Steven, Noah, Theo and I traveled to Oklahoma to visit family and friends on Monday, November 26th. We flew over night so we arrived there Tuesday afternoon. We had flown to Dallas and then drove the rest of the way to Tulsa. I remember Noah saying how happy he was about getting to Grandma and Grandpa's house. I will never forget the look of excitement on his face. We spent the evening at my parents' house. My aunt Ellen and aunt Cindy(who came from Minnesota), came over for dinner. Beans, cornbread, and fried taters. Noah just loved being around his family. He talked to everyone.
The next day (Wednesday) my mom, aunt Cindy, and I spent most of the day shopping at the mall. Noah and Theo spent the day at home with their grandpa and daddy. Steven said Noah would not leave his grandpa alone all day. He just kept talking to him and climbing on him. Grandpa even tried to doze off a few times, to no avail. Once we got home, we went to dinner at Cracker Barrel with Mom and Dad. Noah got pancakes, his favorite. I remember being so tired and grumpy during that dinner, a big regret of mine. After dinner, Steven and I left the boys at Mom and Dad's to go shopping at Wal-Mart. We had a big Christmas party planned the next day at Aunt Ellen's house. While we were gone, Noah and Theo made some Christmas ornaments with Grandma. Those ornaments will be cherished forever. When we got back, Noah was there to greet me at the door with is usual "Mommy!" followed by a hug. Noah helped my mom and I make some chocolate treats for the next day's party. He was just acting a little confused, but totally normal. It just seemed like he was tired. Before bed, his grandma read him a book, Goofy's Big Race. Noah was good at memorizing books, so he read most of the story to her. I gave him a hug good night and tucked him in to bed. He was sleeping in the dining room/formal living room. I told him that I loved him and blew him a kiss. He said, "love you too Mommy, good night." I went back in to the den, which was the next room over, to finish wrapping Christmas gifts. Noah got up one time to go to the bathroom, just a few minutes after he went to bed. This was pretty normal for him. He didn't go to sleep for a while because he was playing shadow puppets with the flashlight Grandma gave him in case he needed to get up in the middle of the night. I had peaked in on him while he was doing this and told him to go to sleep. Those were my last words to him while he was alive. A couple of hours later I needed to get more wrapping paper out of a closet where he was sleeping. I snuck in there to get it and heard him stir because of the noise I made. Mom and Dad had gone to bed earlier. After a finished wrapping gifts, Steven and I went to bed.
The next words I heard where from my mom, "Jenny, I need your help, I can't get Noah to wake up." I immediately jumped out of bed and ran to where he was. "Noah...Noah...Noah?" were my words when I found him. He was laying the way he always did when he slept. Laying on his tummy, face to left, hands tucked under his chest. I rolled him over, his body was stiff, lips were blue, eyes were closed. My son had died in his sleep. I got up to get Steven and almost ran in to him as he was running in to the room. The next thing I did was let out a scream. It just came out without even thinking about it. The only other time I screamed like that was when I thought I was going to lose him when I was pregnant with him. I grabbed the phone to call 911. I was shaking beyond control and had to tell the dispatcher that my son was not breathing and hadn't been for a while. He was telling me to turn him on his back and tilt his head back. Steven was holding him at that point so I told him to do that. I remember Steven saying, "he's gone, he's been gone for a while." After hanging up with the phone I sat next to Noah and just kept saying, "my son, my son." I remember my mom crying and saying, "God, why?" The paramedics came. A short older man walked in first and I could see the sadness on his face as he let out an "oh no." There was another lady there and I asked her if they could tell me what happened. No. The investigators came and asked us questions. The chaplin talked to us. Steven's mentor and the pastor who performed his service came. My aunts came. The police had to go find my dad, he was going to meet someone. Uncle Marvin and aunt Mickey came. They live an hour and a half a way but it seemed like they were there in a matter of seconds. It was all a blur. We had all moved in to the other room while the police and everyone else were doing whatever they were doing. I had to make a phone call to one friend in Oregon to ask my church to pray. When it came time for them to take his body away, Steven wanted to see him, but by law they could not let him. Later the sergeant who had to tell him no sent an apology through Dan, the pastor. I asked my aunt Ellen if we could all go to her house so as soon as the police left, we all went there. Both of our brothers and their wives came over. I think my friends Melissa and Stephenie came that day, or the next. I don't remember exactly what happened the rest of the day. I know I cried and felt like my world had stopped.
"Don't be afraid for I am with you. Don't be discouraged, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you. I will hold you up with my victorious right hand." Isaiah 41:10
Steven and Theo were riding in the car the other day and the song "Glory to God Forever" by Steve Fee came on the radio. The chorus is:
Glory to God
Glory to God
Glory to God forever
Theo started singing along, but instead of singing the right words, he made up his own. "Where Noah go, where Noah go, where Noah go." He meant, that's where Noah is. With God. My hope, prayer, dream, need is to think of Noah in the presence of God first thing when the time comes to think of him gone. I don't want to have to keep the imagine of him lying in his bed without life, or in a casket. Noah's earthly body is buried, but my Noah, his soul and who he is, is in Heaven. I just wish God could give me a glimpse of him there so I can picture that instead.