Happy Birthday to you, Happy Birthday to you, Happy Birthday dear Parks, Happy Birthday to you…
Today is my son’s first birthday and it wouldn’t be complete without the birthday song, some cake, balloons, and prayers. It is his birthday and he deserves to have a celebration, so that is what he shall get.
I don’t even know where to begin. My eyes are clouded with tears, massive lump in my throat. I sit here struggling to find the perfect words to honor him. There will never be the right words but whatever comes out will be perfect because it’s for him and it will be from my heart.
Parks Dempsey Heckmann came into our lives Wednesday, July 15, 2016 at 11:43pm. He was born prematurely at 7 months and weighed 2lbs 2oz. We kept calling him “Tiny but Mighty.” We were all so hopeful that our positive attitudes and showering him with love would help him gain strength. He was monitored 24 hours a day at Rady Children’s Hospital and given the most extensive care. The first two days were promising, the third day was not. My son had experienced a massive brain bleed and his organs were too immature to function properly. The fourth day we had to say goodbye to our beautiful boy. My world… shattered. We left that hospital with more pain and heartache than you could ever imagine. Voices in my head whispering, “life is not fair.”
I still cannot even believe that this is part of my life story. I wish that this was just a chapter in a fictional story, and that somehow that story goes on to have a very happy ending. I’m hopeful that there is a happy ending, I’m just in such a sad place still that it’s hard to believe that things will all turn out ok.
Everyone wants to help, but it’s been hard for me to pinpoint what is helpful and what I need. With enough therapy, I am slowly learning to decipher these messages.
My mind tells me, “You can’t do anything to help, it will never bring my son back.”
My heart tells me, “Let people in, there are so many wonderful people in your life that want to help you.”
What is helpful is to just let me cry, let me talk, let me remember my sweet son. I am always so worried about making other people feel uncomfortable. Nobody likes to discuss death. Nobody wants to experience your pain, feel the weight of your sadness, or sit with you as you cry uncontrollably. People feel helpless and sad, they keep trying to search for “the right thing to say.” The truth is, nothing you can say will take away the pain. Acknowledging my son’s life and remembering him is what makes me feel loved. I guess what it all boils down to is that I want people to always remember him and how important he is to me and my family.
Sadly, I am not alone in this journey of losing a newborn. Connecting with other women who share the same loss and can sit in the slump of sadness with you is what has really helped me. It’s comforting in a way knowing that someone out there does know exactly how you feel. Talking with these extraordinary women has made me feel like I’m not alone in this journey. Thank you Carly and Teryn for reaching out to a complete stranger and walking down this road with me. We truly do have guardian angels watching over us and in my mind the three of them are up there playing together.
No matter what faith you believe in, I hope that somehow the universe makes it possible for my son to receive this letter from his mama.
Happy Birthday sweet baby boy. I love you beyond words and I miss you with every fiber of my being. I hope that you are watching us from above and feeling all the love we are sending your way. I wish so much that I could hold you and kiss your sweet face. I wish I could watch you grow, see your handsome smile, and hear your laugh. You are in our thoughts all the time and I hope you know how proud your dad, sister, and I are that you share your love with us. Thank you for being in our lives and thank you for all the little signs that you send us from above. I wish we had more time with you but I hope you know I will never forget those four special days. I will never forget your sweet face, tiny little hands, cute little toes and the way you smell. You will be my sweet baby boy for the rest of my life and I can’t wait to be reunited with you again. I love you forever Parks Dempsey Heckmann.
I hope this letter makes it’s way into the lives of other mamas who have lost their sweet babies. There is just no explanation on why we must suffer this much in life, but remember that you are not alone. I am here for you if you ever want to chat. You can comment here or email me firstname.lastname@example.org. We are in this together and we need to be there to lift each other up from the darkest places.
My wonderful husband, my daughter Quinn and I will celebrate Parks’ birthday. Quinn loves brown cake and gullaballoons, (balloons) and I know that will be the perfect way to celebrate him. If you have time to say a little prayer or send him a birthday wish I know he would love that too. <3