|Shared by Mandy|
|He was the most precious and perfect thing I’ve ever known. He had ten fingers, ten toes, and the most adorable little face. He was what every baby is: a blessing. This baby was born to my aunt and uncle, and was given the name Kilian. He weighed 7 pounds four ounces and was born on the night of December 22, 2003.
On the evening of December 22, my mother told me the news of Kilian’s entrance into the world. I laughed and said, “Yes, another little kid I get to baby-sit!” Realizing my aunt and uncle now had four children under the age of five was unbelievable, yet it was still incredibly exciting. What was even more unbelievable was how this new baby boy would change the lives of those around him in such a short time.
I awoke Christmas Eve morning, not to the sound of my alarm clock, or the refreshing feeling of a complete night’s rest. Instead it was to my mother’s soft voice whispering, “Mandy, wake up, you have to go and watch the three kids.” I sat up sleepily in bed, looked at her, and was instantaneously confused. What three kids? It’s Christmas Eve morning and I don’t remember committing myself to baby-sit. I could sense in her voice that she was uneasy about something, and I became afraid that something was wrong. I looked at her and said, “What are you talking about, I thought I would be able to sleep in at least on Christmas Eve morning.” She told me that Kilian was breathing abnormal last night and that he was airlifted early this morning to a hospital in Rochester, Minnesota. My aunt and uncle were at the hospital and I needed to go and watch the kids for the day. So I quickly threw on some clothes, gave my mother a hug, and sped off into the freezing December morning.
I stayed at the house and watched the kids until 6 o’clock in the evening, and then their grandmother took over so I could go home. My parents had gone up to the hospital to stay with my aunt and uncle, but I had so many questions as to what was wrong with Kilian. I had seen him one day earlier, and he was a perfectly normal baby and it was outrageous to think that his health could change so rapidly. My parents called and my mother said to me, “Kilian’s blood is too thick, and so they put him on a dialysis machine, which would clean the blood and make the ammonia level go down.” Now realizing I should’ve listened more attentively in health class, I didn’t fully understand what all this meant. So I said to my mom, “But he’s going to be okay, right?” There was a pause on the other end of the phone line and I almost became angry. I asked my mom the same question again and she responded by saying, “Well, the ammonia level is so high, that it’s like poison to his little body.” I couldn’t believe what she was saying so I talked to her a while longer and she said the doctors were going to test his brain activity in the morning. What? No. But he’s fine. Why do they need to test his brain activity? I was utterly confused now. I had thought all along that he was going to be home the next day, and not be on a dialysis machine!
I sat on the couch feeling like I couldn’t breath, my heart physically hurt in my body. I felt so small and completely crushed by the news my mother told me. I asked myself, why does this have to happen to an innocent family on Christmas? I was confused, mad, and hurt. I could do nothing but sit, wait, and pray.
The next morning my mom came home from the hospital in tears. It was Christmas day and she said she would be going down to Rochester. I had a feeling inside me telling me that I should go with her, instead of going to my grandma’s for Christmas. It was my mom, my brother, and I on our way down to the hospital. I would later realize that this decision to go to the hospital made a Christmas that was unforgettable. My mother tried explaining in more depth what happened and she said, “Kilian is still not doing well and it doesn’t look too good.” I thought to myself: Well, hopefully she doesn’t know what she’s talking about. I ended up spending Christmas with my family, but in a hospital. At the hospital I went in to see Kilian and he was the only baby in the room that wasn’t making any movements. I saw every single one of my relatives cry, and it wasn’t a pretty sight. My uncle is big and tough, he was not only crying, but sobbing. It was so hard to see the things I saw that day in the hospital.
The brain activity tests came back and they showed that Kilian had no brain activity. We knew what was going to happen, but I didn’t want it to, I couldn’t let go of my innocent baby cousin. I stepped into a private room where my aunt and uncle were holding Kilian. This time was used for the family to have a chance to go in and say their good-byes. I kept thinking that this is one of the hardest good-byes I hope I’ll ever have to say. My mother and I went into the room, and I could feel myself just smile and start to cry. The sight of this beautiful child held in the arms of his parents with so much love is a sight I will always remember and cherish. At that point, I knew nothing else in the world mattered to anyone besides Kilian, and the love that he made visible in all of us. I leaned over him, kissed his head, and told him to have a good time in heaven. I knew he heard what I said because he drew in a small breath of air as I turned to leave the room. The sadness on the faces of my aunt and uncle was indescribable, and if I could have told them one thing, it would have been that Kilian impacted everyone’s life that day for the better. He showed me that love is everywhere in this world if we just stop and look around. Love is in a person that you have known for three days and never had a conversation with in your life. Love is everywhere and I was face-to-face with it when I looked at Kilian’s face that Christmas day.