By Diana Quinones
How do you forget the images of your father withering away? How do you go on from grieving the death of him? How do you stay positive after doctors give your baby a death sentence while he is still growing in the womb? How do you survive that pregnancy, knowing any day could be the last day of your son’s life? How do come to God, asking Him why, why, why me? How do you gather the strength to give birth to your son, knowing he won’t be alive? How do you overcome losing a son? How do you overcome losing a baby? How do you forget the images of your baby’s lifeless body being given to you to be held? (That is, if you even want to forget them in the first place.) How do you go on from that? How does your marriage survive that? How do you get up everyday? How do you gather the will to live? How do you come alive?
I still do not have answers to any of my questions. Each day is a struggle, and each day is a blessing. I lost my father and son in the same year, and I am still asking myself how I am standing today. I would like to attribute that to God, to my husband, to my family and to my friends. In a sense they have helped me tremendously, but I know about seventy percent of my strength and my will to live comes from within me.
My son received a death sentence before even being born. I was one of those women who decided to carry their baby to term despite doctors’ warnings or advice to terminate the pregnancy. My husband and I wanted to give our son a fighting chance of life, despite his diagnosis. We prayed and begged for a miracle, and in a way, God gave us that. It might not have been the miracle we were wanting, but I now see a glimpse of His will, and let’s be honest, who am I to question God? I want my son’s memory to be alive, to remain a burning fire. I feel as though it is my time now to speak up and talk about my experience. To tell my story on how I became Jesse’s mother and how Jesse became my angel.
I know we will never have all the answers to our questions, but my husband and I have made a decision to live for our son– for the life he was denied. Every step we would take would be for him. I’ve found purpose in knowing God gave this to me so I could be a voice and inspiration to women who are going through the same thing. Maybe I can inspire them to choose life and not terminate it. Maybe I can inspire others to give their baby a fighting chance, despite what the doctors say.
We are living the life our son was denied. We are now in Japan, and we are drinking every bit of it in, exploring its wonders, and letting the world know that our Jesse Alberto was here. He may not be on this earth, but he is here, and we are living through him.
Don’t get me wrong, there are days where all I want to do is curl up and weep. Sometimes I cry so hard for my son that I struggle to catch my breath, and there are days when I feel sorry for myself. I look at mothers with their babies and wonder why that could not have been me. I pray that I get my rainbow someday, but no baby could ever replace my Jesse.
My husband and I have been closer than we have ever been; we hold each other’s hands on this pathway through grief. We smile, we cry, we laugh, we pray, but most of all we live. Living for our son.
Living for Jesse Alberto Castillo.