Our family suffered three tremendous losses earlier this year. My grandmother (paternal) and my grandfather (maternal) passed away within 2 weeks of each other. While they are missed and thought of every day, they were fortunate enough to live very full lives.
The first loss we experienced was my nephew. He was born with complications making his chances of survival slim, but all of us had hope. He passed away at four days old. Although small in size, his fight was great. This was the first child for my brother and my nephew’s mother. Having a 4 month old at the time and being so far away, it was heartbreaking for me not able to be there with the rest of my family to meet my nephew and to say good-bye. After the passing, I got on the phone with my brother and told him I would take a flight out right away. The only thing he asked of me is that I take my daughter with me so he could meet her.
Being that my brother is a State Police Officer, our family was able to see the brotherhood amongst not only his colleagues in Albuquerque, NM but also those in Santa Fe and through all divisions of law enforcement. Our little angel passed away in Albuquerque but was to be laid to rest in Santa Fe. I can almost bet that my nephew was the only infant to ever have a full police escort from one city to the other. Streets were blocked as the caravan of law enforcement vehicles made their way down the highway. My brother did the last thing a father could do – to transport his son to his final resting place in his own vehicle. Although my brother was visibly grieving, the focus was on a mother who had just given birth to her son and had to say good-bye.
It has been almost 7 months since Marco’s passing. Every time my daughter hits a new milestone I can’t help but think that Marco would be only a few months behind. As his sister I feel I have failed my brother in many ways to let him know we have not forgotten his son. My sisters and I will forever have a nephew, our children will forever have a cousin and my parents will forever have a grandchild. None of us know exactly how to express that to him or what the reaction will be. We talk about Marco amongst each other but the loss was too great and heartbreaking to talk freely about it with my brother. He baptized my baby girl a few weeks ago and even though I know he was trying to be in the moment I could see sadness in his eyes. Was he thinking this occasion could have been for his son too? That certainly did cross my mind many times. Our children were close enough in age to go through these celebrations together.
Although a mother’s loss is incomparable and unimaginable, a father’s grief should not be forgotten.