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The Day Before You Died

in loving memory of Devin Taylor Estes
July 3, 1995 - September 11, 1995

by Jan Estes

reprinted with permission

It was Grandparents Day, and we didn't even know it. It was my first, but I will always remember it as "the day before you died"! How could I possibly know that it would be my last day with you?

I thank you, Devin Taylor Estes, for teaching me so many things in your 9 short weeks of life. You showed me that your mother could have deep maternal feelings for you. You helped her mature in a way I didn't think was possible.

You showed me that Grandmotherhood is very much like starting a family over. You taught me to have more patience with you than I ever had with your mom. You brought out such a deep love in me. It has been just over four months since you left us, and I know that you are in a much better place, but I feel robbed! I think of you every single day! I wanted many more years with you! I am just beginning to let myself remember the wonder of your birth. I was there, remember? I touched you first, and the doctor snapped at me for it! HA! I couldn't wait for you to be born! I gave you your first bath, remember? You screamed! I told your mom that you wouldn't scream for her, because I took care of that first bath! You proved me right! Thank you! I gave you your first cereal! Remember the mess? We had more cereal on your face than you got in your stomach, I think. But, you did just fine with that spoon! I walked the floor with you when you had colic. Remember? And, I cautioned your mom that you were getting spoiled! I'm so glad we spoiled you, now! I showed your mom how to stimulate you with toys. Remember? I wanted you to have everything, so when I thought you needed something, I went and bought it! It was hard to let your mom buy things! I saw you nearly every day, and I reminded you daily that I was Grandma. Remember? I told your mom often that you were calling Grandma, and she would turn you right over to me. Remember? I love you so, and I miss you terribly! Remember how mad your mom got when I called you "Tubaluba"? But you just smiled! Remember?

"The day before you died", I walked into the room and started talking. Remember how you looked all around for me? And I was touched! I believe that you tried to say good-bye when you reached up that day and touched my face ever so tenderly. Remember? I was looking forward to many more tender moments with you. I wanted to make sure that you were raised with a sensitivity that is lacking in some men, so I would've encouraged such expression of emotion and sentimentalism! You loved to be rocked. Remember? You fell asleep in my arms in my comfortable rocker/recliner. Remember how Grandma fell asleep, too? You woke me up quietly by squirming. Remember? You smiled so sweetly up at me. Remember?

Are you smiling down so sweetly at me now? I hope so! Your mom and I have started an infant loss support group in the area. Not everyone knows this, but it is in your memory and for you that we work so hard at it. We don't ever want to go through that again. Most importantly, we don't want anyone else to go through that especially without support. Did God send you on a mission to teach us so many things? Or did He just send you on a mission to teach us about SIDS so we would have more compassion for others?

It was so hard at first. You and your mom thought that I had all the answers. It was so hard to deal with your death, but to have to watch your mom suffer was more difficult! All I could do was hold her, hug her and cry with her! I would've traded places in a minute with you if I had the choice, and I told your mom that. I didn't have a choice! God made the decision!

No matter what, Devin Taylor Estes, I thank God for the 9 weeks we had with you! I am so grateful that your mom chose life and not abortion! And I thank you for all the love and joy you brought to my life. Life will never be the same again. No matter how many grandchildren I have, I will always wonder what life would've been like with you! You will always be my first grandson, my first grandchild, my "Tubaluba", and our "Munchkin". Say hello to your great-grandma and great-grandpa up there for me! I can picture you on your great-grandpa's knee right now. See me smiling through the tears? And don't worry. Your mom and I are taking care of each other!

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