Idrees — Abu’s story

Written by: Abu Saleh

“Einstein is reported to have said “There are two ways to live: you can live as if nothing is a miracle; you can live as if everything is a miracle”. Having held my son (Idrees) only once before he passed away, this has galvanised my belief in miracles. There are virtually infinite reasons to wake up every day and enjoy life and its miracles. Idrees was and continues to be a miracle that lends purpose to my life.

It is soon International Women’s day, and I am forever grateful for all of the women in my life. From my Mother who gave birth to me and raised me with love, to my sisters that have taught me invaluable lessons everyday – to my wife – who has given me three miraculous children, including Idrees, who passed away shortly after birth.

On 4th November 2014, Idrees was born via an emergency c-section with a very serious CHD (Hypo Plastic Left Heart Syndrome). My wife was incredibly brave and strong throughout. She didn’t complain once.

Although Idrees was doing well at birth, he was quickly taken away to be stabilised. As much as I wanted to follow my son, I knew it was important to not get in the doctors way. Idrees was transferred to Alder Hey Children’s Hospital within 10 hours of being born.

One of the first overriding thoughts when you walk in to a Children’s Hospital is on how amazing these children are. The children there are battling serious conditions, from cancer, brain conditions, heart issues and spinal defects. All of these children seem to just get on with their lives as best as they can.

It was on Idrees’s third day of life we had the conversation with the surgical team. My wife and I completely respected the surgical team’s decision of not recommending surgery. I could see in our cardiologist’s and surgeon’s eyes that it was with much regret, experience and consideration that they had come to this conclusion. They gave us our own room so that we could privately have one last night with our son still alive. We finally got to hold Idrees. We got to kiss him, cuddle him which will stay with us for a lifetime.

Idrees’s fifth and final day with us quickly arrived. Our boy was surrounded by his parents. There were no tears. He was reminded how much of an inspiration he is and will be for us.

Around 15:30 on that Saturday 8 November, Idrees left us, for what we hope is a far better world. That night I bathed him and dressed him for the first and last time. I didn’t want to let go of him.

The next day I carried him and stepped in to his grave and I laid him down in his resting place. I didn’t want to leave him but I knew it was the best for him to be at peace. I held him for the last time and told him I love him.

For us, Idrees wasn’t taken too early or too late. He lived for exactly how long he was supposed to. Saying anything otherwise, would imply that he wasn’t enough. The truth is he was more than enough. He taught us not to take life for granted, and we should make the most of every opportunity.

The whole process has taught me that life is not about how long you live, but it is more about what your impact has been.

As a father, I would consider my life a failure if I do not learn from my son and if I don’t keep his memory alive.”