22 January 2009

Love Radiator

26 July 2003
2:30 pm: He had a good day today.
Arterial line removed, may not need replacement. Good.
Blood gas checks will decrease, fewer heel sticks. Good.

It’s about 4:00 now, son, not that you really understand time right now. Or maybe you do, you just hve no way of telling us. I can’t tell sometimes, either. Really tired, and it messes with my sense of time. Good thing they have a lot of clocks in here, always easy to tell time. Although I wish the digits weren’t red. Red doesn’t soothe me, too active, and I’m anxious enough just walking through the door.

Sorry, son, I didn’t mean to ramble. I’m distracted, by fatigue and hunger and these damn headaches I keep getting. I’m distracted by the sight of you laying there, all small and pinkish and curled up on that pillow. The plastic cover almost disappears sometimes when I’m watching you. But it’s still there, as I keep forgetting when I reach out to touch you, only to knock my fingers against it. I hope the noise doesn’t bother you too much. Anyway, I meant to tell you about something else I feel when I come in here to look at you. Yeah, I’m nervous and tense, but I feel really good at the same time. Especially when I walk around the corner after having scrubbed my hands and arms, and can finally get to your side. Really good, a calmness that sort of spreads over me like wrapping myself in a warm towel, fresh from the dryer. The calm I get when I watch the sunrise, or geese swimming across a lake. And every time it happens, I look at you and I wonder, How do you do it?

3:30 pm?: Surgical consult. The doctor says he has a hernia.
A what? An inguinal hernia. Is that bad?
It needs repairing, soon, not now.
The NICU nurse says he can be circumcised at the same time.
Great. Just great.

When I asked how do you do it, I was wondering how you could make me feel so good, how you make it so I don’t want to leave this place. Not while you are here, anyway. Otherwise there is little to recommend it. All the machines, the blinking lights, the constant beeping. Lots of hand washing; I don’t think my hands and arms have ever been this clean in my life! It isn’t so bad when it is quiet in here, son. And by quiet, I mean less noisy, not noise free. The nurses and parents and doctors are in and out of here constantly. They have to be. But later in the day, and especially when regular visiting hours are over, there is a certain hush that comes over this place. I like those moments, my son. It is then I can pull my chair a little closer to you, rest my head on the isolette, and just look at you, meditate on you. With the lights down a little low, it’s like a shrine, with you at the heart of it. It draws me in, and I wondered, if we turned the lights off, would you throw off your own radiance?

8:20 pm: His oxygen is down slightly. Odd, but that is a good thing.
Nurse C. says he has been sleeping well.
He likes being on his belly, his crits are better when he does.
‘Gives sleeping like a baby’ a whole new meaning.

Radiance of an unearthly kind in the light shining on you, kiddo. It isn’t unearthly in a bad sense. Heavenly is the word I was looking for. You, a pink onyx figurine lit from within. It’s beautiful. No, let me rephrase, you are beautiful. Yours is a beauty terrible and wonderful to behold; I have no desire to be anywhere else. It is this light that fascinates me. I will not say I am the moth and you are the flame; that makes it sound dangerous or that I might get burned if I were to get too close. Really, I am not close enough, because I cannot hold you, at least not yet. This explains the pain in my arms, the ache of supporting a void not yet filled. Wait, was that a twitch, did your fingers just move? I put my hand in the isolette, quickly but softly, to brush your fingertips with mine. Little pink feathers. I breathe against the plastic and wonder, what is this strange attractor that draws me in?

9:10 pm?: Skin color has improved, not as much yellow.
Light therapy is helping, the mask protects his eyes.
The heart murmur detected earlier appears to have “resolved”.
Good. Avoiding surgery is good.

I know, son, I know. It came to me in a flash. The light that is you creates its own gravity that acts only on those of your blood. That must be it. This is the force that draws your mother and I back here, day after day, night after night. I can feel it when I am at home. I can feel it while I am making toast (one of the few things I can keep down these days), taking a shower, while trying to fall asleep. This ghostly tugging at my heart. Do you know what you have done, my son? You are a miracle of modern science! You are creating love at a distance. Imagine that! Your tiny body a pink loaf of bread with the density of a neutron star, sending out wave after wave of powerful love. The molecules of my heart resonate to your frequency and I find myself drawn back to you. This is a circuit I would never willingly abandon. How could I? This hospital room, this plastic shell that is your home, has become the chapel and shrine to which I make my daily pilgrimage. I come on my knees to bask in the presence of your love.

9:41 pm?: Final summary. Nurse C. tells me your kidneys and bowels are functioning.
Tomorrow we may actually be able to feed you. Feed you!
A tube and syringe with some mother’s milk and something else.
Better than nothing. The nurse asks if I am okay, chiding me gently.
She tells me to go home, sleep, and eat. The parents need care, too.

So I’ll leave you now. I am exhausted. Oh, before I go, here is a picture of your sister. The one with the ring. I thought you’d like that. We didn’t get one of you wearing it. Later, perhaps.

Good night.

I’ll be back, how could I not? I orbit the Sun, hungry for its light.


  1. A wild emotional ride.

    Love to you, and your family. May the light continue to shine.

  2. "Little pink feathers" *sniff* You're my favorite writer.

  3. You are a magician with words.

  4. More, more, more!! I love your writing.

  5. This was my favorite line:

    "The molecules of my heart resonate to your frequency"

    Damn you for making me weepy this morning. But, also, thanks.

