Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Dear Death

By Bethany Conkel 

Dear Death,
It’s been 3 years since we met on September 10th. It was a beautiful day. Sun streamed through the hospital window as if everything was perfect in the world. It didn’t seem like the type of day where Death and a new mom would meet.
We both arrived at the hospital that morning with the same purpose: to greet a special little boy. Although our purpose was the same, our approach was very different. I came eager, ready to hold my little boy for the first time and welcome him into the world. I couldn’t wait to tell him how much we loved him and how proud his father and I were of him. I impatiently waited for the moment where I would be able to gaze into his eyes, kiss his little cheek, hold his precious hand, and admire his tiny toes. I came ready to soak in every ounce of my baby and shower him with as much love as I had in my being. I wanted to be sure that if he only felt one thing on this earth, it would be the love we had for him.
Your approach was much different. You were distant at first, waiting and observing from the shadows. I was thankful that you did not make your presence fully known right away, but gave us some time as a family to cherish our sweet baby boy. As time passed (way too quickly from my perspective) you slowly made yourself known. Then suddenly, I realized you were there, no longer in the shadows, but standing next to my boy, ready to take his hand and escort him into heaven.
I had been told many months before that this was going to happen. I was told that regardless of what I did, or how I approached the pregnancy, delivery, or care of my baby, that there was no hope. No avoiding you. I was told that YOU WOULD WIN.
Yet, in that moment, as I watched you gently greet my son and carefully take his hand, I did not feel as though you had won. Tears streamed down my face and my heart broke as I watched him leave with you, but deep down I knew this was not the end.
You had not won…  
Did my boy physically die that day? Yes, I don’t deny that fact. Yes, you fulfilled your role, just as I had fulfilled mine. But, Death, where your job ended that day, mine did not.
Over the last three years I have had the amazing privilege of helping the meaning of my son’s life continue to impact others. Yes, he died that day – but the meaning of his life, his importance, his legacy, his memory– none of those things died. They are very much alive. Growing. Developing. Building. My job has been to help his meaning continue to live on, even though he is no longer here.
No, You did not win that day!
So many people told me that, you -Death, were the end. But, that simply has not been true.  And, as long as I am alive and continue my job of keeping his memory alive, you will never truly be the end. You will never truly win.
I know one day we will meet again. One day you will arrive to take my hand and escort me into eternity. Although I do not look forward to that day, I do look forward being able to meet my little boy again Heaven Side. I would like to think that I will smile as I take your hand, knowing that I am holding the same hand my boy held many years before. Hopefully, when it is my turn to go with you, my loved ones will not allow you to win that day, rather just allow you to fulfill your role.
In a way, I feel as though I should thank you. You did a job I could not. You assisted my boy in meeting his Lord and Savior. I may have not liked it when you did your job, but I’m glad to know he was not alone in that moment. I’m glad to know he went from my hands, to yours, to our Lord’s. My momma’s heart is at peace knowing he was always holding someone’s hand.
So, Death, as I reflect on our meeting 3 years ago, I’m glad it was different than I was told it would be. I’m glad you were not the end and that you did not truly win. I’m glad the essence of my sweet boy lives on and that I get to help make that possible.
Sincerely,
Amalya Nathaniel’s Momma
~ ~ ~
Sweet Boy,
We love you. We miss you. We are proud of you. You have continued to impact the world in mighty ways, and for that we are thankful. We are so glad you are part of our lives. Happy 3rd Birthday and Heaven Day. We look forward to the time when we get to see you again.
With all our love,

Mommy and Daddy
~ ~ ~

Bethany Conkel lives in Ohio and is married to her wonderful husband, Eric. She is the mommy to two amazing children – one who is in heaven, the other here on earth. Bethany carried her precious son, Amalya Nathaniel (meaning: “work of the Lord”, “given by God”) to term after receiving the diagnosis of anencephaly when she was 11 weeks pregnant. Amalya lived for 1 hour and 20 minutes before taking hold of the Lord’s hand. After he passed, his liver, pancreas, and whole body were donated to scientific research. Bethany has since created a website about neonatal organ, tissue, and whole body donation called Purposeful Gift to help other families explore the option of donation. She is also a certified Birth and Bereavement Doula through Stillbirthday.com and serves with Sufficient Grace Ministries.

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