I have called you by your name; you are Mine. ISAIAH 43:1
When Greg and I were married in May of 2005, I never could have imagined the path God had for us within our first two years. I had no idea of the pain that would come our way, but also no idea how the faith within my heart would be enough to sustain me and cultivate my growth in the Lord. God was unfolding the rest of my life to be a testament to what faith in Him can accomplish.
In November of that year, Greg’s mother died after a terrible battle with cancer. I relied on the Lord for peace and understanding, asking Him to ease our pain. Four days later, we were elated to find out we were expecting our first child. We began making preparations immediately. The nursery was painted and clothing was purchased. We also purchased a copy of Guess How Much I Love You. Our little boy was showered with love even before his arrival. On July 10, 2006, Isaac Gregory Bush was born.
Having Isaac at home changed my life. Like many mothers, I just wanted to sit and hold him and breathe in his precious baby smell. Greg began reading Guess How Much I Love You to him every night. I remember holding the receiver to his tiny ear so Daddy could recite it to him when he was out of town. We even called Isaac our “Little Nutbrown Hare.” Life was good, and we were extremely blessed.
Isaac grew so fast. I was amazed by the new things he was doing everyday. I hated to leave him to return to work, but the transition was smooth. I was blessed to have a dear friend who was willing to keep him in her home.
‘He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death’ or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away. REVELATION 21:4 niv
On September 5, 2006, I received a phone call to inform me that Isaac had a fever and did not want to drink his bottle. I immediately left work to take him to the doctor. The doctor seemed to think he was fine but wanted to ensure that he did not become dehydrated. He sent us to the hospital where Isaac could be given fluids through an IV overnight. This was my worst nightmare, or so I thought.
I spent the night with Isaac and that little IV wrapped in my arms. We snuggled and cuddled until suddenly, something went terribly wrong. My only recollection is of a swarm of people and a nurse dragging me from the room. My son was suffering cardiac arrest. The world around me was a blur, but my prayer was clear. I began praying for the doctors, nurses, and paramedics who were on their way in a helicopter to airlift my sweet boy to a larger hospital.
We were in a waiting room at Greenville Memorial Hospital for what seemed like hours before a doctor explained all of the facts about Isaac’s condition. He prepared us for the worst. Our child was very, very sick. I spent the next 22 days holding him, caressing and kissing him the best I could around feeding tubes, a respirator, and IVs. Friends and family surrounded us. Our faith grew stronger as we prepared for God’s will to be revealed, knowing that, no matter the outcome, Isaac would be healed.
There were days when I couldn’t do anything but hold him and marvel at what a perfect child I had been given. It was during those times I refused visitors and MEGAN lives in Chester, SC. She’s a school teacher, loves photography, and adores her greatest earthly treasure...family. concentrated on memorizing Isaac’s features. I took in every “wild” hair on his lavender-scented head, every trace of his sweet countenance: his long eyelashes, button nose, and perfectly-formed lips.
There were ups and downs, but Isaac was not getting better. For a while he could breathe on his own, but the respirator was always needed again. When the doctors spoke of how Isaac might someday be able to go home, it would assuredly not be without a feeding tube, tracheotomy, and around-the-clock care. He would never roll over, blink his eyes, laugh, smile, say his first words, or any of the other things proving his sweet spirit still resided within his tiny body.
After much prayer, I knew God was preparing us to release Isaac to Him. On September 30, shortly before midnight, I summoned his nurse and asked that I be able to hold my baby with no restraints. She hugged us, shed tears with us, and gently removed every wire and tube from his tiny body.
That night, I held my child, unencumbered, as I did on the day of his birth. As I held him, I prayed God would make this journey as painless for Isaac as possible. Over the next few days I remember crying out to God, “Please, just take him now!” His breathing had become labored, and I was terrified he was suffering.
God heard my prayer, calmed my child, and allowed those last days to be ones of peace and memory making. We took Isaac all over the hospital in a little red wagon. We took him to “see” all of the fish in the aquarium and the flowers in the garden. The hospital chaplain even arranged for a dedication service to take place on the front lawn of the hospital. I asked a few friends and family to spread the word. My baby needed to feel loved.
Nothing could have prepared my heart for what I saw when we stepped out onto the front lawn that Thursday afternoon. The sun was shining, and hundreds of familiar faces greeted us.
God answered my prayer beyond my wildest expectations, but he wasn't finished yet.
He sent all of these people not only to pray for Isaac, but for us as well, for peace and understanding. The service was flawless, but what happened in its midst was unforgettable. God knew I needed some reassuring, and He sent it in the form of a single white feather. It simply floated down and landed right in front of me. I didn’t need to look up to see where it came from. I knew it had not come from our treeless surroundings, but from God. At that moment, I recognized Isaac as God’s child, entrusted to our care for a short while.
I was given three more days with Isaac, and they were the sweetest of my life. Then, for the final time, we put our child to rest with his favorite book. We read it to him, kissed his forehead, and told our “Little Nutbrown Hare” goodbye.
Any time I begin to doubt or question God’s loving plan for me, I envision that single white feather, now pressed in a small white Bible imprinted with Isaac’s name. I remember how God has been faithful in all moments of life. I live each day knowing that my faith in Christ is what pulled me through the releasing of my Isaac, who will forever live in my heart.
Since Isaac’s death, I’ve become mommy to his three brothers, Carsyn, Zeb, and in 2015, Greyson Isaiah, who completed our family. We thought it fitting to give him the name Isaiah because of the verse representative of that time in our lives. I have called you by your name; you are Mine (Isaiah 43:1).
In memory of our son, we began Isaac’s Christmas to cheer the children of Greenville Memorial Hospital on Christmas morning. As we make our way through the halls, we give away gifts donated by friends and family.
Originally published in 2013.
After 14 years, Isaac’s Christmas has expanded to all floors of Greenville Memorial that house children and to Spartanburg Regional as well. Greg and I have accepted new jobs within the past year and have found a new place to share our story and gather support. In addition to our regular Christmas prep crew, some new friends joined in for our traditional “sort and eat” night last year in preparation for Isaac’s Christmas. My heart was overwhelmed at the sight of all those people giving of their time to help us remember our sweet Isaac and to serve others. Our seasons have changed, but God remains faithful in everything. He is so, so good!
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lives in Chester, SC. She’s a school teacher, loves photography, and adores her greatest earthly treasure...family.