AN UNFINISHED SYMPHONY (Part 1)
A Grandfather’s Thoughts on Sudden Infant Death (SIDS)
A Guest Post by John K.
It was in the evening and I was alone in the house when I got the call. It was my son-in-law, Jon. He sounded worried, but the full impact of what the call was about did not strike me.
“Can you meet us at the
“OK,” I replied, “What’s up?”
“It’s Kadence. She’s not breathing. The paramedics are here.”
“Alright.” I said, and started to stammer some questions, but I must have begun to realize that it was urgent, so I cut myself off and said only, “I’m on my way.”
The first thing I did was say what a pastor of mine once called an “arrow prayer”, asking for God’s protection over her. Then I started to scribble a note to my wife, Eva, on the back of an envelope, not knowing quite what to say, and in too much of a hurry to try to tell the whole story. After a couple of false starts, thankfully, I heard her coming in the door. I spluttered out something about having to go right away, that there was something wrong with Kadence, and said, without hesitating to try to explain, “Let’s go!” Once we were in the truck and on our way, I told her what little I knew.
It is about a half-hour drive from our house to the University of Alberta Hospital. The further we drove, the more I became aware of a knot of fear and worry in my stomach. As we pulled up to the emergency entrance, I dropped her off and then went to find a parking spot. When I reached the emergency department after parking the truck, the receptionist directed me to a small room over to one side. I entered. Everyone was in tears. “They’ve lost Kadence.” they said.
* * *
I had prayed often that God would watch over my granddaughter, to protect her and set his angels around her to keep her from harm. I can only accept now that He has done just that. We may never know from what harm He has saved her. We can only trust that He knows.
* * *
Jen had come in after teaching her dance class. As she did every night, she went into the baby’s room to check on her. As she did every night she touched the baby gently. It was to check to make sure she was breathing, although of course she never expected she wouldn’t be. It had become an almost mechanical motion: the touch, the smile, the kiss. But this time was different. It took a split-second to realize that it was so. It took a split-second for the thought to register, “No, she’s not breathing!” Still not comprehending, she rocked her baby gently with her hand. Kadence felt lifeless, like putty. Picking her up, Jen saw that she was blue. It was a feeling of utter shock and despair and unbelief. A groan escaped her which was not a scream, not a cry for help; just a groan of realization of something which was too unthinkable to be realized. Jen told me later that as she held her baby she knew it wasn’t her. It was her tiny little body, but Kadence wasn’t there.
A question for atheists: What is the difference between a living body and a dead one? Certainly it is not chemical or physical. Every atom and molecule that was there an instant before death is still there an instant after, so what’s the difference? If there is no God, if man does not have a soul, what is the difference? It is a question I don’t suppose many atheists have considered at any great length. It is a question for which I can’t imagine them having a very satisfactory answer. Satisfactory even for themselves.
* * *
Sometimes, I think, it is as if God has two wills; an active will and a passive, or permissive will. If we believe in the sovereignty of God, we must accept that nothing happens outside of His will. Sometimes, though, can we say that He doesn’t actively cause things to happen, but He allows them? We don’t know why, but in faith we must assume that He has a good reason.
* * *
I cannot fathom how someone would cope with this, not having the hope that we have, not having a faith. I thank God that there is a Heaven. Equally, I thank Him for giving me the assurance that there is such a place, and that Kadence is there. Some things exist whether we know them or not, and whether or not we believe in them, but is nice to know for sure, isn’t it? God, in His grace, has not only given us eternal life through Jesus Christ; He has given us the knowledge and assurance of that life. We don’t have to go through this life in suspense, wondering what lies ahead in the next. What a wonderful and thoughtful thing to do; not only to provide for us, His children, but to give us that comfort as well.
I thank God for Jesus. It is only because of him and what he has done that it is possible for Kadence to be in Heaven and for us to join her there some day.
* * *
Will we recognize Kadence when we get to Heaven? I don’t know. It may be that she will recognize us, rather than the other way around. A pastor friend told me this: “Let it be your prayer that she be the second in line to greet you when you get there.”