Mia’s Story

Our Baby Butterfly

Originally posted in “Our Butterfly Flew Home”

Strength and peace.  Strength and peace.  Strength and peace.

As I look back on the events of last Monday, they seem a distant dream.  I’ve lived an eternity since then.  I’ve cried and wept and cried some more.  I’ve despaired, and I’ve hurt.  My heart burst and felt as though it were ripped from my chest.  I’ve pleaded and begged to my God for strength and peace.  And He heard my prayers…

I got off work a week ago at 6 am as I usually do.  If you read “The Return“, you know how hectic my schedule is.  This time, however, I couldn’t feed Mia and go to sleep as I normally do.  I had court…six cases on the trial calendar from when I was a detective at the Sheriff’s Office.  Instead, I dropped Lena off at work and took Emma and Mia to the sitter.  It’s the last time I would see my precious little three-month-old alive.

I was finished in court around 11 am, and I went home to try to grab a few hours sleep before going to pick up the girls.  My wife had earlier told me that I was NOT going to get them right after court.  She said I needed the rest.  After grabbing a bite to eat, I lay down for a nap.  The phone woke me up three hours later.  It was Michelle (I think) from my wife’s office.  She said I needed to get to the baby sitter’s house right away.  Something in her tone of voice caught me, and I jumped out of bed.  She said Lena was on her way there, and there was something wrong with Mia.

I put on my shoes, grabbed the keys to the Tahoe and ran out the door in a panic.  On the way, I called 911.  A friend of mine, Jimmy, answered.  I asked him if anything was going on at my sitter’s address.  He said yes, and I asked if it was a baby.  He asked me if it was mine, and I told him yes.  All he could say was that it wasn’t good.  I BEGGED him to tell me if she was alive or breathing.  By protocol, he couldn’t.  He just kept telling me it wasn’t good.  Finally, his director came on the line and said I needed to get there as quickly as I could.  I asked her if I needed to go to the sitter’s or to the hospital.  She said the latter.

I changed course and actually beat the ambulance to the ER.  I pulled around back to their entrance (they knew me by name and face because of the amount of cases I’ve worked there over the years), and was restrained by a deputy friend of mine as I watched…in horror.  They wheeled my Mia out on the stretcher and were breathing for her with a breathing bag.

I told Jacob to let me go.  He tried to calm me down, and I assured him that I wouldn’t interfere with the EMT’s or doctors or nurses.  I ran inside and stood outside the curtain to the room they carried her to and told them to do whatever they needed.  A nurse moved me to an adjacent room, and I fell to my knees.  I immediately began to pray to God to save her…to save my Mia.  I implored Him to take me instead.  I would gladly go in her place.  It wasn’t His will for that to happen.

I remember the doctor coming in several times over the next however long it was.  Time stood still.  He kept telling me that they were working on her, but they didn’t have a pulse.  I told him to work on her like she was a cop because she was a cop’s kid.  They tended to her for an extra 30 minutes.  I asked him how long she had been gone, and he said he didn’t know.  I would find out later that only about 25 minutes had passed from the time she went to sleep to the time she was found unresponsive.  Father God called her home in those 25 minutes.

At some point in time, they brought my wife into the room I was in.  She got down with me, and we wept…great, heaving, gut-wrenching sobs that only a parent grieving for a child they were losing could cry.  I began to pray for strength and peace.  I shifted from being stricken at the loss of our Mia to having to be the rock for my wife and daughters.  Lena couldn’t stand…we just sat on the floor in the room, clinging to each other.  She kept asking for God to breathe life back into her baby.  Again, it wasn’t His plan.  Strength and peace, Father.  I recited it over and over again through the tears that fell like rain to the floor.  Strength and peace.

We left the hospital a short time later.  The nurses, doctors, EMT’s  and hospital staff at Coffee Regional Medical Center were as sympathetic as they could be.  In retrospect, they went above and beyond anything I could have hoped for.  I thank them greatly for all they did.

I can’t remember what followed immediately afterward.  I know that we met with our sitter and her husband.  She’s been keeping Emma for almost three years, and has been keeping children for over 40 years.  It’s the only job she’s ever known.  She told us that she fed Mia a bottle and burped her twice.  She then rocked her to sleep and lay her down on her back in the playpen.  She was about eight feet away from her the entire time.  Her son had come in and needed to get into the room beside the playpen.  It was then that they discovered her not breathing.  They reacted immediately, calling 911 and performing CPR, and I thank them for all they did as well.  There was NOTHING they could have done to prevent Mia from going home.

Later in the week, at visitation at the funeral home, the deputy coroner gave me the news that I had already expected.  She and I worked many infant, toddler and child death cases together.  I’ve seen enough of them to know SIDS or SUIDS when they happen.  Mia’s preliminary autopsy report (it’s Georgia law that an autopsy be performed on infants that pass away) said that Mia was normal.  She just went to sleep and didn’t wake up.  That was God’s will.

I wanted to share this story of Mia’s passing with you for two reasons.  One, because I wanted to record it while it was fresh in my mind.  And two, because you need to know that I’m not mad at God.  I’ve asked why, of course, and I’ve doubted.  But at the same time, I’m thankful.  I’m thankful that He sent His Baby Butterfly to us for as long as we had her.  I’m thankful that she will never know pain or suffering… sorrow or fear… disease or death… heartache or heartbreak.  I’m thankful that she’s with my God right now, playing in His garden.  She’s preparing the way for the time when the rest of her family will be there with her… to tickle her nose and make that one dimple on her cheek glow with the rest of her beautiful smile.

