It is Tuesday night, Greg is back to work, and Isla and I have been staying busy since all of our family left town. So far, we all seem to be OK.
I think we are all floating a bit, still a little high from the weekend, still feeling the outpouring of love. Both make the loss of sweet Oakes a bit more easy.
We have all had our weepy moments. Even thought our lives have been completely centered around Oakes these past 15 months, it is almost as thought we have been sheltered a bit since he hasn't been home for so long. We didn't have a room ready for him at the time that he passed and we haven't had him here in so long that there aren't holes in our house, or the way that we live. It is odd to not get up in the morning and head to the hospital. I miss so much about the hospital, especially all of our dear friends there, but I have been loving my time with Isla. On Sunday, Isla and I went to the swimming pool in the afternoon. We were there for about 3 hours. Our pool is a zero entry pool, so I just sat in the water and Isla jumped around me, climbed on me, and just played and played. We were both in heaven. While I sat there I thought, there probably hasn't been a day in a long time that she truly had my undivided attention, and I could tell Isla was thinking the same time.
Like I mentioned, we are floating a bit from the weekend. We had an enormous amount of friends and family that came in town for Oakes mass and celebration. The mass itself was perfect. It was amazing. It felt like just the kind of mass we should have had for Oakes. It was very much a children's liturgy. There were children singing, children bring up flowers to Mary during the offertory, we played some of the lullaby's that we often played for Oakes and we sang some of Isla's favorite songs at the end of mass. Our sweet friend Ellen, was a reader and so was nurse Ali, whom Oakes and all of the Ortyls love. Oakes' aunts and uncles plus Chaplain Connie from SLCH read the petitions, and Greg and I eulogized Oakes. After mass, we changed our clothes and went straight to the park for the celebration, which like the mass, felt just perfect. It was a bit warm, but other than that, it was just the kind of party that Oakes would have wanted. We think we had close to 400 people there, all smiling, talking about Oakes, our family, and how their lives have been touched by us. It was an exhausting day for Greg and I, but holy, amazing, inspiring and reaffirming.
I will post pictures & more details soon.
But for now, here are the eulogys that Greg and I shared on Saturday.
First and foremost, thank you all for taking time out of your summertime Saturday afternoon to join us in celebrating our son’s inspirational life.
Ever since we found out that Oakes would be born with a rare and complicated heart defect, as many of you know, we have been fighting an exhausting but so very important and rewarding battle for and with our son.
(An amazing and unedited image of Father Brown on the alter during mass - to me this just seems to sum up the tone of mass. This Image was taken by Heidi Drexler. I heart Heidi. Big time. Check out her website for a few more images from Saturday.
And a favorite FB post from Nurse Ali at the end of the day:
Today was a day of inspiration... A day where angels surrounded me, a day where hope was felt, a day where I witnessed what true love can do... Today was a day that changes people.
On Sunday night after we got Isla in bed, Greg asked me, "So what now?" And despite all that has been going on in our lives, I had an interest to watch The Real Housewives of New York. I said, "I think I am going to go watch some trash TV and unwind." He stopped me and said, "No, with our lives, what are we going to do? What are you going to do, what do you want to do?' We both sat down and just exhaled. I shared with him, I'd love for the 3 of us to go on a vacation. I'd love to just do nothing for some time, and figure out how we will all just settle back in. There are some projects around the house that I want to do, and I am going to dig into the long list of ideas that I have for the foundation. I'd also like to write a book or two, especially while Oakes' life is so fresh in my head. I'd like to drink more wine, get a few massages, cook a few meals in my kitchen, get Isla to eat some vegetables, pull weeds in my garden, host a girls night out, join a book club, etc. but the reality is that my days have been pretty slow so far, and that feels right.
Isla is doing OK too. She asks lots of questions about Oakes, which is somehow comforting. I have explained over and over that he is dead. He won't be coming home and we won't go to the hospital to see him. We have been and will meet with an expressive therapist from the hospital for Isla. She assured me to be open and honest and that Isla will ask the same questions over and over, likely for a long time. So, we have explained that when Oakes was born he was very sick, that is why he has had to stay at the hospital all of the time. And that is why he had all of the tube and tape and the medicine. I assured her that the doctors and nurses and Greg and I did everything to make him better, but he was just too sick and his body stopped working. She is usually Ok with my explanations, and like any topic that we are discussing, she usually changes the subject quickly, like: "Yeah, Oats is dead. Can I have a cheese stick?"
We will keep the posts coming. We have so much to share, still.
We thank you all for your support, your love and prayers. Saturday came together in a beautiful way, parts of the day just fell into place, but there were also a dozen of friends that helped us out tremendously - thank you all again.