We knew early on Tuesday that we would wait to say goodbye to our Atticus until after all the family arrived that could make it. After we let the medical staff know what our plans were, they started removing some of the IV lines from his body. Mommy held her little boy for about an hour and a half… rocking him, whispering the things she needed to say to him, cuddling him, loving him, enjoying the warmth of his body. He opened his eyes from time to time, each moment such an honor and a joy to spend with him. Then Daddy held his little fella. He rocked his son, talked to him, and shared the first-ever moments they had been given to feel one another cradled against the other.
For the rest of the day, Mommy and Daddy took turns holding Atticus, not bearing the idea of putting him back into his bed alone. Atticus melted into us immediately, his heart rate slowed from the 170’s to the 150’s, signifying the breadth of his comfort with us, acknowledging the depth of our relationship, the shared blood between us. This was the only time we got to hold our son, and we wanted to cherish the time we had left to do so.
Throughout the day, many doctors, nurse practitioners, and nurses came to visit Atticus one last time and pay their respects. Many of them weren’t even working that day but had been notified by colleagues of the change in situation. As parents, it is so touching to see the professionals, who had been largely stoic throughout their care of and treatment for Atticus, break down and shed tears for the state of our little boy. One of the nurses who had been with Atticus since he was rushed to the NICU brought us a figurine of an angel holding a child by the hands, and the doctor who had so gleefully done the “pee dance” when Atticus’ kidneys started functioning again, tearfully handed us a beautiful baby blanket she had crocheted for him.
We are so grateful for all the Blank Children’s Staff, especially our Primary Nurses. Their gentle hands cared for our baby every day. We know it was no accident that one of them was working the night we let Atticus go. Each of these three women felt a connection with our son that was evident to the last moments.
At approximately 10:40pm, the nurse administered more pain relief and turned off the ventilator. Daddy held his baby throughout his final breaths. Mommy brought him into the world and Daddy escorted him out. After our baby let go, each of his grandparents got to hold him, to have their private moments with the grandson they wouldn’t see grow up, each got time to love him. It was beautiful to see our son in the arms of our parents. After his grandparents had the opportunity to hold him, his Aunt Alexi and Great-Grandma Glass did the same.
Then Daddy said goodbye once more and Mommy held her son tightly. We told him how proud we were of him. How much we loved him. How much we had wanted him. How sorry we were that this had happened…
Our hearts are broken and we are absolutely devastated that we won’t be able to provide the loving home we had been preparing for our son.
We loved our son as only parents can, and his loss is incomprehensible to us and leaves our voices void of any words to suit our sorrow.
While we are mourning his loss, we also rejoice in and celebrate the 30 days in which he changed our lives and allowed us the opportunity to get to know him. We will continue to mourn and revel him simultaneously, and invite you to share fellowship with us to do the same.
We will be holding a visitation on Tuesday, February 22nd, from 4-8pm at:
Hamilton’s Funeral Home- 3601 Westown Parkway, West Des Moines, IA 50266.
Additionally, a funeral service will take place Wednesday, February 23rd, at around 11am or 12pm. We’ve yet to confirm the exact time with the church, but will follow up with an additional post once confirmed. A luncheon will immediately follow at the church:
Plymouth Congregational Church, 4126 Ingersoll Avenue, Des Moines, IA 50312
Please consider joining us. We know this is a time in which people question whether they will be in the way and don’t want to intrude. This is not the case. We’d love for you to join in the celebration of Atticus Bryce Burns. You’ve been an important link in his life and we would welcome your presence and participation in honoring our sweet little boy.
“Always remember, there is nothing worth sharing//
Like the love that let us share our name”
In honoring the ebb and flow of life,
Shana & Jared Burns