My next post will share with you how our Lord and Savior has not abandoned us during our time of greatest need.  He’s shown me over the course of the last week that He’s holding us closer to Him than ever before.  Were it not for His supernatural strength, I wouldn’t have been able to speak at Mia’s service or carry her out of the chapel to the car to her final resting place.

Until next time, love on your children and loved ones like there’s no tomorrow.  You never know when God’s plan will take a decidedly different turn than the one that’s in your head.  Never miss an opportunity to tell them you love them or hug them or kiss them.  Our time here on this earth is entirely too short and fleeting.

God bless you, and thank you all for your prayers and thoughts.  My family and I feel each and every one of them, so please, don’t stop sending them our way.  We’ll need them greatly in the coming weeks.

“This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person.  The old life is gone; a new life has begun!” – 2 Corinthians 5:17

The metamorphosis of the butterfly.


22 responses to “Mia’s Story

  1. Oh my goodness. I am deeply moved by your story and crying. I am so sorry to hear about your daughter. I am a mom of three and can’t imagine what you have gone through. I am also moved and encouraged by your heart toward God, your faith response to Him and your deeply rooted trust in Jesus. You are truly an example of a person who has gone through the WORST and has not been shaken by circumstance, but has instead kept their focus on Jesus (not that you haven’t deeply grieved or cried or anything like that…not saying that…just saying that you really have walked through this holding onto Jesus and keeping a hold of Him and walking in His sovereignty). I’m blessed as I read this and also sad and moved. I look forward to reading more of your posts in the future (have read the lastest one). Thank you for sharing. I believe this will encourage many people who are walking through the unthinkable, unbearable or most difficult times of their life and will help them hold onto Jesus.

  2. I cannot imagine what you have gone through. God bless you both for staying strong…. God will reward you both for being so strong and trusting Him through this tough period… I am just sitting here stunned and all I can say/think is God bless you for trusting God… Those who trust God in the way you both have are NEVER disappointed!

  3. So terribly sorry about Mia’s passing. I am sure God must be caring for her in His garden as she plays and awaits the day she can see you again. Bless you.

  4. It was hard to push “like” on this post because I did not like what happened in your life, but I am filled with joy over how God has held you two close. Thanks for sharing. It makes my bumps from the world seem small.

  5. I read “I gave up on Him” first and then the account of Mia’s death. How tragic this is for all of you. I will be adding your family to my prayers. May God bring peace and a richness to your faith and trust in Him. Blessings…

    • Thank you very much, Denise. We definitely need all that we can get. I know in my heart that He has a plan for all of this. It’s just that sometimes I can’t see the proverbial forest through the trees. Blessings to you and yours.

      • I have had people who were attending the GriefShare group Ask me to explain God (His reasons or ways). It always makes me smile inwardly because IF I could explain God, He would not be GOD. My understanding of Him is so very limited. His ways are so much higher than ours.

      • The first verse that I was led to give Lena after Mia died was Isaiah 55:8-9. Paraphrasing…”For My ways are higher than your ways and My thoughts are higher than your thoughts.” So very true…

  6. Keep clinging to Jesus. I will share this with my wife of 20 years tonight. We have 4 children and 2 grandchildren together and cherish every moment we have. You did a wonderful job of penning Mia’s story. Thank you for sharing.

    • Thank you very much, Ricky. Shortly after Mia went home, there were quite a few people that told us they did the same thing. It pains me to see people simply toss their children by the wayside or ignore them. They are too precious a gift from God that He has entrusted to us. I’m grateful that He used this blog to touch you in that way…

  7. So moved by your story, not so much but your daughters going home (which is painful and I can never comprehend that loss) but by your faith and how you still believe. Reminds of Psalm 112. I woke up this morning ranting and raving at God and He directed me to that scripture and this has just reinforced. He has answered me through your blog post.

  8. Thank you for sharing your story it brought me to tears. Your strength and faith is inspiring. Thank you also for guest posting on my website, I know your story will help me and others through the grief process.

    • You’re very welcome, Heidi. I’m just the messenger 🙂 And thank you for having me. Any time you need anything, please don’t hesitate to ask. Praying for strength and comfort for you and your family…

  9. Guy,
    I was referred to your blog by my wife. I have been struggling with a barrage of emotions right now since our daughter passed away in our home 2 months ago. Our daughter was 4 months old when she was found face down and not breathing. We always place her on her back when she sleeps but my wife found her in the early hours of the morning face down. I was awaken to the most terrifying scream I have ever heard from my wife…”she’s not breathing”!

    Since our daughter has passed , my family have been trying to live a life without our daughter. She is our world, she is our hope, she is not here with us.

    I will continue to read your blog and try and connect with your journey and find answers.

    Thank you

    • Alex…my heart breaks for you, as it does every time I hear of a baby going home to be with Jesus. I know where you are, brother. And I know the journey that you and your family are on. We have been on it for a little over three years now. It’s hard, sometimes daily, but with faith and perseverance, it becomes a little easier. Eventually, you can even string together enough moments to bring some measure of joy into your life. God doesn’t promise that we won’t go through the fire. He does, however, promise to be there every step of the way. Lean on Him as much as you can, and do something to honor your daughter and share her memory with everyone. If you’re on Facebook, please send me a friend request. There’s a group on there that I belong to called Grieving Fathers. It’s a great and supportive group. The thing to remember is that you’re not on this journey alone. There are a lot of us who are a little farther along that can help you. If you’ll email me, I’ll gladly share my number with you and help in any way I can. Prayers of strength, peace and mercy to you and your family.

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