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A Mother’s Love

Photographer Diana Hinek with her three children on Mother's Day 2018

Today the U.S. celebrates Mother’s Day. Although I have never believed in limiting the celebration of all moms to one day a year, I feel especially and emotionally compelled to talk about this day this year.

Initially I wanted to write a positive and joyful post about the beauty of being a mother, but I decided to dedicate this piece to a very special mom, who recently lost her precious baby.
I stumbled upon the story of Alfie James Evans almost by mistake. I was immediately drawn to him and his formidable parents Kate and Tom, who fought for their baby for months after, due to his diagnosis with a degenerative brain condition, the Liverpool hospital he was hospitalized decided to switch off his life support.
Alfie’s story sparked a huge and painful legal battle between his parents and Justice Alder Hey who rejected the multiple pledges for release so that he could be transferred to Italy, which had recently granted Alfie citizenship and had offered the family to transfer him to the Vatican hospital.
Doctors had proclaimed Alfie a lost cause, but after the ventilator had been turned off, he kept fighting and breathing on his own for 5 days. He passed away two weeks short of his second birthday.
I can not possibly imagine spending months hoping for my baby to get better and having to fight for his survival on a daily basis because the very same people who were sworn to take care of his health have decided that his life is not worthy anymore.
Yes, perhaps after trying every single possible alternative cure, Alfie would have not made any progress and maybe-MAYBE-he would have died anyway; but what is going on with the world, when we sacrifice the life of a baby because a law that stinks of centuries says so?
If the medical staff of the hospital thought they could not help him any longer, why couldn’t they let him go to Italy? If not Italy, why wasn’t he allowed to go home and be loved in the comfort of his parents and family?
See, I have been a wreck since his passing because I can not find peace for the fact that they simply starved him to death. They turned off the machines and then denied him nutriments and provided water only few days after. His parents were not even allowed a bed while they spent months by his side 24/7.
They justified the decision to let him die based on the statement that ‘it would have been in-humane to keep him alive’. Yet, they kept ignoring Alfie’s parents’ plead for more time or an alternative location and transfer.
They treated this family like absolute trash, although the world was watching, marching, protesting and praying for justice.
 
So how was it? When did you turn off the ventilator? Was it at the end of the day shift or the beginning? Was it before or after lunch break?
Did you just pick a random time of the day? Did you just walk into that room as if you were about to check someone’s blood pressure? Did you look into Kate’s and Tom’s eyes? Did you say what might have been the last word that little Alfie would hear?
Do you still cry for him everyday, like we do?
Did you think he was the cutest toddler in the world, like we all do?
Alfie was just a baby. He was everyone’s baby.
 
Unfortunately, Alfie’s story is not one of a kind. Cases like his are common and frequent. So I hear.
My hope is that things will start to change for these babies and their families. When things go really really bad, isn’t that a sign that soon change will happen? So they say…
So this Mother’s Day I want to wish sparkling celebrations to all the wonderful women out there who will get to spend time with their children; but I also want to tell all the other moms or those who long to be one, that they are not forgotten.
In times of tragedy we might believe our darkest thoughts and lose the awareness of love and connection; but that doesn’t mean that we are not close to our beloved.
Love isn’t something that goes away.
Whether, your child was only a beautiful heartbeat or a baby who gained wings too soon and too sudden. Whether you were forced to say goodbye, or didn’t have the chance to embrace one last time. Whether your baby was just a thought or your biggest desire, I just want you to know that you are seen and never forgotten.
You are not alone and always appreciated.
You. Are. Loved.