Here in Atlanta on October 16th my family and I will again participate in the Atlanta A Walk to Remember at Northside Hospital (Alpharetta Campus). This year I will be a guest speaker. While I am very nervous, I am also very excited to talk about Alexander :-). We had shirts made this year in his honor (see picture) Below is a transcript of my speech (if you are coming don't read it!). I thought I would share it for those who are unable to attend:
Thank you so much for allowing me to speak to you today. It is always a pleasure and a humbling privilege to share Alexander’s story. I am even more grateful to be able to share him with people who in one way or another understand the bittersweet journey we are on and to do this on such a special day like today. Again, thank you. In 2009 my husband and I conceived our fourth child. An in April 2010, at our routine 20week ultrasound we were told that our son had Potter’s Syndrome. Meaning in early development he did not develop kidneys or a bladder therefore his lungs were unable to develop. The condition we were told was “incompatible with life”. We were given a choice – to carry to term or to terminate. We were devastated.
We chose based on a simplistic belief that God is the giver and taker of all life. Alexander was in God’s hands and carrying to term was the only choice for us. It was the best choice we could have made yet it came with a painful question. How do you continue to carry a child that you love so much yet you know is going to die?
In the months leading to Alexander’s birth we tried our best to “seize the day”. We crammed a lifetime into a few months. We enjoyed every kick, hiccup, and turn. We navigated the natural feelings of fear, anger, and despair. We attempted to have as normal of a pregnancy as possible. All the while we continued to pray for a miracle as we waited……
Our waiting ended on July 28th at Northside Hospital. Alexander was born at 3:36pm. He arrived crying which was an unexpected surprise, and is a sound that to this day I cherish. Oh we loved him up! He was gorgeous and he made the sweetest sounds. He smelled so good and his skin was so soft. He had beautiful eyes and the cutest little hands. Yes, we loved him so. We showered him with hugs and kisses. We prayed and we sang. We enjoyed every minute we had with him and for a small moment in time.....he lived. Alexander weighed 5lbs 2ozs. Alexander had weight. He existed, he had a life, and that life had meaning. I along with many were blessed to be apart of it. On 8:30 or so that same night Alexander's life was complete. He left us peacefully on his Daddy’s chest and while he physically had to leave us that night, the life he had and the love he shared impacted those who knew him, those who have heard of his story, and those who have unfortunately had to walk this familiar road.
I pondered for a while what I wanted to get out of this A Walk To Remember. I knew that I didn’t need a certain day to remember Alexander because it is impossible to ever forget him! I realized that I wasn’t walking to remember Alexander I was walking to remember the life Alexander lived and the love and hope he left behind. For those of us who have experienced the heart breaking event of losing our child, we understand it's unnatural and it brings about a complicated grief so strong it literally can take your breath away. There are days when the pain and gaping hole of not having Alexander in my arms seems too much to bear. It is during those painful times remembering can be so important and healing.
Today as we remember our precious angels I encourage us all to remember what their lives left behind....love and hope. Their lives serve as a reminder that love conquers all and it never dies....it lives on in those that remember. Their lives birthed a spirit of hope. A hope in that there is more to this life than what is measured in time. Hope in that our children are in a better place waiting to reunite with us one day. Hope in that if we continue to remember....... our childrens lives will continue to touch people and will leave a lasting impact on our world, making it a beautiful place. Thank you