crowded room


At this point, four years ago, I guess he’d have been in the PICU at Vanderbilt Children’s Hospital, hooked up to a bazillion tubes, with various doctors lining up for their turn with him.

We were hearing things like very injured little boy and pray for a miracle and don’t lose hope.  And later, things like feeding tube and colostomy bag and unable to speak.

It was horrifying, the most nightmarish experience I have ever had.  I know there are Worse Things out there in this big world, but this was the Worst Thing Imaginable for me.  (And No, universe, that was NOT a challenge to come up with something to top it, thankyouverymuch.)

He didn’t experience any bodily stuff in the hospital, though, which was a bit of a blessing.  We tried to cling to hope, but to be honest, I didn’t have much.  I saw his eyes before I tried to revive him, and he wasn’t behind them.  And he never came back.

After the Last Big Talk with the Medical Team, my mother and her husband stayed behind to see his body off for the organ harvesting (sigh…) and Daddy J and I wanted to say our last goodbyes and get home to the big boys, who were, obviously, very distraught and missing us.  The nurses put his body in my arms before we left for the very last time, and it was… repulsive.  It was a dead thing, a lifeless mass, a mockery of his sweet self.  I held his body for a few seconds, out of some vague sense of propriety, then had the nurses take it away.

***edited to add:  I wanted to clarify that my emotional response to holding his body after he was no longer alive was MY issue, and in no way am I saying that anyone else in my position would (or should) feel the same way.  Mamas of stillborn babies, especially, would (I imagine) feel very differently: their only glimpse of their child would be after he or she had passed.  And I can imagine people NOT being repulsed whatsoever, but remembering the person they loved and treasuring those last moments with that very familiar and beloved body before it’s taken away.


Some time later, a friend told me that she had called some spiritual/intuitive people she knew as soon as she heard about the accident, before she came to the hospital.  They told her that Yes, indeed, he was not in his body and wasn’t going to come back to it.  One woman told her that his hospital room was filled to the brim with angels, crowded in tight, and that it was (for them) a joyful, wonderful time.  She said that Ward was there, too, with the angels, and that he was doing just fine.

I cling to that image, that angel-crowded room we occupied.  I don’t know how the whole thing works, but I like the notion that prayer sends angels to be with the person for whom you pray.  They go off like a shot to offer what comfort they can, and the more prayers there are, the more angels pack in around a person in pain.

I think we had a lot around us in those early months.  There were times that I felt cushioned and uplifted, and I attribute that to the angels and the people who sent them to us.

Thank you.

19 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Erin
    Jul 27, 2009 @ 13:51:08


    Teary eyed. But love the image of the room crowded with angels. When I pray for someone, I always ask for angels to be sent. Nice to know that it’s exactly what happens. Sending you an angel with a warm hug.

  2. Wendy
    Jul 27, 2009 @ 15:00:21

    What a beautiful way to think of it.

    You write about this with such grace. I’m in tears.

  3. Erika
    Jul 27, 2009 @ 18:39:06


  4. Auntie Sue
    Jul 27, 2009 @ 23:07:49

    No one who knew and loved Ward (and if you knew him, you loved him) doubts for one minute that the angels were happy to have him join them in laughter and joy and play that will continue forever.

  5. thisbumpyjourney
    Jul 28, 2009 @ 00:51:56

    Thanks, Erin, Wendy, Erika, and Sue. We’re feeling remarkably calm and good tonight. Rainbow is such a cuddly little doll – I almost feel selfish having his sweetness around, but I sure appreciate it.

  6. Cousin betsytant
    Jul 28, 2009 @ 05:19:28

    Ward Still warms my heart and brings me peace every time I think of him. I know that he is singing a joyful song of thanksgiving for Rainbow and the happiness he has brought everyone. We love you all.

  7. Debra
    Jul 28, 2009 @ 12:48:40

    Tears. Hugs.

  8. ckmarler
    Jul 28, 2009 @ 13:16:47

    Thinking of your family. Blessed are the angels.

  9. Katie
    Jul 28, 2009 @ 14:09:03

    Julie- You are in my thoughts today. You, James, and your four beautiful boys are loved by so many people, and all of us are sending that love your way.


  10. Erika
    Jul 28, 2009 @ 21:10:54

    dropping by to let you know that you are in my thoughts, today…holding you deep in the quiet sanctuary of my heart.

  11. MG
    Jul 29, 2009 @ 03:09:58

    Praying for more angels to surround you during this time of remembrance.

  12. charmarie221
    Jul 29, 2009 @ 03:40:16

    I don’t even know what to say. Just thinking of you and all of your boys on this most emotional day.

  13. Suzie
    Jul 29, 2009 @ 06:45:36

    Big hugs and warm thoughts for you and yours. Your post brought tears to my eyes. I’ve come from Katie’s blog (not for the first time) and wanted you to know that you’re thought of even by people you don’t know. My heart continues to go out to you.

  14. Meagan Francis
    Jul 29, 2009 @ 13:35:55

    Came over here from Katie’s blog. I remember reading about Ward four years ago, and think of you from time to time. This was a very touching post, and I also like the image of angels crowding in to be with Ward and your family. Take care.

  15. muffy
    Jul 29, 2009 @ 18:01:10

    miss julie —

    hi, my name is muffy bolding and i am a writer in los angeles. i was first told about ward and your family by your cousin katie granju — and was recently reminded of this sad anniversary by her, as well. i just wanted to drop by and let you know that though i never knew ward or your family, that i think of your son often — needless to say, his beautiful face and his story are not an easy one to forget. in fact, whenever i tell your story, i always start it off by saying just exactly how extraordinarily beautiful he truly is: “no, really…you don’t understand. there are LOTS of gorgeous, ethereal children in the world — this little guy was BEYOND gorgeous and ethereal! i have NEVER in my life seen a face like his!” and then when i pull a picture of his sweet little face and curly blonde head up on the computer, they always SWOOOON.


    i just want you to know that he and his story have touched and continue to touch many, many more people than you will ever know. as a mama of three myself, i send much love and many thoughts of sweet healing your way. ward is surely surrounded by angels now — and he watches over you and his father and brothers and waits for the time when you will all be together again…and you WILL all be together again. thank you so much for sharing ward with the world — through your words, he will live on here forever. our hearts are bursting with him and the legacy of light and love that he leaves behind — and we never even knew him.


  16. thisbumpyjourney
    Jul 29, 2009 @ 18:35:54

    Wow, what an amazing outpouring of support. Thank you all so very much. It’s wonderful to think that people that never met him have been touched by his life in a positive way. And thank you so much for the continued prayers and blessings.

  17. Mary in Atl
    Jul 30, 2009 @ 02:03:05

    You are in our thoughts and prayers.

  18. Jane
    Aug 01, 2009 @ 02:27:49

    Thinking of you. Around this time of year is my sad time as well.

    You are right. He was not in that earthly vessel. Don’t go back there.
    Go outside and feel the sun on your face. That’s where he is.

  19. Trackback: mamapundit » Blog Archive » Baby G meets her great grandmother

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