Friday, July 30, 2010

Flashback Friday - Happy 28th Birthday Martin!

On August 3rd, 1982 something unexpected happened; my baby brother was born at just 24 weeks gestation. I'm not sure how it happened or where I was as I was only 6 years old and barely remember... but I do remember the next year and a half pretty well. Martin Franz Phillip Frei was born into this world too early, but we were so blessed to have had his company for a year and a half.

I could show you pictures of how my brothers skin was translucent or how he spent a lot of his life in an incubator, but out of respect for my mother and her disliking of airing personal stuff on the internet... I won't. Come over to my house for some coffee and cookies and I'll bring out the photos! What I will show you are a few pictures of us enjoying our time with my brother. The top picture is of my brother in hospital, I think he was around 8 or 10 months old. The middle picture is my sister and I with Martin at Christmas when he was 16 months old and the bottom picture was with us on his first birthday in Hospital with him (I'm on the left with the pig tails).

My brother spent most of his life in hospital, and when I think back to it I am amazed at how amazing my mother was. Since Martin was born so premature he had to be in a special hospital that was a hour away from us. My mother used to drive twice a day to pump (can you imagine how hard it is to get milk at only 24 weeks gestation? Its hard... very very hard) and visit Martin... could you imagine spending 4 hours a day driving... taking care of a sick child and still taking care of two girls at home that needed your attention; I couldn't imagine it. I have a hard enough time being at home with my two girls and giving them all the love they need. My mother truly is a hero in my eyes. There were times that my brother was at home. During this time, my mother had to have Martin hooked up to oxygen, she had nurses coming in to help with therapies. It was a difficult time, but my mom never seemed to mind (or she hid it well) and she always had time for us. She is amazing. I can remember my mother even coming on field trips with us and bringing my brother and his portable oxygen tank... she did so much while there were other parents with way less responsibility that did WAY less. People came in to clean our house, cut my mums hair and some friends brought groceries. And while I tell you about how hard it was... there were also a lot of great times. Times that I shared smiles and babbles with Martin.

I remember this day so clearly... on March 3rd 1984 I was playing at my friends parents were visiting Martin and were late coming home... we had sensed something was wrong. Upon my parents picking us up, they took us home and gave us the news of the passing of Martin. They sat us down in the kitchen and told us that Martin had died. That it was his time, and he was now with God and the angels...somehow knowing that had made it better. My husband and I are not religious anymore, but having experienced a death while being a child, I am thankful that I believed God to be at our sides. It brought me peace and comfort. I remember the days that passed after that...seeing my mother in agony and pain... I hope I never have to experience that. The death of a child is possibly the hardest thing ever, no matter how long they have been with you. Mothers are strong and beautiful people...and I'm thankful I can still see mine any day I'd like.

As I sit here 28 years later... its still makes me teary eyed...I miss Martin so much. I day dream of how he might have turned he would look...would we be close (I'd like to think so)... would my family still be together?...the possibilities are endless. I am a firm believer of everything happening for a reason, this is what keeps me going when bad things happen...I believe we learn from everything. I like to think I learned a lot from my brother and his life and the events that happened following his death.

So... Happy 28th Birthday Martin! We miss you and love you forever!

Love your sister,
Vanessa xo


Bellz Journey said...

Oh Vanessa, I am sitting here in tears and in awe as well as amazment on how well your mother managed it all. I am currently 25 weeks pregnant and can't imagine the sacrifices your mother made as did the rest of your family. You know what I really enjoyed? The wonderful outlook you have on it all which is again your mothers doing. You could have ended up very differently, you know. Give your mom a hug from me and let her know it is moms like her that makes moms like me want to be better and better with each passing day.

Happy Birthday Martin!

Thank you for sharing.

krissilugbill said...

wow, i literally got teary eyed and chills filled my body right now. What an amazing flashback. how wonderful that you honor him and celebrate his birthday. I can't imagine how hard that must have been on your mother and on all of you! such a touching story!

Christopher And Tia said...


I'm crying.

A lot.

What a sad, sad, sadsadsad story.

I imagined what it must have been like. I tried to imagine myself going through it. Watching my mother go through it. And then I imagined me having to go through it with my own child, and omg.

And then I pictured you going through it. What a strong little girl you must have been.

Vanessa. I don't know what to say.

Its just so sad.

I think you're really brave for writing about it.

I had no idea.

Amy said...

Thank you for sharing this beautiful story. Some angels only share this earth with us for a short while.

Anonymous said...

You have written a lovely tribute. Both to your mom and your brother.
My mom volunteers at the local children's hospital. She shares some of the families stories and I'm always amazed at the strength of the families. My mom also lost a baby boy, only at a few weeks, she feels that having 2 little girls at home needing her helped heal her grief.