A Year Ago …

A year ago this morning, I got a phone call from work. I looked down at the caller ID on my cell phone and saw that it was my SIL. And because, for various reasons, she rarely called me anymore … I knew something was wrong with Liam.

Mom & Dad with Liam after his 1st surgery
Mom & Dad with Liam after his 1st surgery

And as I picked up the phone, right away I could here her sobbing. And as she talked, I found myself walking away from my desk at work and into a private place where we could talk. Phrases like “worsening pulmonary edema” and “lungs too premature” was all I really heard amidst her sobs. That, and the one phrase we all didn’t expect to hear. That the doctors didn’t know how much longer Liam might hang on.

So I quickly shut down my computer, gathered my belongings and ran out the door after telling my boss what was going on. I headed to the local hospital and up to the NICU area where I saw my SIL in the waiting area. She was talking with one of the chaplains who was trying to console her.

“I couldn’t be in there while they were rounding,” my SIL told me, referring to the attending doctor and residents. I understood what she meant; she didn’t want to be in the room when these professionals would discuss Liam’s case.

The first time SIL got to hold Liam
The first time SIL got to hold Liam

We eventually made it back to his room, where I was so surprised to see how ashen Liam looked. The weekend before, he was bright-eyed and playful. And he was taking a bottle … one of the first time he was doing so. Now, because he must have aspirated, they had him being fed by a tube. And while the everyone thought he might pull through this bout of pneumonia, his poor premature lungs weren’t able to do so this time around.

Most of the day was spent in a blur. My SIL’s husband was finally able to make it down to the hospital around lunch time. My in-laws came in and brought Tyler with them to visit. Tyler, I can remember was pretty upset … not knowing how to react as an 11-year old wouldn’t know. My husband, who worked an hour and a half away, left work in the early afternoon, but because of traffic made it in just around dinner time.

And then about an hour later, Liam was gone.

There’s nothing more gut-wrenching than watching my BIL hold Liam as he took his last breath. To hear the aching bellow as he cried out Liam’s name, while holding him close. Nothing more heartbreaking than watching my SIL’s eyes overflow with crocodile-sized tears.

And there’s nothing … nothing at that moment, that we could do at that moment to console them. Because simply, we couldn’t bring back Liam.

Strength in Liam's Hands
Strength in Liam's Hands

It’s now been a year since that day. A year of missing Liam. A year of praying that he’s safe and happy up in the heavens. I pray every day that Liam looks over his parents and brother … and now for his newborn baby sister.

And every single day, I pray that he gives me the strength … that same strength he had for the four months he was with us … to put one foot in front of the other and move forward.

19 Replies to “A Year Ago …”

  1. Oh Emily, my heart is with you and your family. I simply cannot imagine how heartbreaking that must be.

    You’ve written a beautiful, beautiful tribute here.

    Love,

    Pam

  2. Emily-
    My thoughts are with your family right now. What an incredibly sad and painful experience. It is clear from your words that he was so loved, and it’s clear that his spirit is living on in your hearts. What a beautiful boy he was, and how sad for the world that his life was so short. These are the kind of anniversary we wish we never had to experience. I will be thinking of you all.
    -kate

  3. That was a beautiful remembrance of Liam, and no one can doubt the depth of your feelings for him. How brave of you to have written. My thoughts are with everyone in the family.

  4. I can’t imagine how horrible that day must have been and I hope none of you ever have to go through anything like that again. I am glad you draw strength from him!

  5. Oh Emily–to hear from you just now and then to read this…my thoughts are with you guys and with Janet and her husband.

    Keep remembering.
    hugs

  6. From the bottom of my heart, I muster a simple but every so heartful ‘thank you’ for remembering when others have not. And no matter what our situations are or were in the past, you will always have a special place in my life and you (& my bro) are always in my prayers.

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