Justin Ryker Swick

Justin Ryker Swick

Monday, February 20, 2012

That Dreadful Day--It is well with my soul

I know that I already posted today, but after writing that blog, talking to another mommy whose baby passed away due to SIDS, and reading other blog postings from parents who have had similar experiences; I realized that I have never actually shared our story of "That Dreadful Day" on my blog.  It is in Justin's Jesus, but I know a lot of you do not have access to the book and have seen it.  At one point I had considered taking that part out of the book completely, thinking that it was too intimate and heartbreaking, and it is, but then again it is our story, the very tragic part of our story, but our story none the less and keeping it out of a book, or off a blog, wouldn't have changed the story one way or another.  I hope that other parents who read this find peace in knowing that their circumstance was not their "fault" just as Justin's passing was not ours.  I also want to let parents know that it is okay to ask God questions.  I had two questions I asked after Justin went to be with Jesus, the first one was, "Why give me Justin if you just wanted him back so soon?"  He answered that with the poem, "Why God Gave Me You", my other question I asked was that he would "show me a purpose for all of this, and let it be something BIG" He answers that daily!  Through our story, through the blog, through the book, and just in little daily things.  Just this weekend I had a message from one of my sisters telling me to go look at a couple of pages on facebook, both of which were girls I had never heard of.  Once I clicked on their pages, there it was, right in front of me, one of my own blog postings and touching words they had said about it. That was really cool!  So mommies and daddies, God hears our prayers, He is big enough to handle our questions, and if we are patient and open enough to listen to him, you will get your answers.  Have faith! :)  Here is a little bit of "That Dreadful Day"  I can't post all of it, because it gets to be really long.  Please remember though as you read this, the entire outcome of this situation.  Yes this was a horrible day,  a day I didn't want to live, a day I never want to go back to, but God has carried us through it, we will hold our baby in our arms in due time, and God has given us peace in knowing where he is, that he is better than okay, he is with his perfect maker in a paradise we can't even began to imagine.  He visits me in my dreams, I can still snuggle with his blanket, and I still have my "photograph from Heaven" it is all well with my soul!

That Dreadful Day
One night Justin had wakened at 2 a.m.  He had been sleeping through the night, so this was a little out of the ordinary.  I picked him up and he sleepily opened his eyes, looked at me, snuggled into my chest, and fell back asleep.  Justin had the softest baby hair, and I just loved to run my face across it as I cradled him in my arms.  I told him that night, “Baby, I could just snuggle you forever! I never want to let you go.”  I contemplated letting Justin sleep with me and my husband, but knowing the risks we decided we’d better not, and thought that none of us would get any sleep. 

Ryan took Justin upstairs and laid him in his crib.  By this time Justin knew how to roll over, and was loud enough that we were able to hear him when he cried.  When Ryan had came to bed, he told me that Riley was sleeping in Jacob’s bed.  Jacob’s bed is in the same room as Justin’s crib. Riley does NOT sleep in Jacob’s bed except when we have company and someone needs to use his bed, and he threw a fit every time that we made him.  Earlier that night I had tucked Riley and Jacob into Riley’s bed.  We said our prayers, read a few stories, and sang a couple songs.  “Jesus Loves Me” was one of those songs.  When I went downstairs, they were still both in Riley’s bed.  It seemed really weird to me that Riley would get up and go sleep in Jacob’s bed, but I pushed it out of my mind and went to bed anyway.

Sometime really early in the morning Jacob came down and climbed into bed with us.  It had been awhile since he had last done this, so I rolled over to let him sleep in our bed.  We both dozed off and on for the rest of the morning.  Ryan’s alarm clock didn’t go off that morning, so when he woke up and realized that he had overslept, he jumped up and frantically got ready for work. 

Jacob and Riley, (who were now on the couch) both got up around this time also and asked for some cereal.  With Ryan in such a hurry, I got the boys’ breakfast and went up to check on Justin, who seemed to be sleeping awfully late.  Usually Ryan would check on Justin as soon as he got up, again because I was always scared that I would get up there to find something wrong with him and I wouldn’t be able to handle that, once again letting fear control my actions. 

That morning, my worst nightmare and biggest fear came true.  I walked over to Justin’s crib, and it looked like there was just a blanket lying there.  I felt for him, pulled the blanket off and found my baby with his eyes closed; he was not breathing.  Ryan had given me a kiss goodbye as I was walking up to check on Justin, and I started hysterically screaming his name.  As I ran down the stairs I willed Justin to wake up, to start breathing, and in the back of my mind I remember hoping to God that Ryan hadn’t left yet.  

Ryan met me at the bottom of the stairs in a panic at the sounds of my screaming.  In a breathless, hysterical, fit I handed Justin, warm and limp, to Ryan screaming that he wasn’t breathing and that our baby was dead. I kept screaming over and over, “I knew we shouldn’t have put him to bed last night!” Ryan took Justin, said we needed to do CPR and laid Justin on the table.  The older boys came in, surprisingly calm and Riley asked, “What’s wrong with Justin, Mommy?” Trying to catch my breath while still hysterical, I told him the first thing that came to my mind, “I think Justin has gone to heaven to be with Jesus, baby.”  “I want to go too, Mommy.” was his reply.  “No, Riley, we can’t do that right now.”

A lot of the next few minutes (although they seemed like hours) are a bit fuzzy.  I had called 911, and my mother. The emergency medical technicians (EMTs) were on their way and at some point I had taken over doing CPR on Justin.  One thing that happened though, I remember clear as day.  When I first found Justin in his crib, his eyes were closed, as they were when I started CPR.  I know that muscles twitch, but I swear he opened one little eye, just a bit, and looked straight at me as if he was getting one last look at his mommy and wanted me to know that he was okay.


  1. Mary, you are a very courageous person for being able to share the events of what took place that day. It is a very painful thing to remember but as I have found it makes you that much stronger to share your story. I know after it happened to me it gave me a piece of mind to read others storys after my experience. It help me to know that others had gone through exactly what I had and I hope others that read your story and have never been through our experience gain knowledge. I know SIDS has no explanation but I don't think other truely get it. I hope you book helps those who really need it.

  2. Thank you Melissa, I probably would not have thought to even share it on my blog, had I not talked to you. I hope you are doing well, and thank you for everything. I am really excited to read your blog and your journey through a tragedy such as this also. We are always here for you! :) Hope you are having a good day today. <3 ya!