Last Sunday was a very happy day for our greater family: my new nephew Alexander was baptized. The ceremony went well and we went out for a great brunch buffet with my parents and my sister-in-law’s family afterwards. I now have the great honor of being a godparent to both of my brother’s children and I am very proud to be that for them.
I have to say that it was still tough for me. The ceremony was fairly quick, but at the same time, I was holding back tears while I stood up in front of the church with my brother and sister-in-law and her sister. I scrunched up the program that I was holding. I didn’t want to feel that way, I was (and am) so happy for my brother. Thankfully I got a bit distracted while I was up there because my brother asked me to take a couple camera phone pictures and then the pastor handed me the baptism candle to hold up.
Part of Jon was with us though. I almost always carry around a Zippo lighter of his. Honestly, I don’t know if he really used it, but it was his and it’s easy to bring along. In my mind, he used it and it meant something to him. I reached into my pocket while up at the altar and touched that and knew he was with us.
Little Alexander was born the night before our son’s funeral. My wife and I made it down to the hospital that night, and we were so happy for my brother and sister-in-law, and we wanted to show them that we were happy for them. That night I held that innocent newborn little boy and it was everything I could do to not totally break down. It was so hard. Here was my brother celebrating one of the most joyous life experiences they can have, and 18 hours later we were going to have a funeral for our boy. I could only hold him for a minute, but I’m glad I did. It was such a good thing and it gave me a happy feeling, even for a minute. I honestly feel that the good that was in our son was passed onto this little boy (and Jon did have a lot of good, we’ll discuss that in the future).
To make matters even more “interesting”, his funeral was on my niece’s birthday. Unfortunately for the rest of her life when we celebrate her birthday, we will, even if we don’t talk about it then, be thinking, “this was the day of Jon’s funeral”. Thankfully she just turned two, so hopefully it won’t detract from her celebrations in the future.
Jon was born almost three months premature. We didn’t have a formal baptism for him, we had the hospital chaplain baptism him because we honestly didn’t think he’d survive (he weighed 3 lbs. 1/2 oz). I never got to have this experience with my own son. I know in the grand scheme of things, it probably isn’t that big of a deal, but it’s just one of those things that hits you when you cannot have any further experiences with your boy.
As tough as it was to stand up there and celebrate this event, it was a great thing and I’m very happy for my brother and his family. Despite almost breaking down and crying while standing in front of the whole church, it did make me think of happier times of Jon.
Congratulations Nick and Jeanine, you have a beautiful boy.