I Barely Survived the Loss of Our Child

I thought it would be like any other holiday—until our infant son died of SIDS.
I Barely Survived the Loss of Our Child

It was the week before Thanksgiving, and as I ran errands in the car with my three sons-Benjamin, six; John, two; and Ethan, four months-I tuned into a broadcast of Dr. James Dobson's "Focus on the Family" radio program. That day, the guest was talking about her child's death, so I flipped the radio off, not wanting to even think about the topic. But my thoughts seemed to have a life of their own. What would I do if it happened to me?

I pondered halfheartedly. As I mentally prepared my grocery list, the answer came in the voice I've grown to recognize as my heavenly Father's: Jonna, you'd get down on your knees and thank me for every moment you were given with your child.

That's strange, I thought, tucking the thought away in a corner of my mind and driving on into the happy clutter of my life.

One week later, my husband, Patrick, our three boys, and I gathered to celebrate Thanksgiving at Patrick's parents' house three hours away. While a football game buzzed in the background, numerous siblings and their burgeoning families arrived laden with hugs and special dishes.

How blessed we are, I thought, relishing the warmth of the fireplace, the delicious aromas filling the air, and the joy of seeing Patrick's grandmother holding baby Ethan for the first time. Ethan smiled and burbled as family members snapped his picture and oohed-and-aahed over him.

Eventually, I whisked Ethan away from the hubbub of last-minute meal preparations and laid him down on his stomach for his nap on my in-laws' bed. I adjusted the covers, settling him quickly and quietly without so much as a backward glance.

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