My mom always says that when a baby is conceived and/or born, someone in the same family passes on to Heaven. I think of it as a body exchange with the essence of the soul whose time on Earth has ended. Honestly, I never really bought into that whole superstition. I chalked it all up to coincidence. That is, until it happened to me… twice.
Coming from a large extended family (my mother is the youngest of 10 siblings) there wasn’t a shortage of aunts, uncles, and cousins. Being together and growing up with such a large close knit family is one of my biggest and most treasured blessings. Each family member was/is unique and special in their own way.
All of my aunts were/are like second mothers to me. Whenever I needed an ear to listen, arms to hug, and a heart to care; they were/are always there. My mother’s oldest sister had passed away when I was around two years old. I didn’t get much time with her, but I did get to spend most of my life with my other aunts and uncles.
My husband and I started trying to conceive the Summer of 2013. That was also the Summer that my Aunt Marion (whom I lived with most of my life) got very ill. She had been declining for months. Her coloring changed, and her stomach continued to fill with fluid. She would get out of breath very easily. Eventually she ended up in several care facilities to help with her needs. She had no children of her own; therefore she loved her nieces and nephews like her own… especially my sister and I.
In July 2013, the doctors warned us that my Aunt Marion may not make it to her 81st birthday on August 12th. We all painfully watched as the cirrhosis of the liver was draining her of her strength. She slept more than she was awake. On July 25th we decided to have a birthday party for her in her hospital room, since she most likely would not make it to her actual birthday. Her mind was not fully aware that it wasn’t August. She was just so happy that everyone was there to celebrate her.
The very next day with everyone by her side, (I arrived last because I was at a baptism) she waited to take her last breath until I got there to hold her hand. During her last minutes on Earth, I whispered into her ear “Please ask God for a favor when you arrive. Ask him to send Brian and I, a healthy baby.” Two weeks later I had a positive pregnancy test.
Although the start of my pregnancy was bittersweet, I know my aunt was watching over all of us. Months had passed and three quarters into my pregnancy with my son Brian Jr, I had severe itchiness on my entire body. The worst were my legs and feet. I didn’t think anything of it, but mentioned it during my next OBGYN visit just incase. The gynecologist had me take a bile salts test. Several days later the results came back. I had a rare pregnancy disease known as Cholestasis of pregnancy. Besides the extreme itchiness, the main concern was that my baby could be stillborn if not delivered prior to 38 weeks.
I informed my family of the situation. My Aunt Gracie called me on the phone and said “Don’t you worry about a thing. The baby is going to be just fine. You are going to be just fine.” Her words sounded like the most calming sounds in nature. She said those words with such confidence. I believed her.
On March 25, 2014 my first son, and new love of my life was born. Brian Jr was a healthy 6 lb baby boy, born via emergency c-section after 29 grueling hours of induced labor. Although his due date wasn’t until April 14, 2014, he arrived perfectly healthy.
While I was home bonding with my new sweet boy and recovering; roughly a week later… both my Aunt Gracie and her husband (my Uncle Joe) ended up in the hospital days apart. However, my Aunt ended up in a coma. A couple weeks had passed, eventually there was no brain activity or improvements. Her children (my cousins) had to make the gut wrenching decision to remove her from life support. On April 14, 2014 I said goodbye for the last time to my unconscious aunt over the phone (I had just come home the day before after visiting her). With tears dripping down my red cheeks I said “I love you, love always, your Honey Bunny… and thank you.”
You may be wondering why I thanked my aunt. It’s my belief that she made a deal with God. I think that in order for my son to live, she offered up her soul. The irony of my son’s due date and my aunt’s death date was more than a coincidence. While I once was skeptical, my own experience with old souls and new souls made me a believer.
My now six year old son, Brian, often displays various mannerisms of both of my aunts. His chin quivers like my Aunt Marion, and he often hums like my Aunt Gracie. Although he has never met either of my aunts, I somehow feel like he has. They are a part of him. They are a part of me. Thankfully, I believe my mom was right all along.