Just over two months ago, my wife and I welcomed our fourth child and third son into our family. We named him Levi Richard Gibson - Levi because we love Hebrew names, and Richard after his maternal grandfather.
Everything was wonderful. He was a sweet, happy boy. Only fussed when he was hungry or needed a change. We had a great Halloween (Lisa thought up the cutest costume) and Thanksgiving too. Then he started smiling and laughing, and we loved seeing that beautiful toothless grin. As we moved towards Christmas, we picked out little gifts for Levi - binkies, a couple of outfits, stuff you get an infant.
Then, two days before Christmas, the unthinkable happened. He went into cardiac arrest. We called 911 and the paramedics were able to get him to the hospital in just a few minutes. We got there as soon as we could after making arrangements for the other three kids, and found a team of a dozen people working to save our son's life. Despite their best efforts for over two hours, he passed away.
Now, as we finalize plans for his funeral, we still can't believe what happened. It feels unreal, like a tv show or movie is playing instead of our lives.
But the last few days have not played out like a tv show or movie, at least not one I've seen. Instead of only being crushed by the loss of our little boy, we have also been richly blessed by the kindness, generosity, and compassion of many people. The compassion of others who have also lost children has helped us know that we will make it through this ok. Family, friends, coworkers, and complete strangers have surrounded us, put their arms around us, and helped us through these uncharted waters. They have helped make it possible to get everything in order to give Levi the funeral we feel he deserves.
Above all, thanks to the prayers of many people, we have felt the comfort of the Holy Ghost assuring us that Heavenly Father knows our pain, that He is with us, and that our little boy is ok with Him. We know he will always be our son, and we will see him again.
I miss my son more than words can express, and I know others are going through similar losses right now (Lisa's aunt passed away two days before Levi, and another family member miscarried the following day). But these losses are only temporary. As my family history research has shown me, every family suffers losses, it's how they react to them that differs. I hope that we can use these experiences to draw closer together, to treasure the time we have together, and be more patient and kind with each other. And we will keep Levi's memory alive so that our kids and grandkids will remember him. His stay on earth may have been brief, but I believe the impact of his life is only beginning to be felt, and will ripple onward for many years to come.