Friday, November 16, 2007

Mass of the Angels for Carlos

Today: As promised, today was truly a Mass of the Angels and a beautiful celebration of Carlos's life. It is hard to imagine that a stranger's words could somehow lift us from the grief which we have all so bitterly felt ourselves at the pit of this week, yet the Irish priest's unwavering faith and conviction only served to re-ignite ours and through all our tears, gave such comfort as to make those tears bittersweet.

Do not pray for the soul of Carlos, for he is already Saint Carlos and is happy. Pray instead for his family and friends who sadly mourn his loss.

Peter's mum so bravely spoke of the journey the family have taken in her heartfelt poem about the seemingly lost hopes of your son becoming a man, yet in her words, recalling his journey, Carlos became that man. The priest echoed this wondrous sentiment:

Carlos lived the life he was to lead, he served his full purpose
before being reunited with God.

Our paths with the family crossed on 12 July and for 7 weeks in the PICU, and beyond onto the floor, our friendship blossomed under such shared adversity that if it weren't for this blog and my ageing memories, I would find it difficult to recall it all, as thankfully, time can heal such wounds. Yet I do recall, with a smile now, looking through the windows into Carlos's room next door, either his Dad watching the baseball, or Mum staying on top of her business on her Dell and beside them, Carlos's shock of raven hair and long black lashes and how each day's furtive steps into each other's lives moved us ever closer. A smile through the glass became a chat outside the rooms, became words of comfort, became a hug, became a shoulder to cry on in moments of utter despair.

When you experience life in intensive care, jointly fighting your baby's corner, making their decisions, giving them their voice, forcing action when the direction is uncertain, preparing for procedures and surgeries, the intensity of shared emotions is so profound. And yet the person to support me so greatly during those bleak days, was, ironically, Vivian, a Mum going through her own silent anguish.

Vivian and Peter's generosity of heart to Reuben continues to be an inspiration, and offering their support to us even today is truly humbling. I admire them immensely. And today, we felt so welcomed into the fold of their bountifully extended family, that we went from the reception to their warm and comforting home.

Carlos will always be remembered, kept alive in our hearts for all eternity. I know at times, the grief will re-emerge and be so raw for all, so I leave here the priest's lasting words which, in the Church, found light in the darkest depths:

We know where Carlos is. He is playing with the Angels,

and what a beautiful way that is to remember him by.

* * *

I want too to include here the lullaby which Mum would sing to Reuben and which today has felt so poignant to me.

Guardian angel, From heaven so bright,
Watching beside me, To lead me aright,
Fold thy wings round me, O guard me with love,
Softly sing songs to me, Of heav'n above.
Beautiful angel, My guardian so mild,
Tenderly guide me, For I am thy child.
Angel so holy! Whom God sends to me,
Sinful and lowly, My guardian to be;
Wilt thou not cherish, The child of thy care?
Let me not perish, My trust is thy pray'r.
Beautiful angel, My guardian so mild,
Tenderly guide me, For I am thy child,
O may I never Forget thou art near:
But keep me ever In love and in fear.
Waking or sleeping, In labor and rest,
In thy sweet keeping My life shall be blest.
Beautiful angel, My guardian so mild,
Tenderly guide me, For I am thy child,

* * *

Our little friend, Carlos, was united with God on Monday, a happy and brave little angel.

Vivian recalled how, when being wheeled into cardio surgery, he was smiling and laughing as if he knew it was his time, as if he was saying goodbye.

Our hearts break for the loss of their truly beautiful, long lashed little boy who fought so long and hard and yet through this, gave his mum and dad such hope and strength that was a joy to witness. The Solodkin family, Vivian and Peter and their daughter Angela, have shown more courage than I can ever describe and in their unison, they devoted their all to their little boy. Their grief must be unfathomable.

Carlos will always be a part of our lives. We will tell Reuben all about him, how he fought so bravely alongside him, how Viv and I would dream of the times our boys would play. I still have those memories of our boys playing together in my head, and nothing will take that away. They are so real in my head as if to say those moments really happened. Carlos will live on in our hearts and minds.

We visited a priest yesterday to arrange for a Mass to be said for his family and to ask the questions which we know are impossible to answer, the why?

The Mass of the Angels will be held at the Sacred Heart Church, Ventura, at 10am on Friday. I know the family made many friends at Children's and I promised to let you know the details. I will bring with us all your messages of condolence to the family.


Lori Pullen said...

I am so sorry to hear of the loss of little Carlos. I hope his parents will get through this. It saddens my heart for such little ones to go through so much in a short period of time. God has a reason for what he does and perhaps he has a greater purpose for little Carlos. Send my condolences to the family and I will include them in my prayers tonight. Give my love to Reu and a kiss on the head from his Auntie Lori and tell him I love his little smile and when he sticks out his tongue. It gives me pleasure to see the wonderful pictures that you have taken of little Reuben. God Bless you, Jason and Reuben.
Much Love ,

mog-aj said...

Please send Carlos parents our deepest comdolences. We cannot imagine what they are going through but our thoughts are with them.
S, S and A x

ellen charge said...

wow many hugs and kisses for u so hard must b to hear of all those and to think how close u werewith ur gorgous boy andnever happend and thanking god it never did and will love u heaps

Geraldine said...

So very sad to hear of the loss of Carlos. May God bless him and keep him safe and may he give all his comfort the parents. please send my sympathies to them. Geraldine and Mark x

Ericap said...


We are so sorry to hear of the loss of Carlos, I know that you and Vivian have given each other so much support over the last 4 months. Please pass on our condolences to her and her family. I am sure little Carlos's time, short as it sadly was, will leave lasting love and enriched living in all those that knew and loved him.
Love Erica and family

Eva Nichole said...

I am so sorry for their loss, losing a baby is the hardest thing anyone can go through.
My thoughts and prayers are with the family and Carlos.
Crystal and Eva

Kristi said...

Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts on Carlos' Mass... It sounds like it was a beautiful service (albeit devastatingly difficult) and your words, as always, are eloquent. The death of a child is unfathomable. I do hope that Carlos' family finds peace in the knowledge that he is "playing with the Angels."
I don't know what your beliefs are on angels in our lives... and whether we can see them or not. A friend of mine believes that when babies giggle and coo at what seems to be nothing (because we don't see anything there) it's actually them interacting with the angels that surround them - - relatives who predeceased them, family friends... whomever. As they age, they stop laughing and cooing at "nothing" because those angels, while still present, are no longer visible in the same way as they are to a new baby. I don't know what I believe... working on that a lot lately... but if you go on the belief of my girlfriend, then perhaps Carlos will share a bit of playtime with Reuben afterall - - in a way that only Reuben will be privileged to know.

My deepest sympathies to Vivian, Peter, little Angela and their family & friends. And, my sympathies to you and Jason... I know this has been a difficult time for you as well.

With love,