Thursday, August 30, 2012

Can't Believe We are Here Again.......

I have been encouraged by quite a few friends and family to start blogging my thoughts as we walk down this road again of dealing with the loss of another child.  I do have lots to say and express, and I do think this is a better way of expressing those thoughts rather than through a place like Facebook.  For those of you that read this and any forthcoming post, I do appreciate it.  I welcome any thoughts and or questions you might have.

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,

Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; 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.


  1. I want to offer my condoloences. We lost our 7th and last baby in 2008 and the pain is indescribable to someone who hasn't had this loss. I'm sorry you have had to go through this at all, much less twice.

    I also know it is through the grace of God that we have survived and come through this even more secure in our faith and strengthened by Him.

    If you would like a place for your your older son to be able to work through his grief with peers who have experienced the loss of a sibling I recommend The Dougy Center. You can find their info online. This is a non-profit organization committed to helping children deal with grief. They really helped our older children to deal with their feelings of loss.

    My husband and I went through a program called Grief Share and this was essential to our healing process. Grief Share is a Christ-based program designed to help people work through their grief in their own time.

    Lastly, we have been blessed to pair with A Butterfly's Touch. This group provides memory boxes and support for couples dealing with pregnancy and infant loss.

    All of these can be found online and are there for you when you need/want to use them.


  2. Joe... none of my words are adequate. Your words are healing.

    Our 7 year old son was killed in 2006 by a neighbor's SUV in a frontover accident. Losing a second child is unimaginable.

    Our thoughts and prayers are with you.

    Phil Bransom

  3. Thank you, Joe for sharing your story and also your faith. I have been praying that through this trial of yours, someone would be led to Christ. Your simple and sweet words from the Bible show the peace that can be found by receiving Christ as your own personal Savior. One of my favorite verses is: For God so loved the world, that He gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him, should not perish, but have everlasting life (John 3:16). We are holding your family up in prayer and all thise who have been touched through this.

  4. I will keep you and your family in our prayers!!! thank you for sharing your story and testimony!! WOW!!! I don't have a lot to say!! may the peace of God wrap all of you and hold you up!

  5. Thank you for sharing your story. My heart aches for you, and yet, I am so thankful for your testimony. We do not understand why God allows certain things to happen in our lives, but we must trust Him, our Creator God, Who loves us and our children even more than we do. God be with you during your journey, and may your testimony encourage and guide your older two boys.

  6. Thank you for blogging and sharing your story. I have been praying for your family so hearing first hand how the Lord is sustaining you is neat. Loosing a child is a fear I often fight. It's comforting to hear HE IS THERE in the midst of such unimaginable heart ache. Your little Hayes was a doll-baby and Jack a very handsome lad indeed! Prayers continued! Lisa

  7. Wow, how incredibly sad! I'm so sorry for your family and the loss of your two children. Sometimes it's better to not say too much, as you don't want to say anything trite, and so.... just prayers for your family as you are walking through this. Prayers, Carrie

  8. My heart goes out to you and the spiritual depth that you have knowing a loving God would not be a part of this, yet sometimes allows it to happen for a greater purpose, even when we don't know what it is. I could say that this blog might be a part, but only God knows and that he promised the comforter to come is one you can stand on. I thank God for the blessing you are, through this blog to all who read it and to those who know you.

  9. My heart and love goes out to your family. Our family has you in our thoughts and prayers. Thank you for sharing your story with us all, your boys are beautiful and I know they're in Heaven together. Much love, The Halls

  10. Your family is truly an inspiration! I am having a hard enough time thinking that I could ever lose a child. The THOUGHT is unbearable. My heart ACHES for your family! I do look forward to meeting you through Grace Christian School. I do believe that Jack would have been in Preschool with my son this year. Many prayers to you and your family! Much love from our family to yours! May God bless you ten-fold!

  11. God bless you for the foresight you have to share your suffering and your SAVIOR with others, even in the midst of this awful, horrible grief. Jack & Hayes are leaving a greater legacy through you sharing their story than most of us could hope to do so even if we live to be 100 years old. God bless you, God bless you, God bless you. I will be praying for you and your sweet boys.

  12. I can't even put into words how sorry am. Praying for your family

  13. Joe,
    We are continuing to lift up your family through this difficult time. Our hearts are broken for your loss, but rejoice with you in your hope.
    Sincerely, Jena

  14. May the arms of Jesus continue to comfort your family. I am heartbroken for all of you and can't imagine the pain you have endured during this difficult time. Your family will remain in my prayers.

  15. I have wept openly & often for you over the past week, dear Kelly Family - and again, this morning, as I read your blog. When I heard the devastating news from our mutual friend, Mindy K., last week, I cried out: How, what, why, dear Lord?

    And yet, the same spontaneous position appears for so many. In an immediate place of surrender AND trust, we fall to our knees; interceding on your behalf, mine, on our childrens, on the worlds. Jesus, bring them bits of relief from the suffering and sorrow this hour, hold them close as they surrender yet again in another day.

    And oh, Father... please COVER them with the mightiest angels of comfort you can bring and LET your light, your truth shine in this time, in their home, in them, through them and to the world around them.

    And guess what? The Truth IS shining, dear Kellys - because of today and because of your sons and because of this simple, yet profound blog. You are showing the world that He IS victorious - and death did NOT win. And this you know well, you hold to Him with every breath you take, every hug you get and give. Jesus is in all of it.

    Bless you for sharing and not isolating when the enemy would tell you otherwise. Bless you for sharing your story, your precious boys, yourselves... AND the Lord and His truth in the midst of the unimaginable.

    Our only son, Michael, died in our arms on December 18, 2008 and it was the same prayers of thousands lifting YOU today - and in the past year - that sustained us. I often find myself saying, I wouldn't have traded being Michael's mom for anything in the world. For all the pain, for nearly losing myself, for nearly giving in, because he - and He! - really did have a perfect plan, a purpose I didn't see or know about - and yet, we ache, we weep, we mourn, we grieve...

    I know you feel the same about ALL of your children. The greatest gift has been being their parents and it always will be... the prayers will certainly not stop, dear Kelly Family, and may it comfort you to know the light and truth of the Lord are shining because you have chosen to share it in the most difficult time of your life, revisited.

    And finally, know you are being loved & lifted by others, those you know & those you don't. For really, we aren't strangers at all, but a family awaiting Eternity in Him.

    Surrendering and trusting with you, Andrea

  16. Thank you for sharing your beautiful story and testimony of Christ Joe. There are no words...and yet you found them, shared them eloquently, and have touched the lives of others who hardly know your family and are yet brought to God by your testimony. Much love for you and your sweet, beautiful Jessica, as well as your beautiful boys--all four of them.