Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Luke Jordan September 2, 1981-November 2, 1981

Sorry, this is such a blurry picture, it's before digital times and
is a picture of a picture.


He was the most beautiful baby I'd ever seen. He was born and within the week, he was rushed off to the Minneapolis Children's Hospital. He is my brother. My mother is a diabetic, and in those times, the doctors kept the diabetic patients in for about a week, so his first week was in the hospital he was born in, then off to Minneapolis Children's. He was born with a hole in his heart (the size of a dime) and a heart murmur.


I just finished reading "Broken and Blessed A Life Story" by Catherine Adamkiewicz. This was a really, really good book. I love the last chapter, the way it ends. I love why she named her blog what she named it. I love the details she listed. I went through my brother's death as a sister. It was good to hear her voice as a mother. It brought back so many things that I'd forgotten. Things that perfectly timed, I should remember. He is a Saint, after all, and this is his birthday. One of his feast days, the other being the day he went to Heaven.


Luke ended up having 5 surgeries. 3 major and 2 minor. (minor? How can anything be minor with a baby?) Eventually he was supposed to have open heart surgery around age 2. Already his little body was covered in scars from the surgeries from front to back. He was at the Children's hospital for 6 weeks. We got to know the nurses and the doctors. We had our favorites. Or I should say, my mom and dad did. They became family. They understood what no one else could at that time. We lived about 90 miles from the hospital, so my parents would wait til we came home from school and leave for the evenings. I was in charge of watching my little sister. (She was 3 at the time,I guess my brother was on his own, he was only a year younger than me) I cooked, cleaned, helped in any way I could. We were able to go see Luke on weekends. I remember one of my teachers calling my mom and asking if something was going on, because my grades had slipped. Ms. Snyder, she was actually one of my favorite teachers of all time!


Luke was Baptized on my 12th birthday, when he was 1 week old. I remember my grandma and grandpa coming over to visit me on my birthday, and my parents being at the hospital getting him baptized. I remember wanting to be there and not wanting to celebrate a dumb birthday when there were much more important things going on.


He pulled through it all. He had a teddy bear that had on a shirt that read "Little Tough Guy" so that is what we called him. Little tough guy, he pulled through every surgery. He fought. He was so beautiful. His life was full of pain, I'm sure. But, he finally pulled through and we were able to take him home!! He was around 7 weeks old. I remember that feeling of just relief, of finally being able to take him home. Of finally having him to ourselves. I remember my mom making us kids go out on Halloween, I think to have some normalcy. But it felt weird, I wanted to be home with him. I wanted to be there.


Then, on November 2nd, All Souls Day, early in the morning, he had a heart attack. My parents called an ambulance and my dad tried to administer CPR. I remember it being around 6am. My little sister was still sleeping, she missed it all. She was so little, she is also deaf, so she slept soundly through it. Thank goodness, it would have been hard for her to understand. Although, I remember her looking at his bassinet afterward, not understanding why he wasn't there. I stood on the front steps in my jammies waiting for the ambulance, while my dad tried to do CPR. My parents were crying and yelling "Come on Luke!" "You can make it!" "Breathe!!" I was crying, pacing and praying Hail Mary's nonstop.


First, the police got there and parked in front of our house and just sat there. I was hysterical at this point waving and yelling "This is the house!" What was he waiting for? I still have no idea what he was doing to this day. (one of those little details hard to forget) We lived in town, the ambulance could easily find us. The ambulance drove up and then the police officer raced in ahead of them and took over for my dad. The ambulance then took Luke away with my parents following. They weren't gone long, maybe a little over an hour. When they came home, my parents and we all just cried in the living room. It was the first time I saw my dad cry.


At the time, I couldn't understand why God didn't take me instead of an innocent little baby. Why did God let me live? I wanted to die. I would have died so my mom could have her baby. I felt this way for many years. I really believed God should have taken me instead. I'd already lived 12 years, why couldn't God just let Luke live and take me?


