In the early morning hours of October 27th, my grandson, Graham Leo, came into this world by emergency c-section. By strange coincidence, my niece Emma was in the same Winnipeg hospital emergency room experiencing contractions, but her situation proved somewhat more serious as the baby was coming six weeks early. Emma has a pre-existing condition that makes her high risk in the delivery room, so my sister Nance, was noticeably concerned. As we sat together waiting through our family’s second emergency c-section of the day, we both remarked how unbelievable it was that we were both welcoming grandsons on the same day. But we were also keenly aware that our family’s history of remarkable coincidences have ended badly in the past.
We were both thinking of our parents. How we lost Dad and his three brothers over a two and a half year period—all to cancer—their diagnoses overlapping so that each funeral felt like a foreshadowing of what lay ahead for the next brother and his family.
Sixteen months after Dad died, our stepfather Paul was rushed to the hospital with a brain bleed. By the time they wheeled him into the emergency room, he was unresponsive. Mom was so distraught she had to leave the room when the decision was made to say our good-byes. She complained of a headache and when Nance helped her onto a hospital bed to rest, Mom also suffered a massive stroke and did not regain consciousness. She died 12 hours later that same day. She was only 69 years old.
So we’ve grown accustomed to waiting helplessly while fate, God, or whatever it is in this world decides, whether the outcome will be met with tears of sadness or joy.
It came as a tremendous relief when Denver was born weighing 8lbs. 4 oz., healthy and strong, and likely not as premature as originally thought.
“Now we have a new family story,” Nance said.
Yes, we do. A beautiful one where the birth of a new generation—sons of cousins, born on the same day, in the same hospital, 12 hours apart—will help soften the memory of past coincidences that ended in loss.