Christi and I moved slowly past the nurses station towards room 7 in the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit. We were going to see Judah one more time and to talk with the Life Gift Doctor about organ donation. As we approached, we heard a female Doctor exclaim loudly, ‘I am calling it.’ A chill sliced through me as I realized that our precious 3 year old boy was dead. First he was assessed brain dead, then his tiny heart gave up.
His room was full of medical staff who respectfully left once we entered the room. Christi and I broke down, deep uncontrollable sobs, guttural groans for the years lost, the closeness to our baby forever gone.
We approached the bed to see our Juju, swollen from a cocktail of medication, laying inert – vacant. In that moment, as a Christian I believed he was with God in heaven, but as a father, one who was committed to protecting my boy, his lifeless, cold body, covered in tubes, assaulted every part of me.
I gently straightened his hair, I kissed him, I wept, heavily, painfully. Christi and I stood with him, telling him we loved him, and as the shock clutched our throats, we sobbed.
We were offered to hold him one last time, which we accepted. They disconnected him from the various tubes and lines, and he was carefully lifted into our aching arms.
As I held him, I could not believe my lively, intelligent, vivacious son was dead. No more would he run to me and insist I build him a lego house. No more would he snuggle into me when he was scared.
It was finished.
He died 3 weeks ago today at 9:51pm in Houston, Texas. And I can tell you this with certainty, never will my life be the same, never will I fully recover.
These past three weeks have been wave after wave of brutal grief and trauma, the reality coupled with my memories constantly assailing me.
But amidst the pain, I am witnessing a glorious example of how God loves his people, and how powerful the church can be.
We are experiencing 1 John 4:7: ‘Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God.’ Love offered through prayers, through meals provided, through funds donated, through gifts, by our friends, family and our church clergy being present with us, listening, sharing resources and ideas.. and so much more.
And God’s love through his people is truly beautiful, holding us in our darkest time.