  6. i have walked this exact road. i'm holding our hand.

  7. What powerful words- evoking such emotional responses...

  8. I love your connection to your children and the honesty that lies beneath the beauty of your writing.

    a pink onyx figurine lit from within - cool

  9. Oh my. This has completely changed my morning.

  10. Wow. Just... wow. This was so powerful, packed such a punch. You have my full admiration.

    Anna xxx

  11. Truly beautiful - thank you for sharing such wonderful sentiment and such love.

  12. That was beautiful. I'm so glad I found your blog.

  13. That was lovely IG. I love you label I touched the sun and lived...that is how I feel about my son. Their light burned out way too quickly though.

    Lovely just lovely post

  14. You got me all emotional now. I'm heading backs to VE's place.

  15. Gumby, I've stood in your shoes with my second daughter...I truly know.

  16. What a touching account of your experience. Thank you for sharing...

  17. Like I said...I soooo love a man that can write! YOU amaze me! You radiate love in those words! Blessings dear man! Lisa

  18. Clearly you've stolen all of the good words in the universe, you big, mean word stealer!

    But I'll forgive you because I love babies.

  19. Pink onyx... beautiful... Having spent a good deal of time in a children's hospital ICU, I know that you've captured the setting perfectly.

  20. Done well, prose is really poetry in disguise. This is poetry.
    Thank you for some beautiful images that will stay with me.

  21. Ah, G. To be honest, I came here earlier this morning but left the tab up unread. Guess I needed a little prep time. It hurts reading these beautiful words, especially knowing how it has to end.

    And now it's 5 minutes late and I still don't know how to close this.

  22. You sound like an amazing father. I wish all children were loved this much.

  23. Headbang8: Wild, indeed. Thank you for the love, I’m keeping a little going in my heart.

    Simplicity: *blush* Thank you!

    Kat: Spreading that good Irish magic…

    Janie: I am working on it, and thanks!

    IB: It took a lot of polish, though. Thanks!

    MD: Glad you liked it, sorry about the weepies! You’re welcome.

    Sunny: Thank you!

    MIW: I thought that was you. Thank you.

    CPM: Thank you. I have some tissues around here somewhere.

    Liz: I have to channel them carefully.

    PHST: Bless you for saying that. The onyx was an inspiration, from where I don’t know.

    SK: Please tell it was for the better! :)

    Anna: I am honored! Thank you!

    Krystal: Thank you, I’m happy to do it.

    Bella: Thank you. I’m glad you are here!

    Sarah: Thanks. The label was an inspiration, too, origin unknown.

    PHFL: I hope in a good way!

    Sweet Cheeks: I did not know! Peace to you.

    Anita: welcome! Thank you for reading.

    Cw2smom: *blush* Aw, shucks, ma’am. Blessings to you as well!

    Cat: I’ll be happy to share, they are just borrowed! :)

    OAM: It is a beautiful stone. I hope you the ICU was kind to you, hard to forget for sure…

    Vic: Thank you! What a lovely compliment!

    Michelle: Thank you, my dear.

    Captain D: Terrible beauty is the phrase I’ve heard; thanks, bro.

    Lizspin: Thank you!

  24. Beth: *blush* Thank you, that's very kind of you to say.

  25. I'm pretty sure you know I can relate. I felt every single word you wrote.

  26. Momo: I knew that you could. Hugs for you, my dear. Big ones. :)

  27. Please-Please put your whole
    journal together and contact
    some agent or mag.My beautiful

  28. pass me that glass of red, buddy...

  29. I read this early this morning. I couldn't bring myself to comment as everything I tried to write seemed just so... I don't know... it just seemed impossible with your amazing words to offer anything of substance in return.

    The love you offer here radiates. Fills my heart with pain and joy simultaneously. I can barely breath reading it again. To lay yourself this bare and to offer this to us is a thing nearly unimaginable. And yet here it is, a gift of sharing that I thank you for. As to share this is beautiful. You connect with your writing in a way seldom experienced.

    Another market to consider that pays well and several writers I share with have had success being published in - http://www.csmonitor.com/aboutus/guidelines.html

  30. There's nothing I can say that hasn't been said. I am just flloored every time I come here, and that's not the booze talking. (It's 6:30 a.m. for Chrissakes...)

    Thank you.....for another stirring, stirring piece. (okay, that's enough ass kissing for one day.)

  31. Dad: I'm trying, there's some big mountains to climb. I know...

    Braja: With pleasure, my dear!

    LJ:*blush* Thank you so much! And I really appreciate the contact info!!

    VM: Well, let's wait until at least 8:00 ;) Thank you for the compliments, and the other stuff...:)

  32. I'm with Vodka Mom, everything I want to say has already been said. You are an amazing writer and every time I stop by, I feel like I was right there with you when you experienced these things.

  33. I read this the day it was posted but couldn't think of anything to say. But I wanted to make my mark and say I was here and really appreciate how you can share your story with such heartfelt words. So, now, I'm just going to say "Beautiful"

  34. This story creates its own gravity, echoing the light of your son.

    There's not really much to say in its presence, just feel its weight and pull.

    It's as if you are a prism that separated and defined this specific frequency from a mass of white light.

    That is very beautiful writing.


"Let your laws come undone
Don't suffer your crimes
Let the love in your heart take control..."

-'The Hair Song', by Black Mountain

Tell me what is in your heart...