Friday, March 27, 2009

Sage's Passing

I kept this journal for Crystal and Spencer. I know this post is long and very sad but I told Crystal I would journal it. She was so afraid she would forget things. So here is that first of the darkest days of our lives and yet I have never felt the Spirit as strongly.

March 19, 2009

I was awake but laying in bed when the phone rang. I remember thinking Crystal was calling me earlier than usual this morning. When I answered the phone I could hear her screams and after a bit I told her to calm down and take a deep breath. I heard "dead" and "Jayden". I asked her, "Honey are you telling me Jayden is dead?" She said no, "My baby mom it's Sage. He's not breathing Spencer is doing CPR." I told her we would be there as soon as possible. She had to tell me 3 times for it to sink in.

Crystal was told by the 911 operator to take the other children out of the home. So still in her garments, she ran accross the street to her friends and neighbors, Brittnay and Cole, and pounded on their door. "Kole shouted just a minute I'm in my garments and Crystal shouted back "Me too Open the door!" She told him what was happening and asked him if he would come get the children. They were so good to watch them through out the day until family could take them.

I called Teele. I had to tell him three times that they had found Sage not breathing in his crib and that Spencer was performing CPR. He kept saying, "Oh no hon. No! No! No! Honey not that! Tell me it ain't so!" By the time we made it to their home all of the children, my brother and their Bishop had been called. The strange thing is I had to tell Amanda three times and I will never forget her screams. So many of us had to be told three times before we could even begin to believe that it was true. Isn't that strange? Teele and I thought about that a lot since then. How everything in the church is done with a witness of three. Then of course there is the Father, Son and Holy Ghost and after 3 days the tomb was rolled away and Christ was resurrected.

It seemed like an eternity but Teele, RaLee, DJ and I arrived on the scene before the Paramedics. I remember when we turned the corner onto her street I expected to see the first responders and when I didn't I thought. "Maybe it's okay!" Then I notice one police car parked accross the street from their house and my heart sank. I flew out of the truck and ran as fast as I could. I even ran up the stairs...I can barely walk them on a good day.

I found them in Crystal's bedroom with baby Sage laying on the floor in his blue jammies the ones with little soccer, football and basket balls on the shirt. Spencer was performing CPR as one police officer stood in the room. I was so impressed with how calm Spencer was and the officer said, "I'm not going to stop him because he's doing a better job than I could."

I noticed Sage's coloring and I new there was no saving him. I covered my mouth with my hand and began to sob. Then I thought, "Calm down! Just stay calm!" So I lay down on the floor, touched his cheeks and brushed my lips to the top of his head and just felt his soft wiry hair (he was going to have curly hair like Uncle DJ, Uncle Royal and Grandpa Teele). He was still warm and I could tell that he was not going to be with us much longer. As strange as this may sound I could still feel the presence of his little spirit in the room with us and I knew we were surrounded by angels. The spirit in that room was stronger than I had ever felt it. The spirit bore testimony to us that it was Sage's time and that we were not alone.

Teele said the entire ride over he had it in his mind that he would give Sage a blessing and through the power of the Priesthood he would save that little boy's life. But when he lay on the floor beside him and placed his hands on Sages head his "Own" thoughts and desires disappeared and were quickly replaced by those of our Father in Heavens'. He then gave the most bitter sweet blessing I think a grandma could ever hear. He told Sage that his work here on earth was done, that he had lived a perfect life, that he had completed the mission he was sent here to do and that he could return to his Father in Heaven with honor.

The paramedics arrived and we had to clear the room. We gathered at Sage's bedroom door and waited. Then about 10 minutes later they came out and told us that there was nothing more they could do. Our Little Sage had passed away.

This is the hard part because the room filled up with investigators and the questions began. Who saw him last? What time did he go to bed? When was the last time you fed him? Changed his diaper? Has he been sick? Has anyone babysat him in the last 48 hours? What's his Birthday? Name? Has he been sick? Injured? How many times has he been to the doctor? Does he have all of his shots? The questions never stopped and when one officer was done another started the questioning all over again. THREE times. It was hard keeping our tempers in check. I could tell my sons, Royal and DJ were getting angry, so I had to keet telling everyone, "They are just doing their job." Thanks to evil people in the world the police have to do this.

