He was six years old and had been battling lukiemia. He died last night. Daryl and Charlotte, his parents, were an example to us all of love, courage and grace in the face of the hardest choices anyone would ever have to make.
I grieve. Less so for Owen because his time might have been short but he was loved fiercely and often and is now out of pain. I grieve for his parents, lovely people who are now faced with their own battle to heal. You don't bounce back from a thing like this, not quickly anyway.
This has been a strange time for the LUC and I. The following is an email I sent them on Teusday.
>I wanted to add to Claire's thoughts. Monday was a very odd day for
>us. To see Owen in such a state and realize just how great the
>difficulties of being a parent can be was very sobering. I had thought
>that to go from that to the first shadowy glimpse of our child-to-be
>would be hard.
> But it wasn't. In fact what I took away from our time with you,
>Charlotte and Owen was entirely positive. It was a realization that
>love begets strength even in the face of such terrible difficulties.
> I'm sure you've had your black moments, moments when you felt
> you couldn't continue, couldn't make one more hard decision.
> And yet the people I saw on Monday were making those decisions
> and contemplating more with a grace and a strength that I
>couldn't imagine having. Couldn't imagine that is until I looked at
>that tiny figure on the ultrasound monitor.
> Daryl and Charlotte, by allowing me to share in this difficult time, however
> briefly, you have shown me a glimpse of what it means to truly love a child.
>No matter what happens in the end, your ordeal will have had at least
>that one positive effect in the world, an effect for which I'll be forever
Yes you read that right, I'm about to be a father.* This isn't the way I wanted to announce this but you can see how Owens illness and death and my impending fatherhood are all mixed up in my feelings. Daryl and Charlotte were two of the first people we told about our engagement and about the pregnancy. (Sorry Mum.) Mostly because it was a good way to distract them from their worries.
So now we all go on. Daryl and Charlotte to their grieving and healing and the LUC and I to our wedding and baby prep. I hope that our happiness will help them just as the example they gave me of good parenting will help me. I am going to hold what I learned very close as I take this journey into the deep, dark, mysterious jungle of fatherhood.
*Yes, yes I have details. As of today we're 14 weeks and 1 day in. The ultrasound and blood work showed normal development and reduced the likelihood of having a Downs Syndrome child from 1 in 686 to 1 in 6000 or so. The tyke was 7.5 cm long. We don't know the sex yet and aren't going to find out, kinda seems like cheating. Yes the marriage proposal took place before the conception. We really didn't expect to conceive on the first try (I'm trying very hard not to feel too manly about that). The wedding going to be 2 weeks before the due date. I hope our child is like us in that he or she is never on time for anything. There's a wedding web page in the works for updates, I'll post the link as soon as it's up and running. And finally remember: wedding gifts and baby gifts are two different things.