April 16th, three years on 

April 16th was the day I took one of my favourite photos of Oscar:

I think he looks like he is posing for the camera, and it makes him look older than he actually was. It’s also a very clear photo of those brilliant dark eyes of his. I see it often as it is the screen saver on my phone.

I imagine that people may think it would make me sad each time I see it, as it’s a constant reminder of our loss. That it may seen strange that I am reminding myself of the pain of loosing Oscar every time I look at my phone. That isn’t what I see. I will never forget that Oscar is gone, I will never forget the pain of losing him. I don’t need to see his photo to be reminded of that.

What I love to be reminded of is that he lived. That he was beautiful, brave and that he defied all the odds. That he was strong, that he was cheeky and that he proved that sometimes impossible can become possible. That is what I see when I look at that photo. That is why that photo makes me smile.

April 16th was the day I knew was coming and i dreaded. I kept what was going to happen a secret from everyone. One text I wrote the day before  included: “I’m afraid tomorrow won’t be good for visitors. Oscar could end up sedated for a procedure and could have a busy day with doctors/tests etc…”

What I didn’t say was that procedure was to take Oscar off the ventilator. Due to his lung condition the belief was that he wouldn’t be able to cope. That he wouldn’t be able to maintain his breathing unaided. But, despite this we had to try. He couldn’t live indefinitely attached to a ventilator.

I was pretty sure that April 16th would be the day Oscar died. I thought that today would be the end. I was completely terrified of them removing the ventilator. It felt safe all the time he was on it, but I knew it had to happen.

They tried and Oscar surprised everyone, again. He figured out that he had to breath for himself pretty quickly and just minutes after it happened I was asked if I wanted to hold him. Terrified or not, I was never going to turn down the chance for a cuddle. The entire time I was watching his breathing so carefully. He was still attached to monitors that would have alarmed if anything was going wrong, but somehow I felt reassured by just watching him.

He looked so strange without that tube in his nose. It’s amazing how much of his face it hid:


When we left Oscar that evening, the thought was that at some point over night he may need some help. That he would become tired and may need oxygen or a CPAP machine. He may even need to go back on the ventilator. I’m not entirely sure how I managed to leave Oscar that night.


I was so proud of Oscar that day. Again, we had been told something wasn’t likely to be possible and Oscar had again proved that yes it was (if only for a little while at least.)

Today:

I actually changed my screensaver from that Oscar photo a while ago, to another one of him. A couple of days ago I changed it back to that photo, not actually remembering this blog post! 

I remember when holding Oscar that day trying to match my breathing to his, and when I couldn’t see him breath I would hold my own breath. I wasn’t doing it consciously, I was just so aware that he needed to keep breathing. 

I was also very aware of the tray of drugs and emergency equipment that had been placed behind his bed just in case it was needed. I had visions of them needing to grab Oscar from me and to need to use that equipment. That, of course, didn’t happen.

One thing I didn’t mention is why I was holding Oscar. My job was to keep him calm (ironic since I was terrified) and like kangaroo care with premature babies, the feel of my breathing should have helped to stimulate his. This did work for a little while, as evidenced here:

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