Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Tristan is Keeping Watch

I loved reading about this sweet little guy.  I smiled at reading how he wanted to be there for his mother's graduation.  I just didn't want to come to the end of his story.  And yet, although his earthly life may be done, he continues to affect many lives.  He and that beautiful head of hair, and the lovely way his mother, Samantha talks about him--have already affected mine.  To you, Tristan, and your mother Sam and father Mike,  my new-found friends, thank you for being one of our Dove-Releasing families this year at the Running with Angels 5K.  Carry on, sweet Thorup family.  Tristan will always be there, keeping watch.

Here is Tristan's story, as told by his mother, Samantha:

They say a woman's intuition is hard to explain but often accurate. On September 19, 2015, I had this feeling to take a pregnancy test. It wasn't necessarily an urgent feeling but the thought kept popping into my mind.

Finally, I convinced my husband, Mike, that I needed to take one. He agreed with a hint of amusement and exasperation. Immediately, the result showed positive.

Mike was in disbelief. He couldn't believe that the result would show up seconds after I'd taken the test! He was so surprised that he made me take two more tests, all coming back positive. There was no denying it: I was pregnant!

I was so ecstatic. Although there were certain things about pregnancy that scared me, the thought of being a mom felt so right to me. I'd been feeling like there was something missing in my life and the minute I found out I was pregnant, things fell into place.

We soon found out we were having a boy, proving that my instincts weren't always 100% accurate! However, once I warmed up to the idea, I couldn't go back. Being parents to a baby boy left me feeling so happy. 

The pregnancy went really well and soon, we found ourselves at my 36 week check up in April. I was already dilated to 3 cm! I told Mike I had a feeling the baby would be coming soon.

On April 22, 2016, I found myself at my college graduation with my water broken along with contractions. People say I was crazy to still graduate but I’d come that far…I was determined to graduate! 

After the ceremony, we went to the hospital and sure enough, I was in labor. 

At 4:35 pm, Tristan entered our lives.

My world changed as soon as I held him. Of course, motherhood has its adjustments. I was sleep deprived, struggling to feeding him, and Mike was in school and working full time. 

But I can honestly say, Tristan was perfect. Every moment with him was sunshine. Everyone was drawn to him and his sweetness. He had a way of making people smile and he was always well behaved. For me, the connection with Tristan felt very real. Even in my womb, I felt like I knew him. Even more so, when I could hold him. 

He was quirky, too. He always made what we called, “The Fishy Face” and sometimes when falling asleep, he’d leave one eye open as if to keep an eye on us. 
I wasn’t the only one who took to Tristan; Mike immediately loved him. He loved being a dad and rushing home to see him. He never complained when I asked him to change Tristan or hold him. Tristan’s face would light up when daddy came home, too. 

Then, on May 28, 2016, our world changed again. 

Tristan passed away from SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome) at 8:30am. 

I’ll never forget that day and how real the pain was and the start of such a different, unexpected chapter in our lives. Our journey since then has been filled with tears, long walks, and grief-ridden nights. But it has also been filled with love, kindness and light. 

Tristan was like a burning light in our lives and therefore, to live without him naturally held some darkness. I won’t ever say that I’m glad it happened because at the end of the day, I’d still rather have our son here. However, I will say that I can see how Mike and I will be better for having him.

We are more empathetic, more understanding, more keen to live our lives in a way that reflects goodness. 

Ultimately, the ache and yearning may never go away—but I’m okay with that. Because Tristan mattered. We remember him, though the world keeps spinning. When all else fails, when memories fade, when other tragedies happen, when adventures call us, we’ll remember that Tristan Thorup lived and he’ll always be our son. 

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