Comments 5

Rhetoric of truth

Exactly one year ago tomorrow, my baby boy stopped eating.

Within 24 hours, he had to be rushed to the hospital, from where he was never allowed to come back come.

Within 48 hours, he would have had so many medical procedures done and so many chemicals pumped through his wee body that he would stop breathing and he would end up in the NICU.

Hell on earth?

Most definitely. It was.

For us.

But most importantly, for my little baby boy.

The pain. The poking. More pain. More poking.

Looking back, there is a number of things that torment me out of my skin.

One of the worst?

Paradoxically, not having been told the truth.

We strongly suspect our very experienced oncology team knew from the very beginning that the chances of survival were slim.

We also knew that realistically, God wasn’t going to perform a miracle and that Georgie was headed for the exit before he had even had a chance to start the living.

But we chose to fool ourselves.

We chose to believe in something God had never promised us.

Were we fools?


We were.

I have one very big regret and one single piece of advice for people finding themselves on the threshold of death with their precious little ones.

I regret not having had Georgie out of those four hospital walls as soon as possible.

I regret not having fought for his right to be home with his family.

To be out between chemo sessions, enjoying the fresh air, the birds, the sunshine, the salty sea breeze, a seesaw, hugs and cuddles with Emma, lashings of love from his granny and from us.

house-entrance-255132_1280I regret not having given his the best of chances to enjoy this world when he still could have had.

When he was still aware of the world.

When he could still comprehend.

10411951_10152052120026512_2889413543604405471_nBefore the pain became all-encompassing. Overwhelming. The only sensation.

I also regret being a coward and deluding myself with fantasies of healing and miracles.

I should have known better.

I should have known by the lack of evidence that these things happened a long time ago and are not the norm.

I should have looked the reality in the eye and accepted it.

You see, we fear death absurdly in our society.

To our detriment.

To our children’s detriment.

If only I had known that even the death of a child can and will be survived.

If only I had known that lies and half truths hurt much more than the reality itself.

Death is part of our existence.

I know it now.

And so is pain.

In my despair to avoid one and to deny the absolute reality of the other, I lost myself.

I lost myself in anger. In self-pity. In denial.

And I lost precious time I could have gifted my son on this earth.

Time that I will never get back.

But here I am now.

I have lost a precious son.

And I have learned a precious lesson.

A lesson I wish I could pass on to anyone who has children in this world.

You were not promised anything when that precious bundle of joy entered your life.

All we are given is today.

Make the most of now. Of this moment. Of the present.

Even if you are standing on the threshold of death with your precious little one.

The present is still yours to grasp, to enjoy and to make the most of.

To gift to your children.

The only and the most precious gift you could ever give them.

The gift of time with you, the gift of time basking in the beauty of this world and of your love.

Will you fear death less and enjoy life more?

In my son’s memory.

It would bless my soul much more than any words of comfort, than any gifts, than anything else on this earth.

Knowing that the world is being enjoyed as it should be.

Even from the threshold of death.


This entry was posted in: Parenting


Mum to one beautiful girl on earth and one sweet baby boy in heaven. Privileged carer. Encourager and friend.


  1. So much in this post Oana, so much pain, so much that I agree with and some that I don’t.
    Firstly, anniversaries are so very painful, as we relive every moment that we as a family have gone through with our precious child.
    Secondly, our doctors were ALWAYS brutally honest with us and it was excruciatingly painful. Personally I prefer the naked truth but not every parent does. HOPE is very important – nobody truly knows who will live and who will die. I always preferred being given the truth in ways that still allowed room for hope and divine intervention. There were children in Bristol far sicker than my daughter who are alive and well this day, so although doctors should tell the truth and be realistic, they should never take away hope.
    I’m so sorry that you weren’t encouraged to take Georgie out between chemo sessions. Although it was hard for us to spend 14 weeks in Bristol and to be so far away from home for so long (Leah was terribly homesick), it was also a blessing to be treated at Bristol Children’s Hospital. I saw a way of working that I hadn’t seen before, where parents were treated with utmost respect and where the children were encouraged to be out of hospital in between treatments. It really was quite a different mindset, but that of course is NO consolation to you right now and I’m sorry that your time with Georgie was so short and that you have so many painful memories.
    I agree that death is feared absurdly in this society, but I don’t agree that you were fools, you were holding onto hope and that was essential.
    Praying for you and sending you love and hugs ❤️

    • The staff was wonderful, Vicky and I could not fault them even if I tried. But if I had known that the outcome was poor from the very start I would have chosen to take him home when he was not taking chemo, even if it had been on my own responsibility.
      I am not writing this to complain against the medical staff. I am just writing looking in hindsight at the things that I could have done differently.
      I regret most of his life was spent in a hospital room rather than in his home, surrounded by all of us. Even if that would have been very difficult in practical terms. I would have done it for him, just to give him a taste of this world.
      When we were finally allowed out, he was under morphine and I don’t think he got to see or feel much.

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