Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Wednesday's Child: Michael Edward Tapley

This is my big brother's tombstone.  He was born two months early in Jacksonville, Florida and is buried at Restlawn Memorial Park there.

In the early 1960's, the medical field wasn't as advanced in saving premature babies as they are now.  For example, Michael weighed 1 pound, 8 ounces at birth, while a family friend's granddaughter, who weighted only 1 pound, 7 ounces at birth is now four years old and thriving. 

It was a horrible experience for my Mom.  Her doctor made the statement that she may not carry the baby full term, but didn't offer any suggestions for her to follow.  This was her first baby; she didn't know, and back at that time, you didn't question medical personnel.   Either that very night or the next night, her water broke and she was bleeding so my father had to call an ambulance.  Mom gave birth very quickly, and Michael only lived for eight hours.  The hospital was not a hospitable place, and they did not even allow my parents to see the baby.  Daddy had to make all the arrangements to bury him, and they could not afford a headstone at the time.  I spearheaded an effort in 2008 and got Michael a grave stone, and Daddy was able to see pictures of it before he passed away.

In 2009, I went to the Vital Statistics office in Jacksonville and obtained a copy of Michael's birth certificate.  While my entire life, my mother said he was born on November 8, the date of birth is listed as the 9th on the birth certificate.  It could have been because he was born in the middle of the night and the date was confused in Mom's mind.  Either way, the headstone says the 8th, and we'll just keep thinking of it as that day.

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