Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Kaleb Hardin

This week Samuel's first friend from Egleston's CICU died out of the blue.  Kaleb Hardin was Samuel's dock neighbor for about two weeks.  He was born 10 days after Samuel, and his parents are the first ones we started talking to once we lost our tunnel vision, and we saw more than our own pain at the hospital.  His parents, Tyler and April, and his grandparents, Jerry and Sharon, were there everyday I can remember.  We would talk to them while washing our hands in the huge silver sink outside the CICU, and when we were locked out for some procedure and anxiously waiting to be let in, we would commiserate in the hallway. 

I remember when another baby died on the CICU, and we were all kicked out for an hour.  We gathered in the hall and sat in silence for awhile, thinking how that could (and probably would for Samuel) be us someday.  Another day as I was going into the pumping room, Tyler and April were just outside and asked about Samuel.  I burst into tears and told them it was only a matter of time, and I can still see their looks of horror.  They posted prayer requests for Samuel on their caring bridge page that night.  A couple of days before Samuel died, they asked the CICU desk if they could come see us at our dock and break the "only 2 people at a bedside" rule.  They bravely came over and saw Samuel (who looked awful) and told us how sorry they were and that they were praying.  Jerry, Kaleb's grandpa, came by himself one night shortly before Samuel's death and left abruptly in tears.  It was close to home to see another baby dying when your own was on the brink of life and death. 

I was thrilled when I found their family on facebook a few weeks later and was able to track with Kaleb, whom we had been praying for from the day he showed up at the hospital.  Kaleb was the "K" we referred to during Samuel's life, and he was doing so well.  I loved seeing pictures of the chubby, smiling baby who was Samuel's first friend.  The last I had heard about Kaleb was his 1st birthday in August, and he was doing great and had had a good cardiologist appointment.  So I was shocked when I saw on facebook that he died on Sunday night.

As soon as I read the news, I burst into tears.  I was sitting next to Caleb doing homeschool, and he was immediately concerned.  It took me several minutes to be able to tell him what had happened, and he just leaned over, wrapped his arms around my arm, and rested his head on me in sorrow and comfort.  He stayed that way for a long time. 

The last few days I haven't been able to stop thinking about Tyler and April and what they're going through.  They are on my mind almost every moment.  I slept fitfully Monday night, waking six or seven times, always with the Hardins on my mind and heart.  I would wake praying for them.  Even when I was sleeping, I was dreaming about their family and praying for them all the while.  It made me think that this is what many of our friends must have felt for us when Samuel died.  I know people carried some of our burden for us, and we are praying to be able to do that for the Hardins.  When I woke for about the fifth time on Monday night, I thought, "Lord, thank you that I'm not sleeping well.  May this mean that Tyler and April do sleep soundly tonight and that their dreams are peaceful, quiet, and renewing.  When they wake in the morning, may their first thought be that You are with them.  Let us carry some pain for them."  I know what we feel on their behalf is nothing compared to what they feel without their precious 17 month old son. 

I have been thinking a lot about the other heart parents we know and imagining that they feel horrified by Kaleb's death.  It's a dreadful reminder that this could happen to them too, and I know they hurt for the Hardins.  From this side of having already lost a child, my horror is not at what I might have to live through but is at what I know the Hardins will have to live through and are living through.  These are the dreadful days of funerals and making decisions about burials, coffins, and other such appalling things.  These are the days no parent should have to face.

Today I have been a mess.  I've talked to Bryan on the phone a couple of times, always through tears and chokes.  Joel asked me, "Mommy, why are you like that?" and then proceeded to say, "I'm sorry. I'm sorry" repeatedly when I told him I was sad about Kaleb Hardin.  I was supposed to call Sharon, Kaleb's grandma, today, but I couldn't even think about it without bursting into tears, so I had to ask Bryan to call instead.  Bryan asked me, "Are you sad for them, or are you sad for us?" and I said, "Both."  I am terribly sad for Kaleb's family.  And I am terribly sad for us.  Our loss is fresh, and so I can put myself in their shoes quite easily.  And I miss Samuel.  Alot. 

The one thing I continually cling to is that God has shown Himself so abundantly faithful to us in our grief and loss.  He has revealed Himself in ways I couldn't have known to long for.  He has sealed our hearts to His.  I feel so richly blessed by Samuel's life and by our grief.  And I can hope the same for the Hardins.  They are already clinging to God with all their might, and I know our good God will be faithful to them as He has been to us.  I am praying that they too will find that their Valley of Weeping becomes "a place of refreshing springs where pools of blessing collect after the rains" (Psalm 84:6).  I know God will not abandon them, and I know He is the great Healer.  Oh, Lord, please heal their hearts.  Amen.

1 comment:

  1. Dear Hardin Family,
    I am so sorry for your loss. Please know you are all in my thoughts and prayers. I picture Samuel and Kaleb toddling around heaven together and making angels smile.
    Love, Gab'm