All too often we try and force events to come out a certain way. I know I am guilty of that. We want to be in control, assured that what will come is what we planned. This is not what I planned. And just that mere fact, the realization that my plan is not the most important, that there is a plan larger than I can see, provides more comfort than I ever expected.
If you asked me in November of 2002, I would have told you that I had an almost perfect life, and most certainly a blessed one. I had a job I loved, a great husband, and two perfect children: Sydney Anne, then 15 months, and Samuel Keith (Sam), then 2 months. Little did I know what the passing of that month would bring. December began, and my perfect life rapidly began to crumble right in front of me. My husband told me that he had realized that the family-man lifestyle was not the life he desired after all and that he wanted a divorce. Just before Christmas he moved out of the house we had bought together. It was a hard blow to me. But I rallied for the sake of my children, whom I adored, and we had a happy Christmas. The new year began, and I hoped that it would begin better than the last year ended. I honestly did not think it could be worse.
I was so wrong.
It happened on the cold, frosty night of January 3rd. My three-month-old baby boy, my Sam, went to sleep for what was supposed to be a short nap. It was a nap he never awoke from. I was in the room, five feet from him, when it happened, though I didn’t know it. I went to wake him and there was no response. It was one of those surreal moments that turned into the most surreal night of my life.
I began CPR and called 911. They arrived so fast and worked so hard the entire way to the hospital. When we arrived at the hospital, there was an entire team of people ready and waiting for us. They, too, tried to bring back my Sam. But God had already taken him. Sam was already sitting with the angels even as I held him for the last time. I held him, trying to memorize every feature, trying to give him enough hugs and kisses to last me the rest of my days. I can, with all honesty, and without hesitation, say it was the worst moment, the worst night of my entire life. It was my rock bottom.
I know that God never gives us more than we can bear. I believed that when my husband left. And I clung to that after I lost my Sam. I decided that God must have a high opinion of me to give me such burdens. The first time I had that thought was almost two weeks after Sam’s death. It was one of those thoughts that flashes through your mind so fast you hardly have time to think it and have to actually stop and mentally rewind to really understand it. I did that. And a gleam of comfort began to shine through the gloom that I had thought would hang over me forever. It was not a miraculous recovery. It was not even a small recovery. But it was a beginning. All things have a beginning, and this was mine.
They don’t know why Sam died, so they are attributing it to SIDS. I still cannot fully wrap my mind around the idea that a perfectly healthy baby could die for no reason. However, that part of my mind that wonders why is given an answer from the other part that holds fast to my faith. I tell myself (quite literally, out loud sometimes) that Sam did not die for no reason. His presence here for those precious three months had a purpose. I don’t know what that purpose was, and I don’t know if I am ever supposed to know. Because it was not my plan, and that comforts me. It is God’s plan, and I don’t have to know what it is. Sam, you see, was my angel. But God only loaned him to me for a little while. Now He needs him back.
Sydney misses her brother. She asks for him every day. We look at photographs and I talk about Sam to her. I want her to grow up knowing her brother. The life he was granted by God was short, but unforgettable. I think my favorite quote is “death is God’s way of telling us that he learned all the lessons he was supposed to learn, and now is welcoming him home.” We all have our own lessons to discover. Sam was just a fast learner.
– Karen Keith
Glory Babies Group: Tyler