Baby Tyler died? How is that possible? I remember meeting Jamie when we flew to Oregon for a house hunting trip. She and her husband had one daughter, about a year and a half at the time, and were contemplating when to have another baby. I remember Curt coming home from work one day last year and saying, "Guess what? Jamie's pregnant! And Katie's pregnant too. They're due at the same time." What fun to be pregnant at the same time! I got the Reader's Digest guy-version of their pregnancies from Curt when I'd pick his brain. Are they showing? How are they feeling? When are they due?
Both girls delivered on the same day. One was over-due and one a bit early. Katie had a girl. Jamie had a boy. We all giggled at how fun it would be for them to watch their babies grow up together. I made pot pie times two for Curt to bring to their families and spent forever in the baby section picking out a boy outfit and a girl outfit, both in slightly larger sizes so the parents would have something new to pull out of the closet around the 9-12 month age.
I can't remember the exact time line of Zoey and Tyler's births, but I'm certain Jamie and Katie would have pulled those outfits out of the closet soon. And what a sweet age 9-12 months is. Babies start developing a personality and realize they can wrap themselves around your little finger with a few toothless smiles and some drool smeared across your cheek in the form of a kiss. Or reduce you to a puddle of tears when they've been screaming all day and all night because their teeth hurt. Or is it their ears? Or are they just being belligerent? If only they could talk and tell us what their problem is. They start moving and grooving. Ambitious babies, usually tall and skinny ones, start walking at this age. Not-so-ambitious babies, usually the chubby ones like mine, can't fathom the idea of getting all that chub going in one direction and decide to be content to sit on the floor and grab or roll to anything within reach. They figure out how to work those tiny chubby fingers and once they can pick up food, they make a game out of repeatedly dropping the food that they fought so hard to pick up off their tray and splatting it on the floor. The messier, the better, the louder the laugh. And my babies? They all had a "ni nite" - a special blankie they drug everywhere with them, like Linus, including to bed.
Jamie is not my co-worker, but I have a window into her life through Curt. Grandma gets the chance to love on the grandbabies on the days that Jamie works. Yesterday, Jamie came to pick the kids up and Tyler was taking a long nap. She went in to wake him up and he had pulled his ni nite up over his head in his sleep. How many times has that happened to my babies? But this time, his ni nite got tangled and it suffocated him. When she uncovered him, he was limp and blue. Every medical resource available worked on him until midnight when they finally called it.
My heart is breaking for this family. I can't even imagine the depth of their grief or how immobilizing it must be. And it seems so pointless. Why would life be cut down before it even had a chance to get started? How do you get out of bed? Breathe? Hope, dream or laugh again?
I can't help but thank God for the timeliness of the in-depth study of Psalm 23 that I've done these past weeks. I have 25 years of history developed with my Good Shepherd. 25 years, we've walked together, and in those years, He has walked me through life's valleys. When the valley was so dark that it sapped everything in me except my life, my Jesus carried me. He wiped my tears, held me, and sang me lullabies. I'm sure He cried with me and subsequently rejoiced with me as I gained back strength and hope and joy. He has faithfully been by my side and I have complete confidence in His care.
The darker the valley, the more I sensed His presence. And I feel it today. From a human perspective, this is a senseless tragedy. How could any good come from a sweet baby dying before he walks? But I don't see the big picture. I just see today. This moment. And I can trust that my Jesus will eventually take what Satan intends for evil and somehow, miraculously, transform it to good. For now, I once again, choose to climb up into His lap and listen to Him sing to me. And when He dries my tears and I find my voice again, I'll ask Him to wrap His arms of love around Jamie and her family, carry them through their grief, give them energy to breathe in and breathe out, and bringing healing to their breaking hearts.