Sunday, March 11, 2007

The Eulogy

ed. note: This will be the last Doss-specific post for a while, but I thought you might want a little closure. The service was wonderful. We anticipated 25-30 people and over 70 showed up. Afterwards, Picasso and The VP hosted a reception at their house with snacks and beverages.

It was a nice memorial that helped offer a little closure for us all.

I wrote and read this eulogy for my son.

When Doss was born I pegged him as a warrior.

At 4 pounds, he was small; just a little more than half his sister’s size. And even though Doss was preemie-sized and suffered from preemie problems - under developed lungs still wet with fluid, glucose level only a fifth of what it should be - still he fought. Doss lay on the nursery warmer fighting to cry.

As I watched them clean Doss up, wiping the birth goop off of his body and sucking the amniotic fluid out of his nose, his little chest continued to heave, trying to let out a cry.

Doss fought against his under developed lungs, against the liquid on his lungs, against his crashing blood-sugar levels to cry out in opposition to the perceived injustice of being ripped from his watery womb.

Doss was a warrior who continued to fight for life in the NICU. Through batteries of tests, dozens of sticks and pokes, and what seemed like a gallon of blood drawn, taken a milliliter at a time, he battled on.

But on March 3rd, after 11 hard fought days, the littlest warrior finally succumbed to the forces that conspired against him. And just as I carried him in my arms to the NICU battlefield, I held him as he shuffled off this mortal coil.

When we planned the memorial for our Doss, the counselor asked us if we wanted to say any words about the impact of Doss’s life on people.

At the time, the question felt like a standard bereavement question; while Doss was a valiant fighter, he only lived for 11 days, and those 11 days were spent entirely in the NICU with only close family and friends.

But I like to have a captive audience, so I said ‘yes’.

As most of you know, I write a blog about pregnancy, fatherhood, and my take on life in general. If you are unfamiliar with blogging, it is basically an online journal where anyone can read and comment on what you have written.

Because I had shared our pregnancy with the world, I also shared our heart ache. And the world mourned with us.

Let me read you a few samples –

agpie's mom wrote:
i called my husband crying to tell him of your loss - i asked him why was I so sad? he reminded me that i felt like i knew you, i was pulling for you and for doss and for your's amazing what a blog can do. but for your beautiful writing and strength in tales, i wouldn't know you. i wouldn't know of your loss. and i wouldn't be crying. then again, i wouldn't be reminded of the blessings children and life bring.

thank you for letting me in and letting me hurt for you. i will keep your family and your angel in my prayers.

ETownDZ remarked:
I can't even begin to say how sorry I am. I don't know you or your family, but I have so enjoyed reading all about you. I only wish there were something I could do or say to take away even a small amount of your pain. Know that you are all in the thoughts of many many people, even those of us who have never really met you.

Kaz commented:
I'm sitting here struggling to figure out what to say.

I know there's not much I can say that will really help.

It is just that, well, it may seem strange, but with all the help you've given me (posting comments on my blog, advice...), and I've tried to give to you, I feel like we have some kind of daddyblogger bond, and... well, I just feel really awful for you guys right now.

I guess I just wanted you to know that Ms. Kaz and I are thinking of you guys, and, well, I just hope that helps a little...

Cry It Out! said:
Dana and I were talking about Doss the other day, talking about him like he was a close friend, a family member -- just from the gorgeous words you wrote about him. We were walking down the street and sending him our best wishes and best hopes. 11 days. I can't think of another person who touched so many hearts in just 11 days on this earth. Our thoughts are with you, our thoughts are with Doss, and, almost impossibly, our lives are a little richer for having shared in his short, beautiful life.

Honglien123 observed:
Thank you so much for letting us share in your family's story. Thank for being the thoughtful writer and father that you are. Small potatoes in the scheme of things. I am spending the day at home with my kids in honor of little Doss instead of going into the office. Please let us know what you decide for the arrangements, we would like to send something, flowers or a donation.

May peace find you somehow and may little Jorja always know that her brother fought for every inch.

And that’s just the tip of the iceberg.

To date, we have received hundreds and hundreds of comments, the majority of them from strangers and all of them offering their thoughts and prayers for Doss.

So Doss’s life mattered to more than just us; in his short time, he made complete strangers rejoice, love, live, and cry.

And finally, in true warrior fashion, I want to close with an ode to Viking warriors used to gird warriors who gave their lives on the battlefield:

'Lo, there do I see my father.
'Lo, there do I see my mother, and my sisters, and my brothers.
'Lo, there do I see the line of my people back to the beginning.
'Lo, they do call to me.
They bid me take my place among them in the halls of Valhalla where the brave may live forever.


Blogger moe "simon metz" berg said...

may love continue to replace your pain.

3/11/2007 11:23 PM  
Blogger Caitlin said...

I am here for the first time today, via MetroDad. I wanted to tell you how sorry I am for your loss. I wept at the sight of Doss' tiny hand gripping your finger. I wish you all the best on this hard road. You have honoured him so in your eulogy. I will hold my son extra close tonight and send prayers your way.

