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Today, November 15, is Rylen’s birthday. In earth years he is six. Such sweet memories of him mingled with the sadness (for me) of his Home-going last March. This is written from a grandmother’s heart.

BITTERSWEET

Little One–
When you arrived, we expected hello and goodbye the same day.
We wanted a miracle, we prayed for a miracle,
And God gave us a miracle–you.
On the day you were born, you came crying out of your mother’s womb.
You breathed for one minute, five minutes, sixty minutes…
An underdeveloped brain would shorten your life, they said.
In NICU we visited you, talked to you, touched you.
Your eyes followed us when we spoke to you,
You jumped at loud noises.
You cried, you drank milk from a tiny bottle.

Mommy and Daddy took you home to love and to care for.
We expected death; God gave you life.
We expected a funeral; God gave you a future.
Good hands, the best hands, God’s hands, held you close.
We waited and grieved, praying for a miracle, wishing for a miracle,
Reminding ourselves that God’s way is always best.
Isn’t it strange we grieved, even though we knew you’d be in a better place?
Your mommy and daddy, joyful, sad, and tired all at once,
Grateful for a short time with you, to have you,
To love you, to hold you.

Your body so tiny and fragile, your head so big and heavy,
We just wanted to hold you, to see you smile, to keep you here with us.
You struggled with pain, you couldn’t tell us where it hurt,
And we waited as each day passed–two weeks, four weeks, two months, four months, then seven.
You smiled, wiggled, babbled, and sang, watching the world with your eyes.
It took you a little longer to sit up, to crawl, to stand, and to walk.
But from the beginning, love poured out from you, for everyone you met.
“No strangers,” your dad said, “he knew only friends.”
And that million-dollar smile lit up the world around you.

Two years, four years, five years–you learned names, colors, the alphabet,
You explored the world, loving anything with wheels to turn or buttons to push.
The birth of your baby sister, your special treasure from the very beginning,
Your life as big brother took on new meaning,
Someone to hug and to tease, to play with and to fight with.
Your eyes told the story, your laughter causing us to smile.

Over five years we waited, to see where you could go.
You learned about Jesus and “Jesus Loves Me,”
Delighted each time you entered God’s House.
A new home, and school, and life to explore,
And we didn’t want to say goodbye.
We wanted a healing miracle, to see you grow up.
But that wasn’t to be. God wanted you Home.
We prayed for miracle, but God answered no.
We are grieving for you–no, grieving for us.
We miss you, Little One, our Rylen.

You are with Jesus, whole and happy,
No more pain, no more hydrocephalus.
Are you playing ball or riding a golf cart with Jesus?
Are you running, and jumping, and talking?
We remain on this earth,missing you,
Joyful, yet sad, remembering when you were with us,
Your sweet voice saying, “Hi,” your smile, your hugs,
Grateful we had you to love and to hold for a little while,
Awaiting the day we meet you in Heaven.

Happy birthday, Rylen.

Love, Grandma