This was written by Ron Meirs in 2011. He wrote it three months after his grandson, Xavii;r grew his wings. Ron was inspired to share his story after he read another story by an angel dad (Mark). I hope in sharing this again it will show that it is ok for men to share how they are feeling in their loss.
This day started for me like most others. But by the end it was unlike any other before.
I had gone to work first thing. On this day I was attending a breakfast seminar so had gone in early and my phone was turned off. On returning to my office I noticed a number of missed calls from my daughter Kodie. As I picked up my phone she again called me. When I answered the phone a frantic Kodie muttered the words….”Xavier stopped breathing”. I tried to clarify what she was saying and managed to get out of her that the ambulance had taken Xavier, my 3 week old grandson, to Princess Margaret Hospital for Children. She was arranging someone to care for her other children and was then going to go to the hospital herself. I said that I would meet her there. As I work relatively close to the hospital I was the first to arrive. All the way to the hospital and every day since I kept kicking myself for having my phone off. I was picturing how frantic she must have been trying to ring her Daddy when she needed him most. This still plays through my mind months later.
Still not knowing everything but trying to be positive I went to Emergency advising that the ambulance had brought my grandson in. The nurse asked me to go through and they took me to a “quiet room”. I knew then what this meant. I asked the nurse if they had to wait until Kodie arrived before they told me anything, she said the doctor was going to come and see me. I then rang to see how far away Kodie and Mat were from the hospital relaying to the Dr that they were not very far away. The doctor sat down and said the words I never wanted to hear: “We are very sorry but Xavier did not make it”. It was at this time that a million things raced through my mind. Oh my god WHY..Why..Why It cant be…. NO.
Shortly after this the door opened and my own baby..Kodie entered.. I looked at her face and it was me that told her that ” He was gone” as she broke down into my arms. She kept saying I want him, can I see him please. The nurse brought him into the room and placed his beautiful body in her arms. Her and Mat sat there looking broken and hollow as they held their precious baby in their arms. Not long after this my wife Lisa arrived at the hospital to be faced with her daughter holding her little grandson.
How was I ever going to make it through this. How were we ever going to make it through this. I am the head of this family…I am the strong one…The Rock…the one that the kids can rely on to be there and help them. I am the one that fixes things, I am the one that makes things better….a kiss for a cut finger, a hug for a broken heart…but this????
At one point I sat there hugging Kodie as she was nursing Xavier and suddenly I thought that as a parent all one wants to do is make things better for their kids. Here I was with my child, who was nursing her child and neither of us could do anything to make it better for our child. A feeling of hopelessness came across me. We spent most of the day until late afternoon at the hospital just sitting and nursing Xavier.
I then had to watch my daughter have to let go of her precious baby as the coroner took him away.
My heart was torn to pieces and my brain was a mess with thoughts. What now?
Over the next week we looked after Kodies other children as much as possible to give Kodie and Mat time together. They were staying with us now as she couldn’t yet go back to the house. We helped with planning the funeral service and dedicated every minute of every day to what ever they needed.
Everyone kept telling us we needed to take time for ourselves…problem was that without making sure our baby was “ok” I couldn’t take time for myself. How could I think of me when her needs were so great. I knew how greatly this had affected me…and I wasn’t the one that lost a child…so it must be affecting them even more.
One of the moments that I will cherish forever in my memory was visiting the morgue with Kodie to spend some time with Xavier. Due to our busy lives we had not been able to spend a lot of time with Xavier in his short life. How would this baby know how damn much I loved him. I needed to see him and tell him this. I was scared when I entered the morgue as I didn’t know what to expect…but I saw the most beautiful little boy laying looking so peaceful. He was in a lacy bassinet with a lace blanket and little teddy. I spent one hour in this room with him and my daughter. It was a very special hour to me.. I was able to sit and nurse him telling him that his nanny and me loved him so very very much….I treasure this time and thank Kodie and Mat for allowing me to have that time.
It has been over 3 months now since Xavier grew wings and went to live in heaven. Every day is still hard. We have now been able to spend some time grieving ourself and are slowly working towards living without Xavier. We will never get back to normal as normal was with Xavier and this can not be. So we need to create a new normal. I ring my daughter everyday to make sure she is ok and I never turn off my phone…even for meetings. When asked how many grandchildren I have I always say 5…one of them just lives in heaven now. I have experienced Guilt, Hopelessness, Anger, Blame and Emptiness. I am now experiencing hope…hope that I can use what I have experienced to shape the person that I am now becoming, to ensure that I cherish all things in my life that is good,
I hope that I am now in a place where I am able to help ensure that the grief does not overshadow everything that is good in my life. I am sure that Xavier would not want me to miss all the wonders of life that still surround me.
Xavier, we miss you everyday and am thinking of you always. Rest in peace my angel. Love you, Grandad.