Counselor's Corner: A celebration of a brief life

Last Saturday I experienced something very emotionally and spiritually powerful. My wife and I were invited to a party to celebrate an approaching birth of a little boy named Andrew Mateo. Andrew will be born tomorrow morning, Wednesday. However he is expected to live only a few hours to a few days at the most. His very loving and caring parents have known this truth for many months now. They chose to carry Andrew to his birth and short lived life. The party was given for the many friends who have supported them on their journey throughout this pregnancy. My wife and I were invited along with our daughter and her husband and their two little girls. It was an evening of tears and laughter, sorrow and joy and above all an evening of being so positively influenced by the brief life of a little boy who has been so deeply loved by his parents throughout this whole courageous journey. In one evening this little boy about to be born was surrounded by so much love and kindness that everyone in the room, about forty people, felt a Divine Presence emanating from this short lived life that brought all of us closer together and appreciating the power of love in this world.

We entered this love-filled home being warmly greeted by Andrew's paternal grandparents. We were then embraced by his maternal grandparents. After we exchanged warm hugs with Andrew's mother and father who have been a source of quiet and loving inspiration to so many people, we gathered with the group for prayer, food, drinks and conversation. We already knew most of the people and by the end of the evening all of us felt quite close to one another and realized that we just had experienced something that may happen once in a life time.

In the middle of the evening, Andrew's mother and father spoke to all of us thanking us for being such a support during this pregnancy. They spoke with such warmth, love and faith that tears flowed freely in the loving group gathered around them. Yet the tears were not tears of melancholy or despair but tears of honest and loving acceptance of embracing struggle and embracing joy. We all gathered around this special couple and the women put their hands on Andrew's mother's tummy. The men put their hands on Andrew's father, and we joined in prayer. Andrew's grandfather led us through his tears in a prayer that brought courage, strength and love to all of us. All of us prayed each in our own way, both silently and at times verbally. It was like the presence of God had entered the room. We were not praying for miracles. We were praying for courage and strength and an appreciation of life and love. And each of us felt courage, strength, love and a better appreciation of life. There were no dry eyes in the room. There was simply a powerful experience of a loving connection with this beautiful couple and their wonderful family. This powerful experience brought a purpose to a little boy that has been so deeply loved during these past months while his mother has been pregnant with him. His mother, father and little sister love him deeply. In his short life he will have affected more people in a powerfully positive way anyone could have ever had imagined. Everyone at this gathering will be telling others about this powerfully, profound evening.

This evening was a strong lesson that embracing pain and sorrow can lead to embracing joy and strength.

The gift of the evening was to be invited to come and bring our love to this couple and to each other. Little Andrew was the stimulus to teach all of us what life is all about: to love and support one another. His parents had the courage to celebrate his life, however short it will be, and to invite us to join them.

Never have I attended a party like this and it was a joyful party even in the midst of our tears. None of us will ever forget Andrew Mateo because he positively affected all of us.

I know for myself, my wife, our daughter and her husband that whenever we think of Andrew Mateo, we will know that we have experienced the profound meaning of life and love. Every moment of life is death and resurrection and when we embrace what is before us something powerfully Loving and Profound happens. I will never forget this night as long as I live. Andrew's parents have guaranteed that their son has brought more light and love into the world and he will never be forgotten.

Life is precious. Love is precious. All of us need to come together in life to love and support one another. When we do this powerfully, profound and amazingly wonderful things happen. This little boy, not yet born, has become a wonder-counselor and prince of peace for all of us that glorious evening. And it will affect all of us for the rest of our lives.

Fred Cavaiani is a Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist and Psychologist with a private practice in Troy. He is the founder of Marriage Growth Center, a consultant for the Detroit Medical Center, and Henry Ford Medical Center. He conducts numerous programs for groups throughout Southeastern Michigan. His column in the Legal News runs every other Tuesday. He can be reached at (248)362-3340. His e-mail address is: Fredcavi@yahoo.com and his website is fredthecounselor.com.

Published: Tue, Feb 22, 2011