I'm back. For the ten or twelve of you who follow my blog, I'm sorry I've been so quiet during May, but it was a ridiculously busy month. Christina and I celebrated our 16th wedding anniversary, we had a birthday party to throw for Cameron, I had to drive to the old hometown to stand in my brother's wedding, and my work schedule changed yet again. The month of May just don't play around.
Today, I wanted to take a moment to talk about someone very important to me, someone I don't speak about often but remains one of the defining persons of my life.
Micayla Amber Yeo.
My oldest daughter (by two minutes), twin sister to Cameron, the little angel I'll never forget about. Born May 26, 2010. The Mighty Micayla fought along her sister, Kick-Ass Cammy, for two weeks. Today will always be a day of melancholy around my house, but it also reminds me of a great memory with Cameron. As a matter of fact, it's my first great memory with Cameron.
The kid makes me laugh a lot. She’s a funny little person with a sneaky sense of humor and the heart of a prankster. She gets it from her mother, who also has a knack for mischief and playfulness.
But I’ll never forget the very first time she made me laugh. And I’m gonna try to keep this short, because it was at a sad time, and I don’t want to bum you out. But it’s a memory that I love.
When the girls were developing, Cameron and Micayla had both developed heart defects, and an entire team was on the scene to take emergency steps if necessary when they were born. Cameron was the lucky one, but Micayla had an extremely debilitating seizure as soon as she took her first breath. She lingered for two weeks before it was determined that while her heart fighting hard, everything else was shutting down and she would probably remain in a vegetative state indefinitely. It’s no way for a human being to live, and Christina and I both tearfully made the decision to let her go.
(By the way, while I'm thinking about it, please donate to the Ronald McDonald House when you have a chance. They gave us a comfortable room close to the hospital for two weeks as we waited, and they were so kind to us. I can’t thank them enough.)
At no time since then have we really regretted our decision, although not a day goes by that we don’t wonder what the two of them would have been like playing together. Anyway, when we made the decision to say good-bye to Micayla, we spent an entire day together as a family in the NICU. We made little footprints and handprint cards for both of them, took a bunch of photos, read and sang to them, and just enjoyed the one and only day that the four of us would all be together in the same room.
Afterwards, Christina, Cameron and I retired to a private family room as the doctors took Micayla off the machines. She was gone in just a few moments, and we were assured that it was peaceful and gentle. And then, just like that, it was just the three of us. A mourning mother, an emotionally broken father, and a confused little infant daughter looking at both of us with wondering eyes. I tried to be strong, but it was the most crying I had done in my life.
After twenty minutes of emotional upheaval and miserable tears, I started experiencing a mixture of regret and anger. I was going to be heartbroken for the rest of my life, I feared, and it just wasn’t fair to our other daughter. She didn’t deserve to have such broken parents, it wasn’t her fault. But me, the man who laughs too much, was never going to laugh again. I was sure of it.
“I’m never going to laugh again,” I cried out to my wife and daughter.
And Cameron looked me in the eyes, make a little sad face, reached up with both hands, and pulled her stocking cap down over her eyes in response. And no more than two seconds after I had said what I had said, I exploded into a round of tearful laughs. And I picked my baby girl up, and kissed her cheeks, and I knew that our family would go on. And it did.
What a good little girl.
What a good little girl.
That's the moment I really fell in love with Cameron, and it's just been an adventure ever since. So I suppose the point is that you should never forget the people you’ve lost, but don’t forget the people who are still with you. And I will never forget our Micayla. To this day, I'm comforted to imagine that she remains Cammy's guardian angel, forever trying to keep her safe. Or encouraging her to perform mischief on behalf of both of them, I haven't decided yet. Could be both.
Have a great weekend. I'll try to have to something more upbeat next time we chat. Now, go hug someone you love!
John Yeo Jr. is the author of THE KING'S TOURNAMENT and MAMA SAUVETERRE'S CURIOSITY SHOPPE. Both books are currently available on AMAZON. His next novel, THE INFINITE LEAGUE, is coming out in September! You can find out more by visiting his website at www.yeoniverse.com.