.

Aubrie had a congenital heart defect. That damned heart was too big for a newborn, and they were lucky to find an energetic eighteen-month-old's heart that fit so perfectly into a two-month-old baby girl. I say Lucky, don't I. That's a bad way to put it. I don't believe in that kind of luck. They were given a heart molded one for the other as much as we are given air with every breath and don't count it lucky that there is just the right amount of oxygen to keep us sucking onward to the next breath.

We are given. We receive. Be thankful, because these things are not lucky.

She was and remains otherwise a healthy, normal baby who displays advanced mental skills and a lady's temperament, at least when there is company. I hear she has her moments, but I suppose all women have their moments. She is a friendly, loving, outgoing little girl who loves to play, loves to blow kisses, and loves loves loves to be held.

From the time of her emergency c-section -- they did not want her breathing on her own, straight to the incubator, so her first breath was one of plasticized and decompressed oxygen -- she was in intensive care, where she remained for about six months, until well after the transplant, out summer of 2012, and then spent May of 2013 in the hospital owing to a secondary infection brought on by treatment for an ear infection.

See, they suppress her immune system so it doesn't reject her heart. That's a lot of trouble for a 14lb little girl. She has been poked, prodded, stuck, incubated, intubated, excavated, and inebriated. I do believe she has been on every machine in the hospital, and at this writing she has a feeding tube in her nostril and a catheter in her right arm going directly to her heart, A-D-A-D. Even so she is happy and well and well-stuck.

Let me say something about that little girl: she is so tiny she fills the room.

Our eyes are materialistic despots that dupe us into believing that tiny shiny baby-girl with her stick-legs and big blue eyes is somehow a fragile creature. We believe she is fragile because, well, I mean, look at her. She's not but a dozen pounds.

And yet you feel walloped when you meet her. She possesses an enormous spirit, something unimaginably strong that allows her to live each day so much more carefully than you and I live ours. Hers is not the luxury of health-for-granted. She was not cuddled out of the womb. She fights to live and lives to fight. She bears a scar on her chest and pin-prick scabs on her feet and hands from the IVs, and yet, well, look at her.

This is her blowing kisses. She has a tube in her nose, for gadsake, and scabs on her cheeks from the tape, and chafes beneath her arm from the catheter. Remember that next time you wince. That little girl just had a transfusion, you freaking ~wimp~!

Now tell me if you see anything fragile about that little girl when you really, really look.

Me, I see Aubs the Warrior Champ. I see The Almighty Aubrie, Aubzilla the Fearless, Aubie Aubie All-Star. She will run headlong into the future blowing kisses between uppercuts and jabs and the ducking of her head. She will fall and rise and fight and swing. She will never tire, nor falter, nor wane, nor complain. She will never take tomorrow for granted, nor live today to anything less than a full burn. I know this because I know her heart, and she will never be alone.

Happy Heart-Day, Aubrie. Happy Angelversary, Daz. We love you both who are heroes and giants in our hearts.

- Eric

Eric W. Trant is a published author of several short stories and the novels Out of the Great Black Nothing and Wink from WiDo Publishing, out now! See more of Eric's work here: Publications, or order directly from Amazon, or wherever books are sold.




dolorah said...

She is a sweetie, Eric. I hope all her medical issues clear up soon so she can be the happy, carefree baby she was meant to be.

My thoughts are with you and your family Eric.


Heather said...

What a heart wrenching read {{{{{hugs}}}} to you all!

Charity Bradford said...

It sounds wrong to say what a beautiful post, but it is. I love how your faith keeps you strong and helps you find the glorious positives in the pain your family suffered. Every one of your posts about Daz (and now Aubrie) is poetically beautiful. It simultaneously brings tears of sadness and joy. But always ends with hope and joy. Thanks for sharing your beautiful thoughts.

Wine and Words said...

"she is so tiny she fills the room". I can only hope to be so small. Working as I do, begging people to donate...blood, tissue, marrow, organ, it is a beautiful reminder of why we work so tirelessly. Fragile souls live on the wings of those who've flown. It's not easy on either side of the equation, but we were never promised easy. I'm going to pass your blog link on to the Donor Transplant Network, and share the story with my work mates at the blood bank.

Thank you for sharing Eric. I love how you are capturing Daz, so lively even now, beneath all those blown kisses. I'll be praying the mighty little Aubrie keeps growing and healing... and you too!

L. Diane Wolfe said...

She is a living miracle thanks to your son.

Keeping you in my thoughts this week, Eric.

Karen Jones Gowen said...

Thank you for sharing your story, Eric, and Daz and Aubrie's too. Such a beautiful touching tribute.

Anne Gallagher said...

Oh Eric. My heart just broke. ((hugs))

Jemi Fraser said...

Hugs to you all! Das & Aubrie both fill the world and hearts with joy and love. Thanks so much for sharing. *hugs*

S.A. Larsenッ said...

Stopping by from Writer's Alley to thank you for leaving me that link about book covers. Great stuff! I appreciate the visit. :)

Thanks for sharing this post with us.

Unknown said...

That was a touching tribute - I have tears of sadness, and one of hope, in my eyes that are playing merryhell with my typing. Thank you for sharing Daz and Aubrie's story - and your story too.

Patricia Stoltey said...

Your story is about heartbreak, courage, and joy experienced against all odds. Thank you, Eric. Sometimes we need lessons like these to help us stop feeling sorry for ourselves when confronted with little life problems.

Jai Joshi said...

What a little warrior Aubrey is. And what an little angel Dastan was.

Continued love and best wishes, Eric, to you and all your loved ones.


Just Wendy said...

My heart just broke too.

Thoughts for your beautiful little boy, Dastan. And blowing kisses to Princess Aubrie who now has the heart of a lion.

I'm so terribly sorry for your loss. ((Hugs)) to you and your family.

T. Powell Coltrin said...

She is the miracle from your miracle!

benilhalk said...

Oh! That's great! This is such an adorable share. Went for my cousin's daughter birthday and all the preparations done from décor till food were mind blowing. Their choice of hiring LA venue was also nice. No confusion and chaos was created. Even the staff attention towards guests was kind. Will book the same place for my niece's baptism too.

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