They told Teele that we couldn't see or touch Sage again until after the County Medical Examiner released his body after the autopsy. They said they were going to "Bag him" and bring him down stairs on a gurney. Teele said, "Fellers, You will not do this to my family! We will all say our goodbyes and then I will carry him outside and put him in the van. You will close the doors and then you can do what you've got to do! You will not "Bag" my grandson in front of my family they have been through enough. So they went outside to talk and after some time they came in and said, "Mr. Reidhead we agree after walking through the home and seeing the family photos and each of the childrens bedrooms and we are convinced there has been no foul play. These people are good parents. So we will allow you to say goodbye to your grandson.
The detective came in the house and told Crystal that he would bring Sage down so she could tell him goodbye. Crystal, not knowing the conversation Teele had with them, asked if her dad could bring him to her and the officer asked "Is he strong enough to do that?" and she replied, "He'll have to be. I watched my husband, this big rough and tough cowboy, come down the stairs with Sage cradled to his chest. I thought my heart was being ripped out and I had the overwhelming urge to just grab Sage and run as if doing that would change everything. When Teele placed Sage in his mothers arms he was so gentle and loving. Spencer sat beside her and they mourned the loss of a son. Then I held him and told him how much I loved him and then I thanked him for choosing me to be his grandma.
By now Spencers parents, his brother David and Brother Richard and his wife Carolyn had arrived. Bishop and his wife were there as was our relief society president. Uncles, Royal, DJ, John G. and John C. and Great Uncle Mike were there. Aunts RaLee, Jessica, Amanda, and Great Aunt Kathy were also present. Each of us got the opportunity to hold and kiss Sage for the last time.
I remember just staring at the little pony jumper he got for Christmas sitting in the corner. It had been placed there so he could observe everyone especially mommy. He never took his eyes off of her he had to know where she was at all times. You could see the fabric of the seat in the same position it was in the last time our little man played in it. I kept wishing I could see him bouncing up and down in it safe and sound. Oh how he loved his jumper! He would start kicking his little legs the minute he realized you were putting him in his jumper.
Spencer and Crystal had just returned home from a vacation in San Diego and they fell in love with all of the beautiful flowers that were in bloom. So with new resolve they decided to plant a tree, flowers and bushes in the back yard. The night before Sage Passed they took all five children to Home Depot and walked the garden department letting each child pick out something to plant. Crystal carried Sage and she said he seemed drawn to the rose bushes. She really liked the Tombstone rose bush in my garden and decided that's what Sage's flower should be. They searched the garden department and were unable to find one so they returned home with four plants instead of five.
My Tombstone Rose Bush (Lady's Banks Climbing Rose Bush)
They got home from Home Depot around 9pm. Crystal nursed Sage and put him to bed. She told me that he was just so happy and wide awake. She said he seemed super excited when she put him to bed. She kissed him goodnight and told him she loved him. Then turned out the light and shut the door. She remembers pausing at the door and thinking, "He's wide awake and very excited to go to bed." She said she just had a strange feeling about it. Now she wonders if he new that Heavenly Father was taking him home and that's why he was so excited.
It was about 10pm when all of the children were went to sleep. This was unusual for them because most days they are all in bed by 7:30 with scripture study, story time and family prayer. It was the next morning that they found Sage not breathing. As afternoon approached Crystal remembered the four plants still in the garage from the night before. So she grabbed her garden gloves and a shovel and went in the backyard and planted them leaving a space in the center for Sages rose bush.
Then Crystal, Spencer and I drove to the new A & P nursery to pick out Sage's rose bush. They also decided to plant a tree in his honor. We were like zombies and the poor gentleman that helped us must have thought we were crazy. I walked away for a bit to take some huge gulps of air to keep myself from screaming. I felt so bad for the poor guy that I briefly shared their story and he was visibly moved.
They paid for their tree, a Chinese Elm, and a Yellow Tombstone rose bush and went home to plant.

