Thursday, April 28, 2011


A couple of weeks before Sam was born I measured big enough to be carrying twins at full term. And I was only 32 weeks! Not long after that appointment the doctor was concerned for both me and the baby and asked what I'd had for breakfast. Oatmeal. He said we'd have to wait a few hours, so call Daniel and get registered. When they felt my belly was empty of breakfast, they hooked an IV up and got me to the operating room. I was 35 1/2 weeks and both Sam and I were in mortal danger. He was born big. 9 1/2 pounds big. His lungs quickly distressed and they took him to the NICU and hooked him to oxygen and an IV. I was rolled away to recover. Over the next couple of days we learned that Sam would need to be there longer than I did. It was devastating to me. How could I leave my baby in the hospital and just go home?
I did go home and left my baby in good hands. I wondered why things went the way they just did. Why so early? Why didn't the doctor give me stuff for his lung development? But I was so grateful for the relief of knowing he was mine eternally. If anything should happen, he would always be mine. My mom and dad and brother Aaron came to visit him in the hospital. Because they only allow a couple of people into the NICU at a time, my parents came in first and Aaron stood at the window. My dad took a picture of him there, waving to us. He then got to come in and see his newest nephew.
A week after Sam was born, he was released. We brought him home and got a delivery of oxygen tanks. We would need to have oxygen going into his nose for at least another couple of weeks. And again I wondered why.
Early Sunday morning, 16 days after Sam was born, April 28 to be exact, I got a phone call from my dad. He said he had distressing news. Aaron was missing. He didn't come home that night. the police wouldn't help because he was a 17 year old teenage boy. I guess it's normal for them to disappear. They didn't know Aaron. My dad said he knew we had a new baby and I was recovering from surgery, but he was hoping the men could come help look. I got off the phone, showered, got my boys dressed and we all got in the car and drove down. That was a very long and painful drive. Where was he? What could have happened? So many questions.
We got off the freeway and drove up the road that led to my parents house. As we drove up to the gully, getting closer to my parents' house, we saw all the emergency vehicles. A car had gone off. I told Daniel to stop. He didn't. We told my dad as he was leaving the driveway again. My brother and brother in law got there when my dad did. They wouldn't give any information to them about who. They did say what kind of car. It was Aaron's.
He was killed on impact. While my parents waited for him to come home, he had gone home. Home to his Heavenly Father. The following days were excruciating. How could He take him from us? I held my baby and my toddler so close. There were so many questions. But at the same time there were answers right in front of us. Aaron was done. He'd done all he was required to do. He passed. He was now working hard on the other side. I looked at all I had believed and felt was true. Eternal families. A Savior. The Atonement. Heavenly Father's plan. Celestial Glory. Was it all really true? This was the moment that each of us needed to decide.
It would be easy to walk away at that point. To choose to believe that Heavenly Father didn't care about us. That He had no mercy or love for us. That Aaron was taken selfishly and cruelly. That would be easy.
It would be more "work" to trust in God. To choose to believe that Heavenly Father's plan was real and that now was the moment of putting our trust in Him more fully. A time to choose to believe that our family was eternally bound together. That Aaron's work here on earth was done and that he is now free.
I chose the latter. In fact, we all chose the latter. But instead of believing, we knew. I know. Aaron and I are eternally bound as brother and sister. Isaac and Sam (and eventually Ruthie) were bound to me eternally as my children. Daniel and I had the greatest blessing of an eternal marriage. Heavenly Father knew Aaron and now has a special work for him to do on the other side of the veil. I am beyond belief. I know.I also understood better why Sam came so early. I needed to be physically able to bear the burden of loss. And Aaron needed to be able to see Sam. Sammy loves to hear about when uncle Aaron came and waved through the window while he was in the hospital. Heavenly Father knew he would.
I still miss Aaron. He was my baby brother. He made a shrine for me when I moved away from home when he was just 3. I cracked his head in the windshield when I slammed on the brakes in our little car because everyone was bugging me. He sucked his middle and ring finger for years and always had blisters on his knuckles. He would sit on my bed waiting for me when I'd come home from work so he could just hang with me. He helped me wash my car every Saturday and always got a treat from 7-11 after. The nachos were good! He was an artist with a pencil and paper. He loved to build with K'Nex. My Isaac loves to build with them now.
This is one of his drawings. Beauty Amidst Bleakness.
Every time we pass the cemetery we wave and say "Hi uncle Aaron. We love you. We miss you. Come back soon!" That last part refers to the day he will rise with the just on the morning of the first resurrection. And we can't wait!


Kristi said...

I chose to read just one post before going to the store, now I'll be going with red eyes. Thank you for sharing. When the twins were born I think some people thought we were a little crazy for taking them to visit Grandpa in the ICU. He came home a few days later and was even up to the drive to our house to bless them but I'll always be glad he got to meet them right after they were born. I wonder if he didn't chose there in the hospital to stick around to be part of their blessing. I'm so grateful he was.

Kim said...

Oh Jennie. Thank goodness for the knowledge that our families are eternal, that they'll go on and on. I can't imagine going through what you have without that knowledge. His art is amazing! What a gift he has.