One year ago today, Chai Samuel Atwood was born. One year ago tomorrow, he died.
This post is from his Mom, Dad, and brothers to tell him that we love and miss him.
I will never forget Sunday July 11, 2010. Its the day you were born. Mom and I were not expecting you to come so early. Early in the morning the day before, I woke up to your big brother Isaac crying because he had peed the bed. As I stumbled into his room to change him and drag him into bed with Mom and me I heard Mom scream in the other room. I put Ike down and ran back into check on Mom. She told me you were on the way.
You came too early, son.
After Daddy ran up and down the stairs about 7 times and misplaced Ike in the process, I finally called Mr. Spence to come and stay with your brothers while they slept. Mr. Spence was sleeping too. (We woke up a lot of people that night).
When we got to the hospital, they got Mom settled into a room, checked on you, and everything looked OK. All day Saturday, we spent praying for you. I was nervous, but really excited to meet you. You know, Mom and Daddy waited a long time for you. 12 years…
…but you still came too early, son.
Saturday night, I slept in the hospital next to you and Mom. Micah and Isaac came to visit you and Mom in the hospital. They thought the machines around Mommy were cool. They asked a lot of questions about you. I didn’t have a lot of answers.
I still don’t have them all.
On Sunday morning, your birthday, Mommy wasn’t feeling well. Where you were in her tummy hurt really bad. In a few short minutes, they wheeled mom away and said they had to get you out or you might get sick. Daddy cried. I was afraid for just a minute. I was afraid you and Mommy might die. So, I prayed. God reminded me not to be afraid. He does that for Daddy a lot.
It was Sunday morning, so our church was meeting. They all prayed for you too.
After they got Mommy ready for surgery, that let me back in the room. I whispered a verse from the Bible in Mommy’s ear. Its Romans 8:28 and it says that God works all things for good for those who love God and are called according to his purpose. Mommy and I love God, so we trust what he says.
Then it happened. I got to see you.
It was only for 5 seconds, but they were 5 beautiful seconds.
Your name means “Alive”. Mommy and I named you that because of how God made us alive when we were dead inside. During the 5 seconds I got to see you, you were kicking around like a crazy man. You certainly were alive! I think you could play soccer with your brothers. They’d like that.
Then things didn’t go so well.
You were sick. Really sick. I would never see you move around like that again. They put you in a little plastic tent to help you breathe.
Mommy and I slept in the hospital that night, but we really didn’t sleep. The doctors kept coming in telling us about how you were doing. We would have moments of hope where we thought you would get better, but then you’d get real sick again.
Daddy kept praying. I asked God to take care of you. I asked God to make you better. I asked God to let you live.
Micah and Isaac came to see you in your tent on Monday. Right after they saw you, the doctor told me you were about to die.
I was sad.
Your brother Micah was sad too. When I told him you were going to die, he looked at me with big tears in his eyes and said, “But Dad, I’ll never get to feed him.” He misses you, little buddy.
Mommy, Daddy, Micah, Isaac, Granny-Jeal, Grandpa, Granddaddy, and Grammy were all there to see you and say good-bye. We all gathered around you in a little room while Mommy and Daddy took turns holding you. You were light as a feather. Everybody looked at you and said, “I love you.”
Mommy cried. Daddy cried.
Then, while you were in Daddy’s arms, you fell asleep and died.
You left too early, son.
I know you woke up in Daddy’s arms. Not mine, but God’s.
It seems a little silly to tell you what you have missed here. You’ve been with Jesus. You really haven’t missed anything. But I’ll tell you anyway.
Isaac always prays for you. He asks Jesus to come back quick so he and Micah can feed you. He always asks Jesus to take good care of you.
Micah painted a family picture while he was in first grade. He put you in it, next to Jesus.
Daddy thinks about you often, but especially when I run. I hear Owl City sing “Vanilla Twilight” and cry every time he says, “the spaces between my fingers are right where yours fit perfectly”.
Mommy cries for you, too. Some nights she just says, “I miss my baby.” That’s when I hug her and cry more.
When we visit your grave, we always take Stewart’s Orange Cream Sodas. Its Daddy’s favorite drink. I think you would have liked it, too. Micah, Ike, and I share a toast. We clink our bottles and say, “To our baby brother!” Then Micah and Ike laugh.
We put 2 Corinthians 4:16-18 on your tombstone. It reminds us that we’ll see you again…when Heaven comes down.
There is so much more to tell you, but I know I have eternity to have Daddy-Son talks with you. Just ask Micah and Ike, I have some really good ones.
Today, Mom will make a cake for you. We’ll have an Orange Cream toast in your honor. And Ike will pray for Jesus to come back quickly.
I’m not sure why God had you come so early, then die so soon. But I do know that God doesn’t do things early or late, just right on time.
I guess I could be mad at God, but his son died too early too. That’s what I always remember and it helps me wait for the day I see you again.
Good news…God’s son didn’t stay dead, so neither will you.
Happy Birthday Baby Boy! We love you!
See you soon.
Daddy, Mommy, Micah, and Isaac