Sunday, May 19, 2013

remembering Max: the longest Thursday of my life: part II, the photographs

soon after deciding no on surgery, our Social Worker, Ruth came in and asked to speak with us. she went on to talk about a special room within Oakland Children's Hospital called the Reflection Room that our family could enjoy together.

it is a special studio-apartment style room - with a kids area, a couple of couches, and a bedroom with a bed,chair and TV's. we could invite whomever from our families that we wanted to come (including our girls (!!) and our parents) -- and Max would get to be with us, disconnected from all of his wires, tubes, and crazy machines .... so that we could enjoy a little bit of "normal" family life ... and have some private moments together in his final moments of life. it was such an ideal scenario for us, so of course we accepted and immediately called our families to get their tushies over there while the nurses started prepping Max to go down as quickly as possible. we were especially excited for the girls to get to be with Max -- they hadn't seen him since he'd been born on Monday! and we were also excited that we could all be together -- since that scenario just isn't possible (aside from when we gave Max his blessing) in the NICU.

as M and i were sitting near Max and the nurses were disconnecting all of the wires, i had the overwhelming impression come to me to ask our good friend and photographer, Denae Harlow to come and photograph our family together (she has taken family photos previously for us, which i love -- you can view them here). i honestly didn't think she'd be able to do it because it would be such short notice, she has young children that she'd need to make arrangements for, and the hospital is pretty far from her house ... but the thought of having images of my little family altogether seemed worth the off-chance that she might be available.......and so i decided to call anyway.

the phone rang and i almost hung up because it seemed like such a huge favor that i was asking of her ... but then her son answered the phone, and i heard her on the other end asking for the call. when she spoke to me, she told me that she almost called me multiple times within the last week to offer to come and photograph us ... that she'd been thinking of us all day. i don't know if she could tell, but i cried. she said she'd try to make it work. and guess what? she was at the hospital within an hour.

in the mean time, the girls arrived -- and they got to see Max in a much less intimidating way than they had before. don't you think that there aren't many things more tender and sweet than seeing your kids take on that 'older sibling role' when you have a new baby? it is so sweet...and also freaky. like, please don't squeeze their eyeball like's real. or please don't smack the baby in the face with his blanket - i don't think he likes that. and...TWO HANDS!!!! [insert extreme heart palpitations here]. to me it feels like that baby was the missing piece that your family has always needed. this picture below is one of my favorites -- of me + my 3 kids....because it really does look like what it could have been like if we had been home, something i have ached to have experienced (side note: Alice had fallen asleep on the carride over -- and stayed asleep for the first little bit...which was so hilarious. because being 2 is just so exhausting, you know?).

and then Denae arrived and just started taking pictures exactly how we were. i love these very much. i know it wasn't easy for Denae to come. she had recently had a back injury, she has four little kids, it was a school night, it was dinner time .... the list goes on and on. but she dropped everything to come and be there for our family -  and the pictures she took (many of which i have shared already) are treasures to me. in fact they are some of my greatest treasures because in some ways they are my memory of Max. they tell so much of the story of how it was. of how he was. and when i'm having trouble remembering, i look at these pictures and i feel like i am there again.

{all pictures except for the 2nd on this post were taken by Denae Harlow Photography. you can visit her photo blog here}

so thank you Denae, for giving us these pictures. it was something we simply couldn't have done for ourselves, and yet they have helped us feel him near so many times when he has seemed far away.



Liz said...

Denae captured perfect moments of your time together. Thanks for sharing such touching moments.

Christy said...

Marce my heart aches for you and your little family. Love these pictures of his last moments with you. We love you guys!

D-dawg said...

These pictures make me cry. It was spiritual experience for me to be there and see your little Max, and your family with him. I wish I had been bold enough to call you, but I'm so glad you called me! I already knew without a doubt that God is aware of each one of us, but this experience was another witness to me of His loving care and concern for His children. I'm so glad it all worked out the way it did. Love you guys!

Becca said...

Beautiful pictures! I love these so much. I'm so glad that you have these!! Ps. Crying over the pictures of max's perfect little feet for some reason.

Kelli Marshall said...

Perfect. I've tried so hard to hold it together with these posts, but alas, seeing that picture of you, your mom and max kills me. These pictures are beyond words! Perfect.

Jana Weaver said...

so beautiful.

Tiffany said...

these pictures melt my heart...I'm so happy that you have them to treasure forever. love you friend xoxo

Bethy L said...

Those pictures are awesome! I feel like the Spirit is in every one!