A few weeks ago I shared photos from Tristan’s end of life celebration and talked about the process of planning and feelings. As promised, I want to share Tristan’s eulogy. I started writing this the night after Tristan passed but could only get a few words out. Most of it was written the night before the celebration and the final touches were written the morning of.
I don’t know if many of you know the story of how Tristan came about but I’m going to share it today. For almost 3 years, Ja’Corey and I went back and forth about having a second child. We never wanted Tatiana to be alone in case anything were to ever happen to us. Then, we finally made the decision to try and last year on April Fools Day, after almost 12 months of praying and trying we found out that we were having baby #2. After that, I prayed that God would bless us with the baby boy that I had always dreamed of.
Tristan Josiah Ferrell blessed us with his presence on Saturday, October 15, 2016 at 6:07pm in the emergency department. I remember it like it was yesterday. That was what I thought at the time to be the most painful day of my life. With no warning and no epidural Tristan made an entrance into this world that I will never forget. I’ll never forget the first and only time that I heard him cry.
Although Tristan was born with many congenital anomalies, he was a fighter. He was the strongest, most resilient baby that possessed strength, perseverance, and an ability to overcome incredible odds and physical challenges.
I’ll never forget our second day in the NICU. That was the day we met you, P. You made the shock of becoming NICU parents a little easier. You treated our baby boy with such love and care as if he was your own. You answered every question that we had no matter how many there were. You held him, you blew him kisses, and even taught him a little Spanish. You knew what his likes and dislikes were. You were always able to position him perfectly on his tummy so that he would sleep peacefully for hours. You always made sure that I took the time to take care of myself so that I could be there for my kids. You gave me the power and the knowledge that I needed to take care of my son when I was thrown into this world that I knew nothing about. You encouraged me to hold Tristan in those first few days because you knew how important it was. You were Tristan’s favorite day nurse, our biggest blessing, and the first person to get him to crack a smile.
Christine, words can’t even begin to describe how grateful we all are for you. You were Tristan’s favorite night nurse. Every weekend for the last 6 months my family and I looked forward to seeing you with Tristan. Those nights we were able to sleep peacefully because we knew Tristan was in THE BEST care. I know that Tristan held a special place for you in his heart because he never fought you when you gave him a bath and that was one of the things he hated the most but with you bath time was a piece of cake. He never fought you at bath time. He just let you clean him up and when it came to washing his hair you were the MVP. You always made sure his hair was parted perfectly and combed just right. Then once bath time was over you would park your computer right next to his bed and you would sit there. You would sit there while he slept and made sure that he was okay. If he woke, you would read and talk to him. When Tristan was with you, I never had to worry about him being lonely because I knew that you were always there. Without you Christine, we would’ve never learned so much about Tristan’s involuntary breath holding spells. Thank you for the nights of endless research that you did to help us advocate for Tristan and most importantly thank you for taking care of Tristan for the last 6 months.
Before Tristan was born, we had no idea what a tracheostomy was. With the help of google, the NICU staff, and my ever so loved Moms of Trach Babies group we learned a lot. And then G came into our lives when Tristan was about 2 months old. Second to Dad and I, Tristan’s bond with G was unforgettable and sometimes even dangerous. And when all 3 of them were in the room, forget it. I was no match for them. G knew Tristan like the back of his hand. He knew how cranky Tristan was in the mornings and how much his poop set him off. I’ll always remember how every time G walked into the room Tristan would try so hard not to look his way because he didn’t know what G was up to but in the end he always ended up turning his head to catch G’s eye. G helped me to be the best trach mom that I could be. He pushed me every single day to do what was best for Tristan. He taught dad and I how to change a trach for the first time. Whenever Tristan was having a funky day, G was always there to make suggestions about what would make Tristan more comfortable. He fought tooth and nail alongside Tristan every day and never gave up on our baby boy.
This person is probably going to be the hardest to talk about. Without this man, I would’ve never gotten to take my sweet Tristan home for 13 days. Throughout our struggles in the NICU, this man never took away my right to do what I believed what was best for Tristan. I’ll always remember the day you came into Tristan’s life and became his primary doctor. It was around thanksgiving time and you were rounding with the residents. Tristan had been having bloody stools a few days before and you said to me “mommy do you drink milk or eat dairy?” I answered yes and then you said in the most gentle voice that I should consider cutting dairy out of my diet because Tristan may have a milk protein intolerance. On that day I didn’t know how much of a significant role you would become in our lives but you became one of the strongest pillars in Tristan’s support system. There was never a day where you ignored one of my concerns. You never questioned my mommy instinct, instead you answered every question I had and hunted down every doctor that I wanted to speak with. You, Dr. P were one of the best things that could have ever happened to Tristan. Without you, we wouldn’t have been able to make those precious memories at home. And during the 13 days that we were home you never abandoned Tristan and most importantly you never abandoned me. You took us back into our second home when Tristan began to really struggle. Because of you, Tristan was able to spend his final days with the people who loved and knew him the best. Tristan is forever grateful to you and we as his parents hold the utmost respect for you.
Wendy and Ann, thank you for always being there for us and for getting things done quickly when it was in Tristan’s best interest.
Today we are putting Tristan to rest but I would like for everyone to remember Tristan for the amazing sweet loving boy that he was. We will never forget those perfect fingers and toes, his breathtaking eyes, and his heartwarming smile. In his short time on the earth, he touched more people than anyone could ever imagine. I’m not sure what God’s plan is for my family but I know that he had a purpose for making Tristan an angel that day. Although every day for the rest of my life will be a struggle, I am with peace knowing that my baby boy no longer has to fight for his life. He is in a better place and that is all that matters. Tristan would not want us to be sad. He would want us to smile and be happy, and to continue to live the best lives that we can. We must be strong and hold our heads high because although Tristan is no longer with us he will forever be in our hearts.