It somehow didn’t sit well with me that I had not told the rest of this story, the story of the flying baby. It just seemed too sad to me to pair the story of the sweet birth of that babe with what came later, but I thought I should. I really should.
About two years ago I got a phone call from my midwife friend. She bore the sad news that the young father whose baby I had caught about two years before had passed away very unexpectedly. He was 36.
He had been sick from time to time in his short life, with a rare genetic condition. It had been some time since he had struggled with his health, and he was happy with his family and earning a good living as a Eco-friendly city planner. One day he began to feel poorly, and within a few short days, his body became overwhelmed with its burden and his spirit left it.
I called the family to offer help. There had been plans to move to a new job, but now the house was to be sold and the young mother with her two small girls would go to Texas to be with family. I helped pack, my heart barely able to take the weight of the task. Not the task of packing, but that of seeing their faces. This sweet and so very young wife, a widow. These two gorgeous girls, fatherless. Even now, it hurts too much to think about or write about.
In movies there are happy endings after tragedies, and often in life things “work out”. It was so hard to think, on that day, that this would ever work out. That there would ever be happiness again on the face of this young woman who had just lost her soul mate.
Before I left, she walked me out to say goodbye to the girls. I held them on my lap, amazed that the baby I had caught was such a big girl already. I kissed their heads and then went to say goodbye to their mama.
When I saw her face I lost it. I wasn’t stoic. I didn’t hold it together. I cried in front of her and she hugged me like a veteran of pain, and comforted me through the intensity of what I was feeling. She told me how blessed her life had been and how she trusted God -- that she knew He loved her and her girls, and had a very good reason for all that was happening to them, though she herself didn’t understand it. I felt as though I had stolen strength from her in those moments, as she used her precious few resources to feed my spirit, when there was little to spare.
Though I cried all the way home, it was in awe. I felt as though I had been in the presence of greatness. Indeed I had.
Their story still goes on, beyond babies and losses. Though I haven’t been a part of it in a long time, they have been a part of mine. I hold them in my heart, and when I think of the day I caught their second born child, I can’t help but think of all that came after, and the grace that I witnessed there.