Wednesday, February 29, 2012

The Life of Riley

     By now, most of you have probably heard that Riley went to be with the Lord on February 19.  We are heartbroken that our baby boy is no longer here with us, but we have some peace knowing he is in heaven happy and healthy. 
     On the night of the 18th, we spent the night at our home so we could go to church the next day.  When we awoke on the 19th, we called the Nicu to check on our son, as we always do.  The doctor answered our call and once again told us Riley was having a bad morning.  He said we ought to consider coming to the hospital earlier than we normally do.  After hanging up, Craig and I pondered on if this was the devil trying to keep us from going to church or not.  We decided to get ready for church and call before we went inside to check on Riley.  Before we were able to leave our house, the doctor called Craig's phone and suggested we make our way to the hospital asap.  Riley's heart rate was dropping steadily. 
      Even though Craig drove very fast, it seemed like it took forever to make it to the hospital.  I was very nervous on the ride down there and grew even more nervous and scared as we got closer to the Nicu entrance. 
      Riley's spot is visible from the entrance door and I immediately looked to the right as I stepped in to see what was happening around him.  His incubator was open and a few nurses and his doctor were standing around him.  I could see his vitals were still being monitored so I knew he was still alive.  When we reached his incubator, Craig and I each took one of his hands and told him that we were there.  We told him that it was okay and if he needed to go, we would understand.  We told him we loved him and we were proud of him. 
     A few minutes later, the doctor asked us if we wanted to hold him.  I was scared and didn't know if I could do it.  I looked at Craig and he said that I could and he would be right next to me.  So, they switched Riley to a different ventilator so I could hold him.  This also seemed like it took forever, the waiting was intense because I didn't know if he would still be alive when they put him in my arms. 
     I sat down in a chair next to his incubator with Craig right next to me.  They put Riley in my arms and I burst into tears.  It was the first time I got to hold my son.  Craig said when they placed Riley in my arms all his vitals shot up for a few seconds before descending again.  I was able to hold him for about 20 minutes before he passed away.  We talked to him, kissed him, and soaked up every second we could with our son.  After he passed, Craig held him for a few minutes.  It was so precious to see Riley in his father's arms.   
     One of the nurses asked if we wanted to go in a family room and she would bring Riley in there so we could be alone with him.  We decided to do this and went in the room to wait.  Craig made phone calls to our parents, I could not say it out loud.  The nurse brought Riley to us all swaddled in a blanket.  I held him again for a short time as Craig had his arms around both of us.  This was a special time because the three of us had not been alone ever.  I felt like we were a family even though Riley was gone. 
     I'm not even sure if there are words to describe the feelings I felt that day and continue to feel.  The pain is too great to call it pain, the emptiness is too vast too call it empty, and the sadness is so overwhelming.  I miss my son every minute of every day.  I will never get to take him to the beach or the zoo, I will never get to watch him take his first step or hear him laugh.  These thoughts make my heart break. 
    I am thankful for the the time I was able to spend with him.  Thankful I was able to see him open his eyes and hear him make his funny noises.  Thankful I felt his hand squeeze mine.  Thankful I changed his diaper, took his temperature, wiped his nose and mouth.  I thank God he brought him into our lives even for a short time.  I will love him forever and I will always be his mommy.  He taught me so much in his almost 40 days.  At his service, Thomas spoke of Riley inspiring many people through this blog and through word of mouth.  He challenged all of us to continue to live like Riley did as we go on, bold and courageous.  I will do my best to live this way in remembrance of my son. 
   If Riley's story has impacted you in any way and you would like to share it with Craig and I, we would love to hear from you.  You can leave a comment here or email your story to
   Going forward, I am thinking of writing a book about all of this.  I'm not sure in what direction the book will go or how to even start.  I may continue to blog as well, we'll just see what happens. 
   Finally, thank you to everyone who has been reading this blog and prayed for Riley and our family.  We rely on God to give us strength to make it through each day.  Even though we did not receive the answer we wanted to our prayers, God is still with us and will carry us through this unbelievably difficult time.  We trust in God that he has great plans for us in the future.  God bless all of you. 

1 comment:

  1. Thank you for sharing your heart, your pain, and your love for your precious Riley. My heart aches for you and Craig, but I admire your courage that you have shown all of us as you have gone down this difficult path. Thank you for sharing your stories of Riley. His Great great Aunt Beepo (Barbara's sister and my mom)and Uncle Charles are hugging and playing with Riley in heaven :) Love and prayers to you and Craig.