6 months today, just a few hours ago, we let Kaden go to be with Jesus.
It seems like it just happened. It seems like it never happened.
I wanted to write last night about our night before he passed away. But it was just too much at the moment.
We’d been told that Sunday (8/25) Kaden wasn’t a candidate for a heart transplant because of the possibility HHV-6 might attack a new heart. The doctor explained to us that very few people get to die surrounded by loved ones – so we were going to be able to do that for Kaden.
All I could think of was, “This can’t be happening again. And there is no way on earth I can actually make this decision.” The night before, Sam had gone back to El Paso with the all clear – and Kaden crashed. I was all alone in the hotel when I got the phone call that he probably wouldn’t make it through the night. I called my friend Jen who had graciously let us stay at her home for a week with her husband Justin and their three little ones. I was bawling and she told me she was on her way, she’d meet me there so I didn’t have to do this alone.
Then I had to call Sam. At 2 am. The same call as I made when I lost the twins. There were no flights out till later that morning and he would come then.
That drive to the hospital – I don’t even remember. I was so sick and every fiber of me screamed, “I can’t watch him die and be alone.”
He stabilized just enough – but the medication they had him on was so intense that any chance of recovery meant long term problems from now on.
My friend Jen stayed with me all evening.
Sam arrived late that morning.
My dad flew out from Colorado that afternoon. He’s driven to Texas 3 weeks earlier to meet Kaden and was there long enough for us to come home from the hospital empty handed and tell him everything turned out to be a mess instead of a NICU homecoming.
My mom and Bella jumped on a plane and arrived at 11pm that night. My mom had seen Kaden a few times briefly in the NICU in El Paso, and Bella had only seen him on Face Time.
We picked them up at the airport and came back to Children’s. All I could think about was how Kaden was going to die. This was it. Sam and I were the ones prolonging it and the ones who had to end it all.
Bella finally got to meet him. Oh, she was so excited. I can’t even hardly type this out. It was hands down the most painful moments of my entire life – more than even my sons dying. To see her little face, to watch her eyes light up as she took his little hand. She tried to cover him up with the blankets in his bed, to tuck him in, giving him his little elephant to snuggle with. She was so proud of him. She told all the nurses she was a big sister, and didn’t care one bit about the tubes or machines all over. All she cared about was holding his hand and telling me over and over, “He’s looking at me Mama! He hears my voice!”
I felt like my heart had been ripped completely out of my body. There were so many times that evening where I wondered if I could take any more at all, if I would just die right there from the pain.
I held him on my lap on a pillow, wires surrounding us. Bella sat next to me and touched his toes, his little head. She asked if she could hold him, and I looked up at the nurses doubtfully. Just getting him off the bed to us took forever, I didn’t know how she’d be able to balance it all.
“I’m not sure honey…” I said and her eyes filled with tears of confusion.
And then she said something that made everyone start to cry, and the nurses leave the room.
“But I’m the big sister, and you said I could hold him when he came out of your tummy.”
And then she did, on Daddy’s lap she was able to finally hold him, pillow, wires, and all. After that, we took her back to our hotel with my mom and dad for one last night before we said goodbye to the little boy we never got to take home.