Sorry for ending so abruptly…
We remained at the hospital for about 2 hours and then the doctor came in to talk to Ron and I. He wanted us to give permission for them to do an autopsy on Royce. At first I was adamant that no, they could not do that. I just did not want them cutting on his little body. He had been through so much and I just wanted him to be left alone. After talking with Adrian, the doctor, and Ron and hearing the doctor’s reasons for wanting to do the autopsy, we agreed to let them go ahead. One of the arguments was that because I had miscarried one little boy at 20 weeks and then Royce dying, the twins being born 8 weeks early they (the doctors) wanted to see if there was anything genetically going on that could be prevented in the future. It would be a couple of weeks before we would get the results.*
And then we drove home. Again with empty arms and a grieving heart. Asking questions that could not be answered. Once home and through many tears we made the calls that needed to be made. Calling Ron’s mom ~ Ron knew to call her at the berry fields. So hard to tell a grandmother that her first born grandson was now gone. Anne would call Pete in Alaska. Calling my dad and sister in California. I told my dad that I really wanted him to come to Las Vegas. He said he would see what he could do. I just knew in my heart this little girl needed her daddy during this difficult time. And with all the phone calls we ended with we will call when we know when the funeral would happen. Such difficult phone calls to make all the while worrying if Jamie would continue to get stronger and remain with us.
Thursday evening we did go back to the hospital and spent another hour with Jamie. We talked with the nurses and they encouraged us to call anytime we wanted to see how our little guy was doing. And we did. Sometimes when I would wake up in the middle of the night I would call the neonatal unit just to check on him ~ and then fall asleep in Ron’s arms.
Friday was another difficult day. In the morning we went to the neonatal unit to see Jamie. It was so good to hold him in our arms. And he always seemed to enjoy grasping his daddy’s finger. Jamie’s weight dropped down to 3 lbs 7 oz. Believe me he was a teeny, tiny little boy. After visiting with Jamie and telling him he could cry all he wanted while we were gone (crying would build up his lungs and he really didn’t cry much. One time we watched him as he scrunched up his face and pulled his little legs up towards his chest like he was going to cry and then his arms and legs just flopped – he was exhausted from just trying to cry. So it sorta became a joke for us to tell him to cry while we were gone.) We went to the funeral home. That is something that I don’t wish on anyone. No parent should ever have to bury a little one but we had to do it. So we did.
We met with a very nice couple who walked us through the paperwork, talked about our options and what we wanted to happen. We called Adrian and asked if we could have the funeral on Saturday afternoon at the church. And then we had to pick out our baby’s final bed. As we walked into the room the first thing we saw was this casket that looked like it was for a 6 or 7 year old. It was all white and satiny on the outside and lined with pink silk. I just bawled. And then we were shown this little white pine box – very plain. And then we saw the one for Royce – it was about 2 ft long, light blue in color and lined with blue satin. We just touched it over and over. And then we were escorted out of the room.
And then we went back to see Jamie. I just needed to see and hold him and know he was okay. After about another hour we went to Sears. We had to get an outfit to lay our baby boy at rest. Do you know how hard it is to shop for a baby boy’s last outfit. A young girl came up to us and asked how she could help us. I blurted out “we have to pick out an outfit to bury our baby. He died yesterday. She looked at us with big eyes and started to walk away saying “I will be right back.” A few minutes later, this gramma type lady walked up, asked if she could help us (the other gal told her what we were needing to do). She was so kind and helpful. She was gentle in spirit and helped us pick out a little blue hand knitted outfit that had a stuffed giraffe with it along with receiving blankets and some little blue booties. And then she hugged us after we paid for the things for Royce. One of the things I remember is that you could not buy just one receiving blanket – they came in packages of two. We still have the second blanket, it is tucked into a trunk along with Royce’s baby book and the many cards we received from friends. We then took the little clothes and giraffe back to the mortuary. They said we would be able to see Royce on Saturday morning.
And then back to the hospital for another visit with Jamie. I think we ended up going to the hospital four or five times on Friday and Saturday.
Friday night as we walked into the house after visiting and checking up on Jamie, my mom looked at us and said she had something to tell us. Immediately Ron and I just grabbed each others hands and asked what? (Both of us later would tell each other we thought something had happened to Jamie in the time it took us to drive from the hospital to the house.) Mom said we had to postpone the funeral from Saturday afternoon to Monday because Ron’s dad, Pete and his sister, Kathy were flying into Seattle Saturday morning and then they would drive straight through to Las Vegas. Ron just started crying ~ he had said he wanted his dad there but he just knew that was not possible. But God was gracious and granted the desires of his heart and made it possible for Pete to be there with us on one of the most difficult days of our lives. And then my mom told me my dad decided not to come but to pay for my sister Kathy to come for the funeral. Needless to say I got very angry with my dad over that. Not that I didn’t love my sister and it had been almost a year since I had seen her but I really wanted/needed my daddy there. Though I wasn’t very surprised as he had disappointed me many times in the 10 years since my parents had divorced (that’s probably 5 or more blog posts.) But there was nothing I could do. Kathy would arrive on Saturday evening. And Ron’s parents and brother John and sister Kathy would arrive on Sunday late afternoon.
We then called Adrian to explain the situation, made arrangements for the funeral on Monday morning at 11 and then called the mortuary to explain the change of plans. Guess they were used to people’s plans changing because it was not a problem.
Another long day had come to an end.
*The results of the autopsy showed that Royce’s brain had not developed the way it should have. The doctors believed that if he had lived he would have mentally always remained a new born but that physically he would have grown in size like a child. At times in the first 15 years or so after he died, sometimes I would look at Jamie and think “Lord you did know what you were doing (even though it hurt and still does at times) but how could I have ever taken care of newborn who was 5’9″ tall weighing 175 lbs or more.” Even though we miss Royce we are thankful he did not have to deal with a life that would have been filled with complications and problems.*
To be continued…
One response to “Part 3 Continued – August 11, 1977”
God always knows best, but many times it's hard for us to accept His decisions. What a heartbreaking story.