Two years ago today, at 7:23 pm, my baby boy passed away from my arms and went straight into the arms of Jesus. Though his death hurts immensely, that little guy taught me several lessons in his short life that usually take people many years to learn. I’m blessed to have had almost nine months to learn from him.
Among those lessons, I learned to be more compassionate, considerate and kind.
He taught me to be less judgmental of others because you never really know what anyone is going through on a day-to-day basis.
He taught me to be brave and courageous. After he passed away, I discovered a layer of badass fearlessness that propels me to go after every dream I’ve ever had. So, when people see that I’m a public relations expert, actress, model, author, television host, business owner, property owner, world-renown speaker, and whatever other dream God lays on my heart from now until eternity, we’ll all have my baby boy to thank for being my inspiration to get off of my behind and actually go for it.
He taught me to be aware of everything around me. At one point, his doctors told us that because of his small chin size that his tongue couldn’t lay down flat in his mouth, which could’ve caused his tongue to fall back and cover his airway. I never paid attention to people’s chins before—but Lord knows I do now.
He taught me to live my truth in its entire manifestation. My truth is that just because my son died, it doesn’t mean that I’m not a mom. And just because the miracle we desired didn’t go the way we planned, it doesn’t mean that a miracle didn’t take place. These are my truths and I live in them and embrace them every day of my life.
My baby’s death taught me to cherish every single moment. As a parent of a NICU baby, you watch several monitors and you listen to every sound that those monitors make all day, every day. You hang on to any sign of hope and your emotions fluctuate for as long as you can take it until you fall asleep, wake up and start the cycle all over again. You become accustomed to your child’s medical status changing from minute to minute, sometimes second to second. And in the midst of those time keeping measures, you learn to hold onto every second as though it is the only second that will ever matter.
I’ve learned to be more gentle on myself and with others. God freely gives grace to all of us to get it right. And even when we don’t, He extends it again and again and again. There’s no reason why I can’t extend that same grace to myself and others.
Finally, my baby taught me to love deeply, enjoy experiences fully and to live life purposefully. I have learned to not take ever take any person, thing or experience for granted. Tomorrow is not promised and each person has the awesome responsibility of cherishing each day as it comes.
Thank you, little boy, for being one of your mama’s best teachers.
-Danielle Nicole Jones