Spencer and John G. dug some of the hole for the tree and then filled it with water to soften the earth. You gotta love the hard desert floor! The tree would be planted tomorrow.
The day was difficult and the weird thing, as we would all agree days later, was even though we felt like the world should have stopped the clock seemed to be on "Fast Forward". I felt like it had only been a couple hours and was shocked to look at the clock and discover it was 4:30 in the afternoon. It was the strangest thing because it felt like morning and yet it was late afternoon. We view it as a blessing from a loving Heavenly Father. I felt like he was making a quick end to a terrible day.
People flooded their home with service. Food seemed to appear out of no where. Boxes of tissues, flats of water, fruit, flowers, soda, chips, baked goods and love poured from every corner. A sister brought some church music and had it playing softly in the background and this would prove to be very calming on everyone. Their home truly felt like the Celestial room, so quiet, reverent and full of the spirit. I just sat there and watched the miracle of the Relief Society at work and saw two wards their's and mine deliver love with every act of kindness. I remember thinking as all of the laundry from their vacation was taken away by 8 sisters, two things, "Charity Never Faileth" and "And the King shall answer and say unto the, Verily I say unto you, In asmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me." (Mathew 25:40)
Some how we made it through the day as a family with the help of our ward family, neighbors and friends. Teele and I went home to go to sleep around midnight. After a while I realized sleep was not going to be possible because I couldn't stop the tears. I got up and started journaling/blogging. About 1:30 am I heard a knock on the door and when I opened I found Crystal and Spencer standing there in their pajamas with pillows and blankets in their arms. Tears streaming down their faces and looking so alone. They said they couldn't be in the home or sleep in their bedroom. Spencer went to sleep in the spare bed and Crystal and I talked and cried through much of the night. As 8:27 am approach I couldn't believe that we had been 24 hours since we had heard baby Sage's giggle.
The following are some of the pictures that were taken the day Sage passed away.
Talking to family.
Food filled the counters, and two refridgerators.
What a blessing to not have to worry about feeding everyone.
Love and Comfort from a Father


Chandy said...

My heart is hurting for all of you; this was very difficult to read as I can't erase the last time I was in Crystal's presence in Arizona. She was quick to smile and was truly a loving mother to her children by the way she would address them. I loved how she understood how my home was, for my own family. Seeing her cry over the loss of any of her children is never something I imagined she'd ever have to do...

Granny on the Web said...

So sad for you dear family.
God does some mysterious things we just have to accept with faith, I think your faith is very strong. Death is the door we go through to reach His realm.
I have lost 2 grand-babbies in the last 10 years, it hurts. So I can understand a little of you pain.
Bless you all.
Love Granny in the UK

Rebekah said...

I am a complete stranger. I am honored to have a glimpse of this very personal day. I can see the emotion and greif on all your faces and through your words. I dont understand why this happened, but I do know that our heavenly father knows. Your Sage is a blessing and so sweet. Thank you for sharing with us.

Praying and thinking of you and your family.


my3sons said...

I am also a stranger. I am so sad for your family. I just can't imagine what you are all going through. I read every word you wrote with tears. I can see the hurt and love on everyones faces. You are such a close and loving family and will help eachother through this. No family should ever have to bury a child. I am so sorry. Katie

The G Fam said...

What an amazing young man, and what a tremendous blessing to your family. I am so sorry for your loss, and as a mother to two angels, we will mourn together. I know that time will fade the constant hurt, but know that there will be hard days, and that is okay. We will pray for you. I know that our children have a sacred mission to come here and to quickly return to their Heavenly Father, for a mission much greater than here.
Heart hugs,

Daniela said...

I have NEVER commented on a memorial page because quite frankly, I never know what to say. For some reason this morning, I felt the need to reach out. your story is so heart wrenching and devastating, but some how you seem to hold on to your faith. I don't know if I could ever be this strong. I have never met your family, but can't seem to stop crying. My heart is breaking for someone that I have never met. Maybe it is because my 8 month old grandson is with me this weekend. I don't know, but I wanted to tell you that I am praying for you and your family. I am praying that God will heal your broken hearts and lift your spirits even further. You are so blessed to have such love surrounding you. God Bless you ALL.

Kelly @ The Beauty of Sufficient Grace said...

I am so heart is breaking for all of you...your story is heartwrenching. Thank you for allowing us to meet this precious baby and to know of your great sorrow, that we may lift your family up in prayer.

