Monday, September 8, 2008

For A Short Time

One week after our marriage and return to town, we were made grandparents. Daddy BB's oldest son and his young wife had a beautiful baby boy. She gave birth to him in our home with a midwife, her MIL, and me. I was 32 years old when this happened. More than anything I wanted a baby of my own, and I knew that would not happen. His young Mommy shared her son with me, I saw him every day. Held him loved him, cooed to him, he was precious.
She had a job at a pizza place in the evening and we babysat. One night his Daddy called and said he was taking baby Joshua home and would try and take care of him himself. He had never done that before. We were a bit amazed and said to call if he needed help. I was aching to see him and so sorry to miss my daily dose of baby sugar.

About 10 that evening the phone rang, I said hello and there was no answer just a weird noise, so I hung up. Again the phone rang, nothing. The third time I picked up and Jamie screamed into the phone, "DON'T HANG UP LET ME TALK TO MY DAD!" He was hysterical.

What unfolded next was the beginning of one of the hardest trials I ever experienced. Joshua was not breathing. Jamie did not know how to do CPR. The paramedics were coming but they lived on top of a mountain a 20 minute trip from the beginning of their road; there was no way for a speedy rescue. My husband had the presence of mind to tell Jamie not to call his mother at work, but he already had. She had just left hysterical. We would have picked her up.

As we dressed I looked at my new husband and said, "It sounds like Joshua is dead."
We were about half way up their hill when a woman jumped in front of our car waving her arms. We stopped and she jumped into the back of the car screaming and crying. It was our babies momma. I do not know how, but I catapulted myself over the front seat and into the back to hold her. She didn't even know that it was us who picked her up. She had driven the car over a cliff and climbed up the muddy hillside, in complete darkness, to the road just as we were coming by. We would see the following day where a fallen tree had somehow wedged (angels?) under her wheels and stopped her from certain death. It was a steep cliff. The car would never be salvaged it was impossible to retrieve it.

We arrived at their house just after the ambulance had left. We took the sobbing parents and began our drive to the hospital. My heart could not be more broken. I understood words like anguish, remorse, shock, denial, despair, unbelief, in a new way. My guts were in a shredder. It was a nightmare to wake up from, this could not be happening.

At the hospital we went by an area where they were coding our baby. We went to a waiting room and sat there. I could not believe that this was happening to us and in this manner, it was the only time his father tried to take care of him. When the doctor came in he didn't have to speak. We knew by his face that our baby was dead. SIDS. A perfectly healthy, fat baby boy at 4 months of age gone, for no reason.

I had not been a Christian for very long, about two years. I had been cradled by the Lord and cared for. This event stunned me. I was angry. I screamed at God. I called him a liar. No lightening came to strike me dead. I wanted to be dead. The grief I felt for the baby was more intense than anything that had ever come before; including losing my mother and dear dear brother. My arms hurt, my chest hurt, I hurt for his parents and I hurt for us. I also did not have any sense of prayers. People were praying for the parents, they were being carried in peace. I wanted to scream, pray for me too!

I picked up that little lifeless body. It was heavy and strange. He still looked like our sweet boy, but he was not there. A sweet old Catholic priest had come to stand by us and he was weeping too.

Baby coffins are small, I could not breathe at this funeral, I had a shower of slinging snot flying from my nose and guttural sobs that I couldn't contain. I felt like I was losing my mind. Still I was angry with God. How could he do this? How could he take this baby away? No one else in this world would share a baby like she had. I loved him as if we were my own son. He was being buried in the cold earth, in January when it's freezing and wet. It was raining. It seemed so wrong to leave him there in the rain and the cold, deep in the ground. I wondered how would we live? Would my heart quit beating because it was broken?

Joshua would be 21 years old this month. My heart did beat. Our lives went on. The marriage did not survive. His daddy had the worst scenario possible for "what if's". It took years for him to be able to talk about it. It took years for him to hear that it was not his fault. We studied everything we could lay our hands on about SIDS. Babies have died in their mothers arms. They just die.

God began to show me how great his love for me was. God began to speak ever so softly into my heart of his love for his own son, the one that he gave for me. The death that he died, the violence of it, the brutality, and the reason. To redeem us. I would see the baby again. He spoke to me about the miraculous way in which he had spared his mother. My anger subsided. God was very gentle with me then. I prayerfully asked the Lord to appoint my own mother as his caregiver. I believe when I die she will be one of the first to welcome me, with my sweet boy in her arms.

Last night I read a blog

It is a sweet sad incredible journey of two people who gave life to a baby they knew would not live. My heart wrenched in understanding for them. Toby and Angie Smith of the group. Selah
As I read their story for over two hours, it took another painful turn. 7 weeks after her babies birth, 2 and 1/2 hour life, and death; Nicole Sponberg, Toby's sister and singer lost her baby son to SIDS.

These women will change your heart forever.


Flea said...

Karen Deborah -

I don't know how to respond. I've been at the site, reading and crying. Thank you for posting the link. Thank you for sharing your story.

Debbie in CA : ) said...

*sniff* ... *sob* ... (running for tissues) ...

There are no words ...

Anonymous said...

OMG what a heart wrenching story, I cannot even know what families go through with SIDS.

My husband had a patient where the grandparents were watching the baby and the baby died of SIDS. The whole family broke apart with blame and anger, just horrible.

I'm sorry for this.

MaBunny said...

Oh how sad... Where we used to live in this tiny neighborhood there was a baby about 7 mos old that died of SIDS. No one wanted to go by and talk to this family, I guess they just didn't know what to say. I was taught you take food - grieving people don't think about cooking, or eating. I made a humongous tuna casserole the night before the funeral and took it myself to the door of that family. The father answered the door, and I realized I didnt know what to say either. I just told him I was so sorry, and here was some food to help the family after the funeral. He just smiled at me.
I later found out, other than their church I was the only one in the neighborhood that had taken anything to them.
I can't imagine going thru anything like that. My Nicole was about 3 yrs old at the time. I thank God every day for her.

Grandma Tillie's Bakery said...

I can't imagine the grief--just can't imagine. We had friends at church lose their only child at 4 and watching them go through that was heart breaking--it just about killed them. It was amazing to watch what happened after though; they came to a knowledge of Jesus through her death that wasn't in place while she was alive. The mother is now an advocate for families that lose children and it has changed her life in a positive way forever.

Elysa said...


Karen Deborah said...

I didn't intend to upset everyone. I just thought about those women who have lost children. It's hard at any age or time. I haven't ever written Joshua story before and thought that since he would be 21 years old this month that I would pay a tribute to him. I don't cry anymore. This experience gave me a lot of mercy and empathy for others who suffer loss. It really is ok.

Kathy said...

I think most Mom's will cry and do cry at the loss of a child. I cried reading about your Joshua too.
I have been reading Bring the Rain since she started writing, that family is a true inspiration.
You too, are an inspiration.
It is a pleasure to 'know' you.

debi said...

It was in April of 1971 that my baby boy left us so suddenly. Not SIDS but an unknown heart defect. I don't cry anymore but I think of him often. It's so hard when you have felt this pain to see others go through it. God is good. I have 5 kids and 8 grandchildren.

imbeingheldhostage said...

I do things backwards. I read backwards-- everything from magazines to posts. I don't know why. So I went to the site first and then came back to read the post and tell you thank you for telling me about that site. Then I read your post. and my heart broke. The tears I managed to stop before coming back to comment flowed more vigorously. I am sorry for your loss, and grateful that you shared this part of yourself. Thank you.

Angela said...

your story touched my heart. I found Angie's blog last Saturday and just SOBBED...