Life. The race of a single day run together as a marathon of months and years.
The defining moment. The first day. Life was there, it was only hidden behind muscle, skin, bones and blood.
That first piercing cry after a long pause of silence and anticipation. Will this little life survive his first seconds? Will the world hear his voice and see glory through him? The long and anticipating pause.
Everyone, nurses and doctor breathed relief when the little boy screamed out.
Besides being a little orange, and an extra day in the hospital, Elijah was a normal healthy boy. All eight pounds and 22 inches of him. His parents wrestled the next few days and weeks. Tired but not frustrated. They were tired, but emerged in joy. This was their beautiful son. He took much, but he gave much more.
His mother and I carried him through the doorway of our home. It seems like a little shack in my mind, but it was one of the finest, happiest days of our life.
It plays like magic in my memory now.
We could only see every day getting more incredible, as we watched him cry and eat. When I brushed his first teeth with foot cream thinking it was toothpaste. When he peed on my face as I gave him a bath.
He crawled across the room, he sat in the tall grass and hid in the leaves. We took him for walks down the street and said hello to the neighbors.
His first steps at the beach.
Never a hint that these would be our memories, they would be all we had left of our son as his life would slip away.
I can see these moments in our history in pictures, and then my brains pulls up images and sounds, smells and aromas. The place in my mind where all these precious moments are held. They are pulled up like old movies, faded and choppy . I close my eyes and watch them over and over again. I rewind them and fast forward hoping to see some detail I missed. I can see him at Church in his grandpa Tim's arms. He is wearing a white outfit. He is getting dedicated. Everyone is smiling but Elijah is sleeping. I can see His first birthday. He was born March 19, 2006 two years after the passing of His grandma Duska. His mom and I saw him as a kind of gift. A March child meant green Saint Patrick cake. And the cake was all over the place. Elijah even wanted to share his mess by extending his cake covered hand to us. He pushed himself around on his little motorcycle his grandpa Keith got him. All the exciting toys a one year old boy can get. Brings joy to a fathers heart. When I walk around a toy store these days it is different for me.
This is a very sad road for me to walk down. I miss that happiness, those days of surprise when my dreams for Elijah were unopened.
I imagined all joy. The kind of joy only a man, a father can see. I never saw this hospital bed in his room. Who dreams that for their son?