Jan 28, 2006

I’ve got a funny habit. I’ve had it for a while. About three years ago I placed my hand on my first son’s chest while he was sleeping and felt for his breath. I didn’t feel anything at first. My hand was huge compared to his tiny chest. My fingers nearly wrapped around him. I needed to search for breathing and, after a short while, I found it. That tiny chest rose and fell. Relief washed over me. Satisfied, I returned to my bed.

Through the years, that little body has grown larger but that hand continues to chase its sleep. Sometimes that hand finds a back or a side. Sometimes it discovers a forehead or foot, depending on the lighting. A year ago, it found a second companion. My habit gives me reassurance. But, for a brief moment each night — maybe while I search the covers or cautiously feel through layers of warm clothing — I feel a little fear.

I’m certain that my friends, who lost their baby just a short time ago, are familiar with that feeling. Their little one spent his short time on this earth in the hospital. Their hands and hearts spent a lot of time searching, worrying, and praying.

I can’t pretend to understand their grief. As a father, I don’t want to try. But I want them to know they are in the thoughts and prayers of my wife and I. We think about them a lot.

About twice a night.

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