Oh, baby boy…. How our hearts ache tonight. How we miss you and weep for your family.
Henry, precious one, your life was all about redemption, from beginning to end.
We watched as Carla, your mommy, found you in a picture and fell in love, and as she took that leap of faith and flew across the ocean to claim you from a cold and lonely orphanage without hope, bringing you to a home overflowing with warmth and life and love.
Such a strong boy, a fighter! For over a year, through facebook, blogs, and email, we followed your surgeries, we rejoiced at your recoveries, we celebrated when you turned two with your family, and we couldn't wait to watch you grow bigger and stronger, turning into a young man one day, the whole world at your feet!
And you got through the "big" (but necessary) surgery we'd all been praying about, besting Hurricane Sandy herself, and finally coming home after three long weeks away, but never away from your beloved mother, who never left your side.
We worried last week when you had an unexpected setback, a massive infection in your tiny body, a complication of the surgery. More surgery and lots of hope followed. There were pain-free moments yesterday, and deep, connected gazes of affection between mother and child. Then today, your mommy announced that you crashed, nearly died, and then came back to her and to us. But you crashed a second time and then we heard no word for long, torturous minutes, which turned to an hour, and more. Silence from your mommy was ominous. We all prayed and hoped against hope, but then saw this, from your mommy's friend, posted on her facebook wall:
Friends. At Carla's request I'm telling you all that our friend and brother Henry has gone to be with Jesus, where there is no more pain, where every tear will be wiped away, where he will walk tall and straight forever! Pray for his suffering family.The grief. Unspeakable sorrow at having lost you, and anguish at the thought of your mommy, and the crucible she must be enduring. Like Mary our heavenly Mother, bearing the crushing weight of the loss of a precious, innocent son. Silent prayers that Mary would carry Carla through….
So many communities praying, crying, comforting each other, worrying about your mommy and your whole family. The Catholic bloggers, the Reece's Rainbow community, facebook friends, your in-real-life community. Helpless and in shock. So many prayers ascending.
As I said at the start, your whole life, little Henry, was about redemption. You had been redeemed from the orphanage by your mother, and in turn you redeemed so many other children who didn't have a chance before Carla introduced us to you and to Reece's Rainbow. You and Carla laid the foundation. You and Carla are the primary reason I am an advocate for orphans today. You and Carla are the reason that Malcolm has found a family and will be leaving the dreary, gray walls of an institution. You and Carla are the reason that Nicholas has a family coming for him, and little Nico as well, and the reason that Paul is home and the reason that Sabrina will be home soon. And so many others. Your mommy, through her love for you, started a domino effect of love and redemption, which is growing exponentially.
Sweet Henry, you have been used by our Lord to be the instrument of redemption for many, and for countless children to come. Yours was a life well lived. And through your baptism and incorporation into the Mystical Body of Christ, you yourself have been redeemed for all eternity.
Carla had big dreams for her Henry -- that he would be free of pain, and that he would walk and dance and run! That he would be a faithful disciple of Christ Jesus, becoming a pure reflection of our Lord to all who encountered him, and that he would become a great saint, enter into Heaven, and dwell in the House of the Lord forever!
All these dreams of his loving mother have been realized tonight.
Carla, my friend, your work as Henry's mother is now complete -- a perfect success. He is now exactly who he was made to be. Although your work as his mother is done, his work as a powerful and glorious intercessor before the Throne of God has only just begun.
Rest peacefully, powerfully, blissfully in the glory of the Heart of the Holy Trinity, dear Henry. You are free now, and perfected in the Love that you first learned in the arms of your mother.
Little Saint Henry, now and always, pray for us!
And when this mortal hath put on immortality, then shall come to pass the saying that is written: Death is swallowed up in victory. O death, where is thy victory? O death, where is thy sting? … But thanks be to God, who hath given us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. -- 1 Corinthians 15
These now-priceless photos, taken just weeks ago, courtesy of 5 Boys + 1 Girl = 6 Photography