For those of you that do not know my wife's and my story I'll lay it out for you. My wife and I have been married for 11 years this upcoming Sept 16th. We have had 4 beautiful boys that all look alike. :) My wife and I have both said we only have one make and model of child. They are all blondies, with what start out as blue eyes, but eventually end up green. Our oldest son, Noah, is 7 and he joined us in Dec 2004. Next come our twins Drew and Jack, who are 4 and made their grand appearance in May 2008. Followed by Hayes who was born in Nov 2011. I am so proud to call myself the daddy of these four amazing boys!!
On Palm Sunday, April 17th, 2011, our son Jack went to be with Jesus after being sick for only two days. He did not die from anything weird and out of the ordinary. He actually died from what started out as a regular old strep infection. He never presented any symptoms of being sick until it was too late and he had gone into sepsis. It was the most unbelievably hard time in our lives. When you lose a child it is the hardest thing that a parent will ever walk through. As so many say, you are not supposed to outlive your children.
The doctors said that Jack's body was just to good at masking the symptoms of how sick he truly was, and that there was nothing we could have done. We had seen our boys seemingly far sicker than what Jack was. My wife even called the doctor twice the Friday he first woke up sick, but there was no fever or anything indicating he was that sick other than being lethargic. When we realized that there was something truly wrong on that Sunday morning my wife rushed with Jack to the hospital, while I took our other two boys to my in-laws. Jack was awake all the way to the hospital that day, just looking out the window while my wife drove. It was when my wife got through the doors of the hospital that Jack's eyes rolled back in his head, and I believe at that point went straight into the arms of Jesus. The first sign that the hand of God was in this was the fact that Jack did not die in our home, sparing our other boys from having to see the chaos that would have an ensued and would have also made it next to impossible to stay in our home.
Jack saw Jesus about two weeks before he died. We do not have pictures of Jesus hanging around our home and I know he had never seen one. It was out of the blue that Jack pointed at an empty wall and insistently pointed and said, "There's Jesus!!". My wife and mother-in-law were there to see and hear Jack when this happened. He did not just say it once, but insisted multiple times that Jesus was in that room on that day. After Jack died we realized that Christ was there for, I believe, two purposes. One, He was revealing Himself to Jack for that day when He would go into His arms, and two, to let Jess and I know that it was Jack's time to go.
It was also about two weeks before Jack died that we found out we were pregnant with our fourth and probably last child. We decided that we would not find out what the sex was of this baby since it was probably our last. After Jack died we definitely decided to wait. It was truly a miracle that my wife actually made it through without losing the pregnancy, due to all the stress she was obviously under. While I think most people thought we were having a girl, we went to the hospital 7 months and two days after Jack died to welcome our newest addition. We never even had a girls name picked out in the event it was a girl, but that evening we welcomed our 9lb, 21" long baby boy, Hayes Jackson Kelly into this world!!
Hayes did not in any way replace Jackson, but he was a blessing to our family in a way that only God could offer. It was always a source of irritation to me when people would say you have your three boys again as if Hayes had replaced Jack. Hayes was and will always be our fourth child. He did not replace Jack in any way. Hayes was not going to be a baby long. He was just about ready to walk within the next month. He so wanted to catch up with his two big brothers! He was an incredibly happy baby, with the biggest smile at the ready whenever I came home. He loved his mommy, daddy, and brothers! He was not a momma's boy or a daddy's boy. He was genuinely happy to see either one of us at all times.
Last Tuesday, August 21st, 2012, Hayes did not wake up from his nap. At this point it appears to be a case of Sudden Unexplained Infant Death, or SIDS in other words. There is no explanation for what happened, and the medical examiner says there very well may never be one.
The loss of our second child in less than a year and a half has rocked our family. It is unbelievable the fact that we are in the same place we were when Jack died. It is unbelievable that our two youngest are in Heaven and not with us. It is unbelievable that we have have lost two children from a sickness we all have at one point or another in our life, and the other from something completely unexplained. It is like lightning striking the same person twice. How do you deal with this? How do you get through something like this? There is only one way, and that is with a "peace that passes all understanding".
There are two scriptures I want to give you and they are John 14:27, which is
27 Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.
and Philippians 4:6-7,
6 Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; 7 and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.
These two scriptures are the quintessential explanations of how we are getting through this. It is only through Christ and the peace that comes from Him that we could even hope to get up and function everyday. I have heard it expressed from quite a few different people wondering how it is that we are able to still have faith in God through this. What I can tell you categorically is that it is not anything special in Jess and I! The loss, pain, and gaping holes we feel in the very core of us is indescribable. Unless you have lost a child there is no way to even know this kind of loss, and then to lose a second there are no words..........
What I do know in the very core of me is that we serve a loving and just God, who is altogether loving and good! God knew the exact number of days that Jack and Hayes would be with us on this earth. He did not cause my boys to die, because God did not create death. Death entered this world through the first sin in the Garden. Who am I to be angry with God when He was the one that blessed me with those two boys. I know beyond a shadow of a doubt where my boys are! I know that because God blessed us with those two beautiful boys, I am going to get to spend eternity with them!!!
My prayer is that everyone who has been touched by Jack and Hayes's lives will come to the point of having that peace that passes all understanding. It is solely because God did love us so much that He sent His son Jesus to die for our sins. It is because of that sacrifice that we will even get the opportunity to spend eternity with our boys! That is a gift beyond comprehension!! God is so good and because of His love for me, I can say that even in the midst of this unbelievable pain I have joy that I get to see my boys again!!
I pray that this blog will serve to show the true peace and joy that comes only from Christ. I am not here to preach at anyone, but I believe that I need to write out the things God has laid on my heart. My hope is that this blog serves to help anyone who has experienced loss, grief, and pain of any kind know that there is place to turn for that true peace so many are searching for.
Thank you for all that made it through my ramblings. :) Thank you to all who are praying for us and have blessed our family in so many ways through this unbelievable tragedy that we are walking through once again!
Although my boys did not meet on this side of eternity, I know Jack was right there to meet Hayes with Jesus. Daddy loves you boys forever and always, and I'll see you soon.............
1 Thessalonians 4:13-18
13 But I do not want you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning those who have fallen asleep, lest you sorrow as others who have no hope. 14 For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so God will bring with Him those who sleep in Jesus.
15 For this we say to you by the word of the Lord, that we who are alive and remain until the coming of the Lord will by no means precede those who are asleep. 16 For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. 17 Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus we shall always be with the Lord. 18 Therefore comfort one another with these words.