September 12, 2013

Angels exist

"After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever. Therefore encourage each other with these words." -Thessalonians 4:17-18

Today is a special day for me. Not because it's free-taco day at work, a holiday, or even a day off. No, none of those things bring the amount of emotion as today does for me, as today marks what would have been my Nephew Andrew's 6th birthday. What many do not know is that Andrew passed away 10 days after he was born. He was born two months early and with severe under developments in his heart and lungs. Although born pre-maturely, many children have the chance for survival, but when ailments develop within the mother's womb, the chances of living a long and fruitful life are not without problems, or are slim. Andrew was my first, and has since been, my only Nephew. I have no nieces at this time, so being an Auntie of Andrew is a high honor for me. My greatest achievement as well.
I can still remember the many miles I walked through the hospital halls at Loma Linda Hospital in Loma Linda, California. The NICU (Neo-natal Intensive Care Unit) became my permanent place of residence during the 10 days that Andrew was present with me. For those 10 days we lived together under one roof. I can remember the waiting room that housed the many relatives of mine that brought extra garments of clothing and pillows to sleep on the floors, curled up in chairs, or even slept in their cars, all waiting patiently for their next opportunity to visit with Andrew who slept day-in, and day-out in an incubator with medicine-tubes, feeding tubes, heart rate monitors, bandages and heat lamps all to help him produce healthy cells, feed his tummy and pump blood to his swollen body. Waiting was all we could do while our hearts beat anxiously for Andrew's survival each day.
"In the Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer."-Romans 12:12
As I sat there staring at the ground; noticing each relative step in-and-out of the NICU where Andrew was being hosted, I sat stunned within my own fear. I was calm and chatter-free. I wanted to see Andrew but didn't want to go in with anxiety running through my blood. I knew Andrew needed me, because I needed him. It was my turn now. Everyone who had gone to visit him before was now going to grab lunch in the hospital cafeteria a few floors below where we were staying, and I just needed to see my nephew. I would eat later. Afterall, a grumbling stomach was no match for the love my heart was calling out for.
I suited up, scrubbed my hands and arms with antibacterial soap and entered into Andrew's room where he was patiently waiting for me. A light was beaming near him and a song of hymns was playing softly on a near-by CD player. His inked footprints were hung up at the foot of his bed, on the plexi glass that also surrounded him. Charms and prayer beads adorned where his feet were resting.
My sweet baby, his hospital tab tucked around his small ankle and wrist. he wore a diaper that was ever so tiny. His tummy was swollen and round, skin was dark and taunt from the stretching and over producing of blood his body was trying to make. His dark hair was shifted in different directions and he wore a thick pair of padded foam glasses over his eyes to help his comfort level. I gasped internally and let tears stream out. How could something so small fill up my entire world with love?
I reached over and stuck my finger into his palm, and that's when it happened. I was his forever. He squeezed my finger with all his might, and I knew his courage would teach me a lesson about faith.
"My presence will go with you, and I will give you rest." Exodus 33:14
Andrew was more than just my nephew, more than just my Angel, he was the presence of God in a small frame that hosted him. He was calm, very present and poured out this translucent love that saw no color, body type or sin. It didn't judge me, reticule me or banter. It didn't need to say anything for me to react with such emotion that swept through my entire body.
"God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea, though its waters roar and foam, and the mountains quake with their surging." Psalm 46:1-3

Andrew was my source of love, he showed me God even through his tiny body full of pain. Andrew was beautiful and perfect to me. He is my love, my strength and my weakness. He reminds me of what love is and where the source of love comes from. My sweetheart baby nephew. You are my favorite source of love and I am grateful to you for all that you have taught me about love, life and death, because without death, that means there was no life, and without life, there was no love, and without love, there is only darkness, and a world with only darkness produces no growth, no love, and no life.

I love you Andrew. Happy Birthday baby boy. Auntie Loves you, forever and always.