3 years ago today on a Saturday @ 12:10pm my baby took his last breath…………………. laying on top of me in a hospital bed at Holtz Childrens Hospital P.I.C.U. surrounded by all of our loving family & friends, nurses & doctors. Everyone was staring at the monitor, the room was eerily quiet, or so it seemed to me. A few minutes earlier everyone sang Happy Birthday to Sal one last time, everyone (except me) knowing full well he would not be here for his next birthday. How could I have known that? I still believed he would never die. I whispered to him that everyone loves him and that they just wanted to sing to him because they love him. I didn’t want him to be scared. I don’t know how much he heard. I don’t know how much he understood, what he could comprehend. He was heavily sedated due to his extreme excruciating pain. Some of you may remember that his last words were ‘Momma, huggie”, and “I’m in so much pain, I need a new body” Those words are etched in my brain, my heart, my soul. How could my beautiful baby boy be in so much pain that he is wishing for a new body?? He’s only 7……….How is that humanely possible???????
I feel his oh so faint heartbeat against my chest as it very slowly stops, a short gasp and I hear my husband say, honey, he’s gone. The doctor comes over and puts his stethoscope on him, what????? Says the time…………..I start sobbing and screaming NO!!! Everyone comes to kiss him goodbye as he continues to lay on top of me and one by one they leave the room. Slowly my husband sways me off the bed and asks if I want to bathe him one last time. How did I do that? I don’t know, It’s like it wasn’t me. The nurse asks if I want his fingerprints…..of course I do………It was surreal. I dress him……………My husband tells me we have to leave, they need to take him……… He didn’t want me to see what happens next…………Leave, I can’t leave him……………. I’VE NEVER LEFT HIM……EVER…….not for a second. We are always together……… we are supposed to be together forever………………….how is he not going home with me????? I still don’t know how I left. I remember falling onto the swail telling my husband I couldn’t leave him, I just couldn’t. I couldn’t live without him. I remember him pulling me up from the ground telling me we had to leave. The HARDEST thing I have ever done in my life is leave that hospital without my baby.
I don’t know how I did it. I just don’t know………….
The days to follow are a blurr in some ways and so very real and clear to me in others. He came to me so many times to let me know he was okay……………….but I wasn’t, and I never would be. My husband took me to the funeral home every day …….every day for 3 days they would pull Sal out of the cooler he was in and put him in a room for me. I would talk to him, cry, lay on the cold hard table with him, hug him and kiss him……tell him how sorry I was that I could not save him. I asked him to send me a sign that he was okay and a tear flowed from his eye. My husband brushed it away hoping I hadn’t seen it, but I did…………..again, another tear……. I took a picture, which I cannot post because he would be mad at me…… He always had to look cool and wouldn’t want anyone to see him like that, although to me he was so very beautiful. The funeral director said that had never happened before………..
The third day my husband said this had to be my final goodbye………….. final….really?????…………. I dressed him in Stevie’s new Captain America tshirt that he so badly wanted to wear but never had the chance. I put his very favorite Captain America hoodie on him, the one that cost $75 that he said “don’t worry mommy I won’t tell daddy” when I bought it. We put one of his Street Sharks in his hand……….I layed down with him till I was told I had to go……………..then we kissed him,, we hugged him and we said our goodbyes to his physical body and left the room. Part of me stayed there with him. The part I will never ever have back.
The next day we all flew to New York and packed up “his apartment”…..then we came home to plan his Memorial service, his “Celebration of Life”. (He was cremated so there was no burial)
The service took place at Sheridan Hills Baptist Church. Although we are Catholic, all of my kids had attended Sheridan Hills at some point in their lives, Stevie for 11 years. The others for pre-k. Sal said if he ever had to go to school that is where he wanted to go, because of course, they are the Sharks. While planning his service I had a lot of his favorite songs that I wanted to play to a collage of his pictures. Many…..Most, not appropriate for a 7 year old, let alone a church. Of course they are so wonderful, they said they didn’t care……whatever Sal loved, they would play. So we proceeded to play Hotel Motel by Pitbull, Girlfriend, I kissed a Girl, Highway to Hell, Dynomite and so many other songs that were his favorites. Over 750 people attended his service, people who loved him from all over the world……………… I don’t even know how some of them were able to get there, but they did because they loved my baby…………….and I will never forget and always love them for that.
To all of you it was 3 years ago, to me it was 3 seconds. The physical, mental & emotional pain is beyond mortal comprehension.
I hope everyone thinks of my baby at some point today, my worst fear is that people will forget him. If I die tomorrow who will think of him??????? Who will keep talking about him???????? Who will keep his memory alive?????????????
Papo mommy loves and misses you so much………… forever & ever………. You will always be my baby……………
Hello, I'm Silvia, mother of 5 amazing kids. My youngest son, Sal, died from Childhood Cancer after a very long and torturous 3 1/2 year battle. I have an eternally broken heart but have committed my life to raising awareness of the dire need for Childhood Cancer Research. I am on a mission to save all the children I possibly can.