Yet despite the fact that my only time spent with Elena was when she was under sedation, a bond formed between us after the first picture we received from her parents. Since she was hooked up to dozens of wires, IVs, and drainage tubes, I was never able to hold Elena, though I did get to touch her foot and see her toes wiggle.
I am told Elena was a very happy baby who was good natured and quick to smile. Last night I thought I saw your eyes move under your eyelids, and I like to think that you heard our voices. Of course, I had no way of knowing that last night would be the last time I would see you taking your peaceful baby breaths, though certainly when I left C.S. Mott Children's Hospital, I knew that the prognosis had taken a turn for the worse.
So Elena: I pray that you are in a more peaceful place, where children need not worry about heart bypass machines and where they can run and jump and climb trees and do all the things you did not get a chance to do. I take some comfort in the fact that you are no longer suffering, though I am sad that I will not get to play tag or kick a soccer ball with you.
Elena, you probably already know this, but your parents were at your bedside every day for these difficult days, only leaving when the doctors kicked them out or when they paused to eat some cafeteria food. What your mom missed the most, though, was to simply pick you up and hold you, running her fingers through your hair and giving you kisses.
And truth be told, so did I, though you have to promise not to ruin my reputation as a would-be tough guy by letting anyone know this.
I wish for you to be in a place where the sun always shines and where you can roll in he grass with goofy puppies and eat as much Halloween candy as you want. Or for you to simply enjoy another life, a chance to live the life that was cut short in this world.
And I hope that we meet again some day, and you can tell me all the corny kid jokes you never got to share.
Goodbye, beautiful baby.
November 20, 2008 - April 4, 2009