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.