Now What? Monday Jan 25th, 2010

Posted by Milo Wilson On Tuesday, February 2, 2010 5 comments
I woke up Monday morning instantly remembering the awful truth. Josiah was gone. I rolled over to check on Erin, who was thankfully sleeping. We had gone to bed at 8:30 the night before, but I had not intended to sleep the night through. Erin was really not doing well, and I thought I would lay with her until she fell asleep, then get up and get something to eat. However, here it was: morning. We hadn't eaten anything at all the day before, and we had spent much of the day driving, crying, and throwing up. I must have collapsed the minute my head hit the pillow. Erin had not slept as well as I had, she had been awake for many of the hours I had slept, but for the moment she was asleep. Good.

So here we were. Now what?

We finally roused ourselves out of bed, and began the process of moving forward. First there was breakfast: a few pieces of toast and some orange juice. Then, we began packing up the house we had lived in for much of our time in Charleston. Erin's parents were there with us, and what an incredible help they have been to us this year. We had packed up the house many other times together, but this time, it was final. We wouldn't be coming back for Josiah's additional heart surgeries or cath procedures. This was it. We slowly and methodically packed the vehicles with relative ease, for we had been doing it over and over for months now. By 11am we were ready to go.

I made the call to the hospital morgue to make arrangements with the local funeral home that would be assuming the care of Josiah's remains. We made the decision to have Josiah cremated, because we didn't feel right about burying him in any specific city or cemetery. Why? His whole life had been spent in Charleston, our family roots are near Buffalo, and our home is now in Greenville. How could we decide? Besides, we believe that like all humankind his body was made of dust, and once his soul went to heaven his body was of no use to him anymore. It was not a fun phone call, but I have to admit it wasn't as bad as what I expected it to be.

The same could be said about this entire day. It wasn't as bad as we thought it would be. I know that sounds crazy, because we had just lost our precious little boy, but God had already begun to wrap his arms tightly around us, encouraging us to celebrate Josiah's life rather than mourn his death. So we did. We chose to celebrate him.

I will never forget the feeling that come over Erin and I as we walked through the doors of a CVS that morning. We were both overwhelmed with the realization that no one knew what we were going through. I mean no one could have known. We were just a young couple looking through thank you cards. It is doubtful anyone would have guessed we had any children at all, because they weren't with us. Certainly, no one would have thought that we had said goodbye forever to our youngest of three kids less than 18 hours before, after a gruelling 8 month struggle that had his life. They could not have known. And neither will we in the future. I hope to never forget that realization, the one that leaves me knowing that the person standing next to me in the checkout line might be enduring the most difficult day in their entire life. I hope to treat people different because of it.

We chose to celebrate Josiah's life that morning, and plan to do so again every morning from then on. That morning we bought 249 chocolate hearts, and a funny thank you card and headed straight back to the PCICU unit where we had gone nearly every morning for those 249 wonderful days. Typically, I always responded to "PCICU, how can I help you?" on the intercom by saying: "Josiah Wilson please." I remember asking Erin when I buzzed in, "what should I say?" She told me: "Just stand here, they will let us in." And they did.

We spent a few moments with some of Josiah's nurses, then headed out for Greenville. After a stop at the funeral home to sign some paperwork, we merged back on to the familiar road that brought me to and from Josiah each week. There was nothing else for us here, and we wanted to get home to see our girls. I never turned on the stereo during that 3.5 hr trip, which is out of the norm for me. But, there wasn't anything that seemed normal anymore anyway, so what's the difference? Erin and I talked about Josiah the whole trip home, and talked through discussing his passing with our two precious girls. After some help from a professional counselor and friend, we decided to tell the girls that Josiah had died. We need to use the word "death." We needed to be concrete with them. We couldn't say that he had "gone away to live with Jesus," because the next time Erin and I left them for a long weekend, our girls might be worried that we would never come back. This would be a difficult talk.

We went immediately home, and asked our friend Eve to bring them to us right away, and she did. Within minutes of us arriving, we heard a second vehicle pull into the driveway. After Eve left, we brought the girls into the living room and broke the news to them. Sometimes it is refreshing to see things through the eyes of a child. Daylia said, "Oh, Mommy that makes me a little sad, I didn't even get to see him be a little kid." That was exactly what we were thinking. Then, almost immediately Hazyl began pointing out pictures around the house with Josiah in them. "There's Josiah, and Me, and Mommy, and Sister, and Daddy!" This was a nice moment together. But then the best part came about 1 minute, 30 seconds later: "I love Josiah, Mommy and Daddy loves Josiah, Sister loves Josiah, Jesus loves Josiah. Can we go play now?" We hugged them tightly, then played a new board game with them that they were given for Christmas. It was a beautiful finish to a long day.

Now what?
We celebrate Josiah's life more, we love more passionately, and relish each moment with more intensity. Or at least that is what we want to do.

5 comments to Now What? Monday Jan 25th, 2010

  1. says:

    Grace Continuing to pray for the peace that passes understanding as you walk this valley. We choose to trust His love, one day, one moment at a time.

    Love you, precious brother & sister in Christ,
    Grace Meeks

  1. says:

    Anonymous I'm blessed that I was able to meet your a wonderful couple and family. You make me appreciate every moment of every day. What a wonderful eye opening letter Milo.Your girls are precious. Landon's grammy

  1. says:

    Janis Beautiful! You are so right, you never know the life of the person standing next to you on line. I am pretty sure if it wasn't for the diapers & wipes I buy no one would know I have a child either. He stays home with his nurse while I run errands. I will certainly try to remember that when I am out. ((HUGS))

  1. says:

    PamO I am the mom of cardiac kid Zach (http://sweetheart-pamo.blogspot.com/) and friends with the Bentley's (your neighbors at MUSC), from whom I learned of Josiah's passing. I wanted to let you know that you have been on my heart and in my prayers during these last few days. I have been inspired by your strong faith and will continue to pray for your family.
    In His Great Love,
    Pam
    Upstate SC

  1. says:

    Stephanie Quintero Dear Wilson Family,
    Praying for you everyday, all day. Yes, he was the miracle. Thank you God for him even when it is only for my own selfish reasons. My heart is broken for you. But, I can't watch the CPT video without laughing out loud.

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