The life and death of my niece

This week I had to say goodbye to my niece.

The life and death of my niece

I wrote about my niece being born with Trisomy 18. After months of dealing with hospital visits, numerous needle sticks, medications, all sorts of breathing apparatus, it was enough.

My niece's little body decided it was time. Her parents respected her decision and said no more medical interventions. They allowed her to go.

The family gathered at the hospital to say our goodbyes during the final moments. I was grateful for both my moment to say hello and welcome......and goodbye and thank you.

I hugged my sister. Older sister to younger sister. Mother to mother. We both know the pain of child birth and having a child with special needs. But now only one of us knows the pain of losing a child. As our tears mingled, I whispered words of encouragement. Then I hugged my brother in law as he held my niece. Whispered words to him also.

Then I touch my niece and silently say my goodbye. I know she feels and hears me.

I return outside to my son, who doesn't really understand why everyone is sad. I take him to the play area. While death is a natural part of life, he has a few more years before needing to learn about it. Innocence is a precious thing.

The life and death of my niece

Soon, my niece is gone and the family is left to deal with the aftermath. My sister and her husband do the necessary things at the hospital and then gather the family for the return to their home.

At their home we do what families have done for thousands of years when dealing with death. We eat, we drink and we share stories. Some about Hannah, some about the family, some about ourselves. We laugh. We remember. We argue. We bond. In all that we start the healing process.

My sister started a blog about her motherhood journey and coping with having a child diagnosed with Trisomy 18 -

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