|Nikolas (Copyright J. Krehbiel) In this particular picture, Nikolas resembles Daniel a bit at this age.|
I thought a lot about Daniel in the past couple of weeks. Within the last couple of weeks, Daniel's only sister, who is a Type I (juvenile) diabetic gave birth to her first child. It was a challenging pregnancy, labor and birth, and many times I found myself mulling over the unfairness of my having lost Daniel without warning, and then still contending with the known issues of Type I diabetes in my daughter, and Crohn's Disease in one of my other sons. Both of them are now adults who have completed university. Daniel's brother Matthew, who was a preemie is now grown, well and at college. Of course, life is never purported to be fair. However, I don't think my daughter at any time was feeling unlucky. At no time during her pregnancy did she express discontentment at the part Type I diabetes would play in it. She maintained her blood sugars within the normal range using an insulin pump, as she has done since age 12. (She got IDDM at age 9 and started the insulin pump at age 12) Somehow, she was allowed to labor for almost three days and to deliver vaginally as she had wanted. She and the baby were in the hospital for a bit more than a week afterward and I did private duty nursing for them for the entire time. (Yes, Nana looks tired.) I am so incredibly proud of her. She kept uncommon grace, focus and strength throughout the entire process.
I heard echoes of Daniel throughout the experience. It was a very different experience from my own rapid labor and delivery with Daniel, who was my last child, and yet I was still playing his birth in my mind. This also occurred at the same major university medical center where Daniel's autopsy was initially performed and so Daniel slipped in an out of my thoughts while we were there. When I stood in the early hours of the morning with his parents, as my grandson was born, I imagined that both my father and Daniel were on both sides of me standing there, and there was just enough room in that space for that to have occurred !
My grandson Nikolas shares Daniel's middle name, which was Nicholas, and although Nikolas is a shiny new soul, I could not help but notice a family resemblance. The picture I have included of Nikolas could easily have passed as a picture of Daniel taken at birth, with about the same expression.
Daniel and Dad, I know that if the veil between us is thin, and if you could have been there, you were. Congratulations Daniel, on being an uncle, and Dad, congrats on being a great grandfather. If Heaven lies over top of the Earth, then we really aren't that far from one another, in the bad times, or in the really good ones either. I thank the rest of you for the thoughts and prayers through this challenging time for my daughter, Daniel's beloved sister.