Weeping with you...
Kelly Gerken
Sufficient Grace Ministries

Lil' Woman said...

I'm also a stranger who found this site through Polka Dots & Pansies praises and prayers.

I know there are no words to say that will make you feel better or take the pain of losing a child away. Reading this, I feel blessed to get a glimpse into your life and the short life of Sage. I had to stop half way through to wipe the tears from my eyes. I am glad you recorded this and are willing to share with us and your family. I hope you know and have trust that the Lord will take care and cherish your precious baby boy.

My prayers, thoughts, and love are with you and your family and friends in this hard time.

Belle's Blog said...

My heart goes out to you and your family. I dont think anyone ever knows exactly what to say ... because everyone needs something different. One thing I know is that one day when the pain isnt so fresh these comments of ppl loving your grandson will be of comfort. It was almost 2 years later until I could really look at everyone who was there for my family when we lost Dustin. My thoughts and prayers are with you now and in the days and months to come. My only comfort is knowing that my son is in the arms of Jesus. I am certain that he has time to rock all the angels like ours! God bless you and your family

Ginger said...

I, too, am a blogger that doesn't know you. I came over from Kelly'skornerblog. I read your story with tears in my eyes, wondering how you can ever get through this. I have a 1 year old grandson, and I kept picturing what I would do if something like this happened. My heart goes out to all of you.
My son-in-law is a firefighter/paramedic and he goes out on calls like this and I have to tell you, it really affects him and all his coworkers. They might now show it on the scene, but believe me, it really makes them sad.
Please accept my sincere sympathy. I will keep you in my prayers.

Anonymous said...

Although we do not know one another I grieve for you and your family and this terrible loss. You truely have a gardian angel now and may God Bless you in this terrible time.
You have a candle lit at my church in South Texas.
God Bless,

mamachick said...

I am also a complete stranger, but I have been mourning with you over this loss the past 10 days as I've followed your blog and story. I'm truly sorry for the pain you are having to go through, but I felt the Spirit so strong as I read about his passing and the spirit that was in the room at the time. It is very hard to trust God in such difficult times, but He knows best. Perhaps a purpose of Sage's life was to draw a community of people together this way and teach us more compassion. We will never likely know until we pass through to the other side what the reason was.

One of my most favorite doctrines of our church, is the doctrine of the salvation of little children and how little Sage, having died in infancy, has his place in the Celestial Kingdom secured. What a beautiful knowledge we have of such a thing! When my best friend lost her little boy almost 2 years ago now, I read Bruce R. McConkie's writings on the subject over and over again to bring myself some peace and understanding.

Please know that your family continues to be in my prayers and I am praying for the comfort and strength to see you through this trying time.

Beth at I Should Be Folding Laundry said...

I am a stranger, but I could not read this post without telling you, Crystal, Spencer and your entire family that my prayers are with you.

I can't imagine how difficult this was to write, but you wrote it so beautifully.

Sage was and is so incredibly loved. Last year I lost my twins sons at 19 weeks gestation and although the level of grief felt between our losses is not equal, it is grief nonetheless. I found writing to be my best therapy.
KEEP WRITING. We'll be listening.

CharlisMom said...

I am also a stranger. My heart is breaking right now for you and your family. I can't imagine the pain you are in, and how Crystal is doing in all of this. You are an amazing woman for keeping the journal, no matter how hard it is, so that Crystal can someday look back and feel as if that day is closed..with no gaps in her memory and try to put it to rest in her mind. Please know my thoughts and prayers are with you all. God Bless you..I am so incredibly sorry for your loss.

mrsrubly said...

i read some of this post yesterday. i layed down on my couch last night and could not get my mind off of your sage and the rest of your family. i blogged this morning about sage. his smile, he is just perfect and whole. i am so sorry deeply sorry and my heart physically aches for your family. continued prayers and hugs

The Thiessens said...

I too am a stranger. Reading your story was difficult and my heart aches for your family. May God continue to be your portion and strength in this difficult time.

Anonymous said...

You are all in our thoughts and prayers. I am so sorry for your loss. Let me know if there is anything that I can do for your family.

Ryan Olsen