By Tom Riles
Editor’s note. This was originally posted on LifeofDad.com
I held you on Friday night for the first and last time ever. It was one of the saddest, proudest, most heartbreaking, and beautiful moments of my life. It was an honor to hold you.
I’m proud of you, son. Even though you only made it halfway through the pregnancy, you have left a mark on our family that will last forever. Because of you, I love my wife more than ever. Because of you, I feel a stronger connection with my kids than ever. When I hug them, I feel your presence.
Sadly, I’ll always remember the phone call last week from your mom when she told me that we lost you. I was home with your brother and sister, and I was in shock. Your pregnancy seemed to be the smoothest and most healthy one that your mom had ever had. I did my best to comfort her on the phone, and then we grieved together when you both got home. Our kids didn’t let us cry too much, though, because they kept requesting snacks, more snacks, and more snacks after that.
Usually Friday is a day that I look forward to, but not last Friday. I never shave on Fridays, but this time I did. This was the only day that I would ever hold you… I had to look my best. When we checked into the hospital at 8 a.m., it was a dark, dreary, and rainy day, just like the feeling in our hearts.
Your mom took medication to start the labor process, and over the next 10 hours, she showed her love and devotion to you as we neared your birth. By the way, your mom is the most incredible and beautiful person I have ever met. I’m so lucky to be with her and call her my wife.
At 8:35 p.m. on Friday, February 28th, you were born. Even though there was no life in your beautiful body, you were full of love, heart, and courage.
Your mom held you, and then it was my turn. I felt both happy and devastated to be holding my second son in the palm of my hands. We cried. We told you about your brother and sister. We visualized you running through open fields somewhere, free, happy, and full of life. We sang to you. After singing the final line of “Silent Night” to you… “Sleep in heavenly peace…” we knew that it was time to say goodbye.
You were with us for way too short of a time, but you will be remembered forever. We named you Scotland Bansley Riles, and your mom and I will bring your ashes with us someday when we travel to Scotland. Usually we don’t travel with our kids (they’re a little too crazy), but we want to show you the world.
Our precious Scotty… I miss you more than I’ve ever missed anything. We love you. We will honor you. We will be better parents and people because of you. Thank you.