Here's an excerpt from my journal (the book I'm trying to get published):
“Why can't we give him any medicine? I don't want to kill him. I just want to make his passing easier.”
“It's the hospital's policy, Elisa. There's nothing more I can do. Just let it be enough that you're here with him now.” His little hand wrapped so tightly around my finger. It turned white from the pressure. He was very aware right then. “Do you want to be alone?” Jane said, but it wasn't really a question. She walked from the room and the door creaked shut.
I've never been a person who could handle the sound of crying, but at that moment I wished—with all of my soul—some noise would rise from Zeke. Nothing was worse than that silent death-cry. His body stiffened and slacked, stiffened and slacked while his coloring increased deeper. I was shocked watching him suffer for what seemed like an eternity. Some part of me, way deep down, must have thought God would wait until that exact moment to save Zeke. I kept expecting him to suddenly breathe on his own without any machines or any type of support, but it never happened.
Instead the episode worsened until I wanted to run from that room, grab a nurse . . . any nurse and tell her to save my son, but we couldn’t go back and I felt sick of being selfish and wanting him to live just because I needed him so desperately. Towards the greater end of that half hour his crying spell weakened. The lack of oxygen finally numbed his brain and he didn't feel the suffocation of pain anymore.
His crying subdued itself and although I wanted to look away I couldn't pull my eyes from the tiny person who Cade and I grasped so tightly. He stopped crying at one point; Cade and I looked at each other. “Is he . . .” Cade asked, but before he continued, Zeke cried again. He did that several more times, stopping and starting. The length of the silences in between got longer and longer until one of them lasted . . . forever.
I kissed Zeke gently on the forehead, then said, “Goodbye.” For the first time since Zeke's crying had become subdued, Cade and I cried. I passed our son's body completely to Cade before running headlong into the bathroom adjoining the death room. I slammed the door as hard as my small frame could and willed life to be over for me as well. I screamed then. I cried out to God—the cry that I'd been holding in since the whole damn ordeal began. I screamed into the silent, black bathroom, “GOD! WHY? I CAN’T TAKE THIS ANYMORE!”
It's been eight years and a lot has happened since Zeke passed away. We've had three more beautiful children. We even had another little boy, born on my husband's birthday, and a little girl, born forty minutes before mine. But no matter how much time passes nothing can wipe Zeke from my mind and he will never be replaced.
It's amazing, even though it's been years I can still look back at my journal and realize new things. God looks out for each one of us and cares more than we know. If we take time to look we can see His hand in everything--even the hard times.
When Zeke's ashes drifted from me, I wanted to jump after them, gather each one, no matter if it meant falling off the cliff we'd sprinkled them from. But I stayed on top of that mountain. My husband stayed with me and the wind swept Zeke's ashes away. But then as we left down the path, a cougar appeared out of nowhere in the bushes to the side of the trail. It stared at us with big, golden eyes, not even making a sound when it left me in my fears. I wanted to talk to Cade, reminisce about Zeke, but instead I ran down the mountain and pulled Cade after me. I'd never known how terrifying it could be seeing something like that in the wild. For years every time I've thought about Zeke's ashes, I've resented those golden eyes and how they ruined the memory for me.
But as I look back and think about those golden eyes now, they have a new meaning for me. Maybe it wasn't by chance we saw a cougar that day because wild cats represent something amazing; the will to live; strength in adversity; justice; compassion to watch and protect those they love. They're special animals and if I had to think of one person who embodies what they mean, I'd pick Zeke . . . my son.
As I sit here, I can't help wondering if maybe I didn't completely lose Zeke the day I blew his ashes off that cliff. Maybe he's still watching me, just like that cougar was before I knew it was there. Just like God always has and always will.
I don't know why Zeke was born the way he was, but I do know that God is taking care of us, and that cougar was a sign that everything will be okay.
We love you Zeke you'll never be forgotten!