3/12/2007 6:28 AM  
Blogger Becky said...

Beautiful, Rob.

3/12/2007 6:58 AM  
Blogger KAT said...

Absolutely beautiful. What a fitting tribute to a little boy who touched more people than you can ever know. Ah, the power of one little person...

3/12/2007 8:29 AM  
Blogger Jules said...

That was beautiful. whata wonderful eulogy & tribute to Doss. I have been so saddened over the last week and continue to keep you all in my prayers.

3/12/2007 8:32 AM  
Blogger themikestand said...

I know there is no such thing as belated condolences, but I offer them up just the same. I wish you peace, healing, and loving memory.

3/12/2007 8:32 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Beautiful. That's all I can say. Thank you for sharing it with all of us!! I know I speak for everyone here when I say you and your family were in my thoughts Saturday.

3/12/2007 9:06 AM  
Blogger Rachel said...

I just recently came across your blog and just want to say, I am so very very sorry for your loss. I cannot imagine what you and your family must be going through. That was a wonderful eulogy and I'm sure the service was beatiful. Doss was watching it all and smiling.

3/12/2007 9:08 AM  
Blogger Bringing Up Ben said...

That was so beautiful and touching. You and your family were in my thoughts this weekend.

3/12/2007 10:18 AM  
Blogger Lainey-Paney said...

I'm many many miles away from you & your family.
You've remained in my thoughts and prayers.

and, if you believe in heaven as I do, I know of one precious angel up there named Riley. I like to imagine him playing...and smiling...and every ounce of his being just filled with an overwhelming joy & happiness that I hope to know someday.

At Riley's funeral, something was said that remains with me to this day: "We can't do anything to bring Riley back here to us, but we can live the kind of life to take us to where he is."

I'm praying for you guys...

3/12/2007 10:52 AM  
Anonymous cry it out! said...

What a gift for the little boy, to have known you at all.

3/12/2007 10:59 AM  
Blogger honglien123 said...

Thank you so much for including part of my email in your beautiful eulogy. I am deeply honored.

And to Doss,
Goodnight sweet prince, your little picture made me weep this morning. Join in the flights of angels and sing of peace for your wonderful parents and sister.

3/12/2007 11:21 AM  
Blogger Denver Dad said...

That was really beautiful, Rob. This will probably sound strange, but I hope the service gave you some joy. Given your eulogy, I think maybe you were able to find a way to celebrate your son, even though your heart was probably heavy.

Take care, all three of you.

3/12/2007 3:03 PM  
Blogger pokettiger said...

A beautiful eulogy that brought tears to my eyes.

3/12/2007 3:53 PM  
Blogger Erin the Innocent said...

That is a beautiful tribute to a little person who touched so many. I don't say much when I visit your blog but just know that my thoughts and prayers are with you.

May you find joy in your memories of Doss.

You were wrong though. We didn't know him for just 11 days. Through you we celebrated him and his sister throughout the pregnancy.

You have a special family.

3/12/2007 10:30 PM  
Blogger Kelly said...

You know, I can't even look at that picture of your son without my chest tightening, my breathing quickening, my eyes watering.

What a beautiful tribute to your littlest warrior.

3/13/2007 5:48 AM  
Blogger Sudiegirl said...

I am so sorry for your loss as well, my friend.

I wish I knew what to say beyond that.

I wish I could hug you and make the pain go away.

Right now, I can only wish that many loving arms and hearts enfold you.

Peace, my friend.

3/13/2007 5:49 AM  
Blogger radioactive girl said...

I am going to have to agree with cryitout and say that your son had a wonderful gift in knowing you even for such a short time. I will be thinking of you.

3/13/2007 6:22 AM  
Blogger Dee said...

Beautiful Rob, simply beautiful.

Thinking of you and your family.

3/13/2007 11:39 AM  
Blogger Dee said...

Beautiful Rob, simply beautiful.

Thinking of you and your family.

3/13/2007 11:39 AM  
Anonymous momto3cubs said...

Well done. Made me tear up all over again. Thank you for sharing it. If I lived close by I would have even come to the memorial. What a beautiful picture of your little man. I won't forget him.

3/13/2007 5:40 PM  
Blogger Amy said...

I am so sorry for what is happening to you and yours right now. So sorry.

As a mom of twins it must be a bewildering place to be. Saying hello and goodbye to your son while rejoicing in the arrival of your daughter.

I can only imagine you feel.

3/13/2007 9:34 PM  
Anonymous Julia said...

no one is dead until they are forgotten. Your son will not be forgotten by you or by anyone who has been touched by his story.

3/14/2007 10:13 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I know all too well your pain and joy. I had twin boys 16mths ago at 27.5 weeks. On of my boys battled for 8 days before losing. I believe with all my heart that he passed his strength onto his brother. Let yourself feel the grief and express your joy. Grief & joy are two emotions not meant to go together but I know they do. Be kind to yourself and understand the grief you feel is harder to get through when caring for another newborn. Understand that you need time and lean on all those who love you.
I wish your story ended better than mine but your family as does mine will also have a precious angel looking after you.

3/15/2007 8:13 PM  

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