Saturday, January 9, 2010


Well, it looks like this is going to be my main blog - at least for awhile anyhow. And I feel like putting up some of my poetry, and some of my pictures - so, yeah  I think I'll go with that for awhile and then...we'll see.

And when a city on the lip of the Arctic Circle, a city like this one, exists with pyramids in it...
nothing is impossible...

Letting Samuel Go

No one should ever be expected to turn off
Anyone’s respirator; it’s just such an unfair
Decision to ask of anybody, but when it’s a child
And not even your own child, well, I only hope
I never have to do anything near as hard again

Samuel was our godson, and we were barely
Getting used to that idea when the towers fell
And of course there was no getting used to that
But to realize our friends had been amongst those
In the restaurant, the one a the top of the tower?
Showing off their new baby boy to both sets
Of grandparents, well, that was beyond any logic at all

I don’t know how long it would have taken for us
To learn about Samuel if he hadn’t had a doctor’s
Appointment that fateful morning;
His mother left the breakfast early and was on her way
Down to the main floor when her tower was struck
We learned later that she was found crumpled
In a stairwell, curled protectively around Samuel
Even in death, trying to save that baby boy’s life

Unfortunately, Samuel had inhaled a lot of smoke
By the time a fire-fighter got to him and was scarcely
Breathing, but the guy got him going again and they
Both got out – the fireman had the presence of mind
To grab Elizabeth’s wallet when he grabbed the baby
So when they got to the hospital, it didn’t take too long
Before we were reached – we were listed as one
Of their, “in case of emergency” numbers,
The notation, ‘god-parents’ beside our names

We didn’t know until we got to the hospital that both
Elizabeth and Michael, Samuel’s parents, had perished
In the tower tragedy – we didn’t really know that for sure
And wanted to think it wasn’t true, but we had been
Invited to that breakfast celebration and had decided,
it should maybe just be their family – we could get together
With them another time; lucky for us, huh?

It took a while for it to sink in; all of Samuel’s grandparents
Were probably dead also; it was too horrific to comprehend
But, there we were, the god-parents, the poor kid’s last chance
At a family, only we didn’t know right away, just what
Being Samuel’s family would entail and the doctors,
As much in shock as the rest of the city, were not
Able nor inclined to tell us much the first night;
In fact, they said very little, told us we should go home,
That what Samuel needed more than anything
Was uninterrupted sleep

Sleep - what a concept - Daniel and I spent most of the night
Re-planning our lives; we hadn’t even been sure we were
Going to have children of our own and now it seemed
We had an instant family; it seemed disrespectful to the memory
Of our friends to think in any way badly about inheriting Samuel
As our son, especially when so many had lost so much

The next morning at the hospital, the head of neurology
Asked us to come with him and sit down in an office
Where he would join us in just a very few minutes
I’m assuming it was his office since there was a model of a brain
On the bookshelf in there, and books that seemed mostly to do
With the brain - that is what neurologists do, I learned,
Work with brains, and anything to do with brains

These doctors, we soon learned, also get to tell you
When a brain has died, and although Dr. Kittering was very kind
There was no gentle way to tell us that Samuel’s brain was dead
Samuel was brain-dead; I kept turning the phrase over in my own mind
It was hard to grasp; I couldn’t seem to wrap my mind around it
The concept - what it meant and what now

Dr. Kittering started talking about alpha waves and different lobes
And no activity, and how Samuel could not breathe on his own
And we should start thinking about when we would like to turn
Off his machine; after what seemed like an indecently short time
He mentioned that most of Samuel’s other organs seemed to be
In very good shape, making him an excellent candidate for organ
Donation; at first I was so confused, I thought, what would he want
With more organs - you can’t give him a brain transplant, can you?
Then I realized that they wanted to use Samuel’s organs as soon
As he, as soon as he was - God, I couldn’t even bring myself to think it
Let alone say it.

Kittering asked if he could call a minister or priest for us
Or if we would like to see someone from Psychiatry - often a good
Resource when dealing with news of this nature, apparently.
We asked for some time with Samuel, and time to be alone too
I remember how tiny he looked in the hospital bed with all the tubes
Sticking in him everywhere; there was an odd smell in the room also
It reminded me of mothballs for some reason; and the noise from the
Respirator was enough to drive anyone crazy - Daniel and I held
Samuel’s hands and spoke to him for a while, trying to read his expression
But of course, there were no changes in his face, just his little chest
Going up and down as the machine made its awful clamour.

After about ten minutes of this, Daniel and I held each other up
And made our way to the hospital chapel; we are not religious
In the least but it is a soothing quiet place to be and right then
We both really needed that; I confess, I did send some mental prayers
To whoever might reside in such a place - it couldn’t hurt, right?

Daniel and I went over all the possibilities we could think of but mostly
We tried to figure out what Elizabeth and Michael would do in the same
Situation; we both thought we knew, as the topic had come up more
Than once, not about Samuel, but about each other and the four of us
Had all agreed that we would rather be dead than live a pseudo life
In some diminished capacity; in fact, our wills stated exactly what to do
If anything of that nature should occur – we had practically made a pact
To keep this very thing from happening, that is, forcing someone into
The impossible position of having to turn off life support.
However, Daniel and I are fairly strong people with what we hope
Are good values and a sense of what is right and decent; we left
The chapel knowing what had to be done.

I asked Dr.Kittering if I could hold Samuel while he turned
the machine off.
I didn’t want him to feel alone in the bed while his life seeped away.
So, the nurses and technicians removed all the wires and tubes
Then they placed Samuel ever so gently in my arms, wrapped
in a big blanket
As if he needed to be kept warm; I really appreciated that -
it was a nice gesture
Then Dr. Kittering looked at us and raised his eyebrows
as if to say, “Okay, now?”
We both nodded, I stifled a sob as Kittering switched the knob
to off and we watched
Samuel’s heartbeat slow on the monitor; Dr. Kittering muttered
something about stepping our for a few moments
so we could be alone with our boy

Oh that wee little man, for a good ten moments he drew ragged
breaths and his poor heart beat an irregular tattoo,
but he would not give up, he just kept hanging on
I was rocking him and singing to him and both Daniel and I
had tears running down our faces
After a bit, he was starting to gasp and that was just too much for me,
I brought my mouth close to his ear and whispered,"Samuel - we love you
you honey - and your Mommy and Daddy,they love so much;
they can’t wait to see you again. Neither can your Grandma and Grandpa,
and your Guido and Nona - they’re all so excited that you’re coming
home to them Samuel, so you know what? You can let go now little man – it’s time, soar with the angels - we love you..."
And just like that, we were letting Samuel go.

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