For years after, I remember every time my mom would leave, I would go in her room and take out Luke's box and smell all his clothes and blankets. For a long time, they smelled like him.


Luke's life had purpose. At the funeral, there were some women in the choir that between the 4 of them, had 12 babies that they had lost. Not one of them was able to have a funeral or service for their children. It just was not done in their time. They told my mom when they saw the little white casket coming down the isle, they were able to bury their babies with him. This was very comforting to my mom.


Because of Luke, The Minneapolis Children's Hospital made it mandatory for parents to learn CPR before leaving the hospital with their child. It was not my dad's fault, they just did not know how to administer CPR to a baby and the hospital realized how important this might be for future children.


Having had 4 c-sections, I have been blessed to have the opportunity to pick 3 of the birthdates of my children. Because of Luke, I chose this date 4 years ago when "Mary Hannah" was born. She was born on a special day. The feast day of a great little Saint. Along with the sadness, there is joy. Unending joy. Joy that is waiting for us.


Saint Luke, Pray for us.

9 comments:

  1. Oh Jamie!! I am so sorry!! That must have been so hard for you and your parents. Thanks be to God he was baptized. What a consolation that must be. I know when I am sad and upset regarding the babies we have lost in our family (my own son, who was a couple hours old, and then just this summer my nephew who was 2 months old like your brother) it is comforting to know that they never ever made an act that was in any way offensive to God! It is still hard though, but you are right, even with the sadness there is joy! Thank you for sharing this story! (I'm going to have to check out that book sometime.) God Bless!

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  2. What a lovely testimony to life and healing.

    God loves you!

    *thanks for making me appreciate this day He's given me.

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  3. Jamie, that was a loving tribute. You are so blessed to have such a wonderful saint watching over you. I remember the night my dad died. It's been 35 years and I still hear those ambulance sirens. Thank you for sharing.

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  4. Through your tears, I know you wrote this, Jamie. Through my tears, I read about your sweet brother. You loved him so much, and he is loving you back with the perfect love of a Saint.

    He is with his Heavenly Father, with my Gabriel, my brother, and now my mom. And they have no tears but tears of joy to mingle with our tears of rememberance and sorrow.

    May all of the the Holy Saints pray for us now and always - we love and miss you!
    Love and prayers,
    Sarah

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  5. What bitter sweetness there is to life. So many "why's?" we hold in our hearts till the day we enter heaven. My great uncle once put it, "When I meet God, I am going to ask him 'What the hell was that all about?"

    I am so sorry that you have lost such a beautiful loved one. I am so happy that you can share the joys along with the tears. Luke will not be forgotten.

    Also, a Happy Birthday to "Mary!" Send her our love!

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  6. Thank you for sharing that story about your brother. You were at such an impressionable age. The "why's" in life are so hard.

    I feel for your parents.

    You are blessed to have a brother in heaven watching over you.

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  7. Jamie, thank you so much for sharing your thoughts about Broken and Blessed, and about your dear brother. (My youngest son is named Luke, by the way!)
    My Rachel is 13 years older than my Luke. Hearing your story from the point-of-view of a sister was helpful to me. Often I think about the suffering that my children went through losing their baby sister, and it just overwhelms me with sorrow.
    In some mysterious way I know we are connected through these precious little ones. I know they are smiling down on us today, praying for us!
    Thank you, Jamie. I'm so glad we've "met."

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  8. Jaime Jo, my heart broke reading your beautiful tribute to your brother, Little Saint Luke. Your mother and father and you and your siblings must have suffered such grief and sadness. All your descriptions of what you did ... all showed the love you have for your brother. What a beautiful beautiful cross. Thank you for sharing.

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  9. This made me cry. I remember your sweet baby brother Luke. I know I will never forget his tiny little casket. It was so sad. Now I am even more heartbroken reading this as a mom. The pain your parents must have gone through...Our only comfort is knowing that he is in the hands of our Lord. Hugs to you and your family.

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