“Owen Thomas Parker went to be with Jesus on April 7, 2014. Born to Brian and Allison Parker of Lawrenceville, GA on February 23, 2014, Owen lived his short life in Egleston Children’s Hospital, Atlanta where he was being treated for a congenital heart defect known as Shone’s Complex.
While on this earth just a few short weeks, Owen’s life has impacted many. The faith of his parents as they shared Owen’s struggle has been a source of reflection, encouragement and spiritual renewal to family and friends who have shared Owen’s journey though hospital visits, Caring Bridge and Facebook. How a life is lived, not its length, is the true measure of a person.”
It has been almost three weeks since I wrote the above two paragraphs that formed the heart of our grandson Owen’s obituary. It is time to start blogging again, but if you will indulge me a bit I want to reflect a little further on Owen’s life and his impact on me.
Susan and I experienced childbirth three times with our own children followed by three healthy grandchildren born to our daughter and son in law. I don’t think I ever appreciated the miracle of childbirth like I do now after sharing Owen’s life. Each breath is precious and should never be taken for granted.
There were over twenty children sharing the cardiac intensive care unit of Egleston Children’s Hospital at any given time during Owen’s stay. Walks down hallways and visits to the cafeteria put us in contact with cancer patients, burn victims and many other infirmities young children were gracefully bearing. Over the weeks we got to know some of the parents and grandparents as well as learn about the heartaches that caused their kids to need Egleston’s care. I think my good health had caused me to be callous to the suffering around me.
Eyes can say everything. Owen’s treatment required him to be on a ventilator almost the whole time he
was at Egleston’s, resulting in him not being able to make audible sounds. But Owen’s eyes would follow you when you talked or read to him. His eyes would express satisfaction when his forehead was stroked and disapproval when his diaper needed changing. When I think about Owen now, it is his intelligent eyes I see.
Our son became the teacher and we the students. Because we have never experienced anything like Brian and Allison were going through with Owen’s illness, our rolls are to keep our mouths shut, watch, be patient and learn. If you know me at all, you are probably chuckling right now because these are not natural roles for me.
Life is short. My almost sixty years on this earth have flown by faster than the six weeks we spent with Owen at the hospital. While I am looking forward to seeing Owen again in Heaven, I need to make better use of my time with the few days I have left on this earth.
We want to thank everyone who have been praying for Owen and our family during these difficult days.
More stories from the Cabin Woodworker are coming soon.