His Name Was David Edward

Tonight I lay my son down to sleep and I cried for my mother, a woman who laid her baby boy down to sleep and found him gone forever the next morning.

He was barely older than Matthew and he was my mother’s first born, the one who taught her just how inconceivably intense the love of a parent is for their child.

She found him dead. Crib death they called it then. This baby, my older brother, gone before he had truly lived. Gone before he walked, but not before he smiled. Before he ran, but not before he laughed.

His name was David and he was breathtakingly beautiful.

I think of him often, wondering what he would have been like as a grown man, as my older brother.

I ache for my mother. No, not ache, because that cannot begin to touch what I feel. My heart is shattered for my mother. Young, full of love and joy. With a baby who died in the very next room. That is an unfathomable pain.

My mother…
You are brave
You are strong.
You are forever changed by your sweet son…by both his life and by his death.

I never take bedtime for granted.
I can’t and I won’t.

I love and admire you, Mom.

You are stronger than you know.

14 comments

  1. QueenB

    I cried for your mother.

    And for all mothers who have known this pain.

  2. I have an essay (it hasn't yet found a home) about all the people in my life who have died young – to SIDS, murder, suicide, cancer, congenital abnormalities, asthma – and I titled it "Contrary to the Natural Order." There's nothing more wrong than when parents must bury a child. Nothing.

    You are incredibly brave to write about this. It's healing, to put words to our deepest pain, but terrifying, too. Thank you for sharing David Edward with us.

  3. Kris prettyalltrue.com

    There is a vulnerability to your writing that touches my heart.

    When people talk about courage, it is never in terms of the thing that has been done. But rather of the fear that had to be faced in order to accomplish that thing.

    You have great courage.

  4. jaseza

    My Grammie buried her son later in his life but still cut short. She always says "It's was/is just not in the right order". My sister lost a baby in her womb but still had to give birth – she was 23 weeks old. My heart aches for every mother…including yours…it is something completely unfathomable to me. A terror that I know not – the courage is to those mothers who survive such a shattered heart. HUGE hugs to you, and please tell your mom that I give her hugs. Tell her thank you for her lesson in courage; despite her choosing.

  5. Nancy MacDonald

    I cried for David and for your mom and you. And I agree with Kris's comment that courage is often seen and noted in a person who has to face fear or endure great suffering. Thank you for sharing this experience with both it's sweet and sorrowful side.

  6. Nichole inthesesmallmoments.com

    That kind of pain is so life-defining.

    So much has changed since my mother lost my brother. There are now monitors that sound an alarm if a baby stops breathing (we've used one for each of our kids). I am so grateful for this technology, as without it, I'm not certain I would have dared to have children.

    Thank you for your words…

  7. Nichole inthesesmallmoments.com

    I would love to read your essay if you would be interested in sharing.

    The pain of burying a child is unimaginable. I can't begin to fathom the pain that my paternal grandmother felt, as she had to bury both my dad and my uncle.

    I pray that my children outlive me.

  8. Nichole inthesesmallmoments.com

    That is truly a beautifully painful way to define courage.

    You understand me in a way that continually astonishes me.

    I am beyond grateful to know you and to call you my friend.

  9. Nichole inthesesmallmoments.com

    The pain that your grandmother, your sister, and my mother endured changed them and made them strong in a way that is cruel and inexplicable.

    My mother has faced tremendous heartache in her life, but also gave me more love than I could measure. She could have checked out so many times, but she didn't. And for that, I am ever grateful.

    I am me partly because of who she is and what she went through. She taught me to never take things for granted…not for a single moment.

  10. Nichole inthesesmallmoments.com

    You wouldn't believe just how beautiful a baby he was, Nancy. Every photo I have seen of him shows a baby lit from within.

    My mother is one of the most courageous people I've ever known. I can't imagine the strength it took her to have another baby, to have me.

    Thank you for your words, they mean the world to me.

  11. Peggy

    A week after our return from CA our friend's son was killed in Afghanistan. He was 21 yrs old. He was a brave soldier, but to us, he was just a kid.

    Although it's unthinkable to lose a small child, I also think that no matter how old our kids are, they will always be our babies, and the pain of losing one is every parents absolute worst nightmare.

    Your post happened to fall on the same day that our friend, the father of this boy, wrote to our local paper. It's worth the read. http://www.kjonline.com/opinion/MAINE-COMPASS-Tre

    I also cry for the mothers and fathers that have known this pain.

  12. Nichole inthesesmallmoments.com

    I finally had a chance today to read the link to the article that you sent.

    I honestly cannot find the words to express just how much my heart aches for this poor family. I am also in awe of this father, on the heels of such a tremendous, horrific loss, for having the courage and clarity of mind to write such a moving piece.

    Thank you for sharing this, Peggy. It is a fitting reminder to all of us to treasure every moment, as life is by no means predicatable.

    May Wade's family find peace in their memories of their brave son. They are in my prayers.

  13. Alexandra174

    The thought of that amount of pain makes me ill to my stomach.

    I would not have survived it.

  14. Kir thekircorner.com

    OH Nic, Oh my heart. I am so sorry for that loss so long ago.

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