On October 12th I left my house for a 20 mile run, the last long run before a marathon that I was competing in two weeks later. I was supposed to head out from my house and head in a circle across the Tri-Cities, crossing two bridges and going through all three cities. The first several miles felt good, or at least as good as running can feel, but then as I crossed into Kennewick I began to get really tired. There was an accident on a bridge that had traffic completely stopped and every 15th car stopped me to ask what was going on. After stopping so many times I had run out of the will to keep going. I called my wife and asked her to pick me up at my parent’s house which was only another 2 to 3 miles. I arrived to their house shortly after, completely exhausted, I’d only ran ten of the twenty miles that I was supposed to run. Chanel brought all the kids with her to pick me up, as if she could leave any of them at home. My sister, Danielle, happened to be there and my brother, Josiah, which was rare, especially for both of them to be there at the same time.
I remember when Chanel walked in, she was holding Amelia in her car seat, and had both boys in tow behind her. She looked almost as worn out as I did but she still radiated joy from herself. She sat Amelia down near the kitchen island facing the dining room table where everyone could see her. Amelia didn’t look happy as she sat strapped in her car seat with her pouty lips turned down, the same lips she got from her mama.
One by one everyone got close to her to say hi and play with her hands or coo with her. I distinctly remember feeling pride because at that moment Amelia had overcome so much in her life and we were just starting to see the real Amelia come out. She wasn’t on medication anymore and that was allowing her to really be who she was made to be. She’d been communicating more, through the ways that all babies communicate, crying, grunting, screeching, etc. But it was lovely. Especially considering that for about 80% of her up to that point she’d been on different medication to help prevent seizures.
After hanging out at my parent’s house for a little while we headed home. Chanel went to Amelia’s room to feed her, which was always a long process; I put the boys to bed and hopped in the shower, an hour later Chanel and I were downstairs winding down from the day. I don’t remember what we talked about that night, but I’m sure that we discussed my upcoming marathon, the progress that Amelia was making, and our plans for the next day. Little did we know how true Proverbs 19:21 would ring. “Many plans are in a man’s heart, but the Lords purpose prevails”
The next morning was like any other morning, I got up around 7, Beckham was already up waiting for me, and within 15 more minutes everyone else was awake. I went about my routine which was getting ready for work and making a quick breakfast, usually a smoothie. I’ve always made it a point to kiss each person in my house goodbye before I leave for work, when we first got married it was just my wife but on this day it was my wife, and Beckham, and Maverick, and of course little Amelia. I vividly remember kissing Chanel and the boy’s goodbye and starting to leave, then remembering that I’d forgotten to kiss Amelia. I came back in through the laundry room to where she was sitting in her bouncy chair in the kitchen and leaned down and kissed her right on the lips and told her that I loved her. She did what she normally did which was to clasp her hands against each other and turn her head from side to side.
I didn’t know that it was the second to last time that I would get to kiss her goodbye.
I walked out the door and drove to work. Life would never be the same again.
That morning at work I was not feeling it. I sat at my desk doing nothing but staring at my screen and making small talk with my coworkers. That day is so etched in my mind that I can recall sitting in my car when I got there and recording myself to put on my Instagram story. After a couple minutes of editing I decided that it was stupid and didn’t even upload it. I didn’t want to go to work that day, which was rare, normally I was excited to go to work, I loved my job. At 9:15 Chanel called me and said that something was wrong with Amelia. I bolted out of my chair and without saying a word to anyone hopped in my car and raced home.
The whole drive to the house, only about 10 minutes, I knew something was wrong but I also figured everything would be ok. Amelia had already been through so much and she had done so well with all of it. We hadn’t really had a “scare” per say, but had definitely been worn down by several different semi-traumatic events. I assumed this was going to be like the rest. We’d take her to the doctor; he’d check her out and tell us that it was nothing to worry about. He’d tell us that with time she’d outgrow whatever new ailment was plaguing her. That’s what the doctor said every time.
I got home and sprinted inside to find Chanel on the couch with a lifeless Amelia in her arms. I took one look at her and knew it was worse than I expected. At the same time I didn’t want to panic and freak Chanel out. Amelia’s eyes were both pointed towards the middle of her face, almost crossed. Her skin was gray and she breathing sounded very much labored, like an old man that had just finished a cigarette. Her hands hung by each side like rubbery noodles. I told Chanel we needed to take Amelia to the ER immediately. Chanel wanted to leave right that second but I wanted to get the boys dressed first. Looking back I didn’t know how serious it was. I spent five precious minutes getting the boys ready to go then we all piled into the car and drove to the hospital. We prayed along the way that everything was fine with Amelia and that this was just another bump in the road. On the drive there I remember looking at the clock and thinking that I would still be able to make my lunch appointment I had scheduled for that day.