Five Days With A Angel
Losing a child and losing a parent are very different. When you lose a parent, you lose part of your past. But when you lose a child, you lose part of your future. The greatest moment of my life was the birth of my son and the short, but amazing 5 days I got to spend with him. Everything happened so quickly in the hospital, where we waited to meet our little man. But then my girlfriend had a Placenta Abruption and rushed out of the room to have an emergency c-section, and all I could do was wait. After he was born, they had to resuscitate him and life flight him up to Akron Children’s Hospital. On my way up there to meet him, I was so worried. The scariest moment was not knowing if he was going to make it until I could be there. When I got to the hospital, the doctors explained to me that he was very sick, and they didn’t know what was going to happen. But I was not going giving up on him. The doctor’s asked if he had a name and I said yes, Tristan Shai Mitchell. As I stood over my boy, I said his name. Tristan opened his eyes and smiled at me. That was the last time I ever got to see his eyes, last time I got to see his smile.
The second day, I had him baptized and blessed by their Chaplin. With the fear of possibly losing my son, and knowing his mom wouldn’t be released from the hospital, I asked my friends and family to come up and pray with me. The doctor never had hope, he always told me to plan for the worst. I couldn’t do it; I couldn’t give up on my baby boy. I opened the Bible, held his hand, and read him stories about God and Jesus, and miracles. I prayed Psalms 22 over and over again.
The third day, they gave him 2 blood transfusions and he was starting to look better. I was hoping everything would be alright, but the doctors told me that his liver and kidneys were failing. Hearing that, I could feel my heart break. I had my family and his mom’s family take turns being beside Tristan while I went to pray in the chapel. I prayed my heart out. I prayed more than I ever have in my life. My girl said she just got discharged and was on her way up. I was hoping that her voice and her love would help him get better. I met her in the lobby and took her back to Tristan. He was hooked up to wires and machines, and had a tube down his throat to help him breath. She was crying very hard, but leaned over him, held his little hand, kissed it, and told him that she was there, and that he needed to get better so we could take him home and start our life as a family. Since I hadn’t slept the past 3 nights, she stayed back with him all night so I could get a couple hours of rest.
On the fourth day, the doctor told us he was getting worse. I asked for one more day to see if he would make any progress. The doctors told us if he could return some kidney function, that it would be a new ball game. The whole day, his mom and I stayed with him praying and hoping for a miracle.
The next morning, the fifth day, the doctor still had no good news. He was holding to much fluid and he was swollen 2 lbs. heavier, and was beginning to suffer. We asked the doctor if he would make it until noon so that we could get ahold of our family and friends. He said he did not know. So we, as parents, made the most difficult decision anyone could ever make, and decided to take out son off life support.
At 12 o’clock, my girlfriend, our families, our friends, and I all went back into a small room that we filled with 20 people. They brought Tristan back to us and handed them to his mom. He was breathing hard, but he was so amazing. I held him close and cried to God for a miracle. Everyone in the room got a chance to hold him and we all witnessed his last deep breath before the doctor came in at 12:30. He searched for Tristan’s heartbeat, but he had already passed. The room was filled with tears.
The next few days were a blur. 6 days after his death, we had his funeral. Before it began, the funeral director took my girl and I in before anyone arrived to see him. When we walked in and saw that little casket, it hit us hard. I think it hit my girl harder because she carried him for nine months, and he was her everything from the second we found out she was pregnant. I tried to be strong for her, and be her rock. I know that is what Tristan would have wanted.
I decided to say a few words in honor of my son so I went up, wiped the tears from my eyes, and tried to find the words to say. I am not a reader or a writer, so I just spoke from the heart. When I looked up, I realized how many people were there. The room was filled all the way to the back. Tristan had made more friends in 5 days then I had my entire life. I gathered up some more courage, and began to speak.
I told them, “Tristan was my son. God made him so beautiful, that he wanted to keep him. But God knew I wanted to be a father, so he gave me five days to teach him what a father should, the word of God. Tristan is up there jumping around saying, ‘That’s my daddy, God!’ and Jesus just smiled and said, ‘That’s why we picked him”
Before my son was born, I had always wanted to know what an angel looked like, and I finally got to meet one. My son taught me to never forget where you have been, never lose sight of where you are going, and never take for granted those who travel the journey with you. I miss you every day, Tristan Shai. Daddy loves you.