Day 6- Justin’s Last Journey; Home to be with the Lord

Unbelievably long night. Almost constant intervention from the nurses and Dr to keep Justin stable. Despite their enormous efforts he is not responding as desired to either the conventional or high frequency ventilator. Blood Oxygen is mostly in the 50 and 60’s occasionally going over 70 and 80 and many times lower. The Dr. noticed his stomach had inflated so they took another x-ray which showed his chest and abdomen were filling with air again. Either the tube that was placed yesterday morning was blocked or it could not keep up with the amount of air leaking. Almost hourly they had to manually extract the extra air to keep the pressure off his lungs.

Jess got to hold him for the first time around 5am but it was brief due to the equipment not being as functional outside of his isolet. Afterwards Jess and I held his hands and head and prayed and cried over him.









6:00 They are about to start his second blood transfusion since he was born.

6:30 Dr. came in to tell us we did not have long. We desperately wanted our families to be able to see Justin one more time and asked if it was possible to keep him going until noon to allow time for everyone to get to the hospital. We wanted Andrew to have a chance to meet his brother so Dan called his parents who were watching Andrew to come as soon as they could. Of course we wanted Dan’s parent to be able to say goodbye also. Jess’s Mom and Sister Erin were on their way home from out of state and not expected until around noon. Dr said he would do all he could to make that happen but was not optimistic he would last that long.

6:40 Dr. came back and said Justin’s stats were falling fast and we only had minutes and asked if we wanted to hold him at the end. We said we did so Jess and I pulled up chairs next to each other and waited for the nurses to remove most of the equipment he was attached to so we could hold him more freely. All they left was his pain medicine and ventilator. Together we were able to hold him, kiss him and speak comfort to him.


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7am Our precious little boy passed from our arms into Jesus’s. His pain and suffering was over. In Mathew 19:14 Jesus says “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder then, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.” The only comfort we could cling to was knowing he is with the Lord and one day we will see each other again. If you are reading this and do not have the peace that can only come from a personal relationship with Jesus PLEASE speak to someone. The hurt we are feeling over the loss of our child is not magically gone because we are born again Christians, if fact we cannot imagine being in more pain that we are right now but I don’t know how we could cope with the hopelessness we would be feeling not knowing where our little child is and not knowing that we will see him again. Lots of people have asked us if they can do anything: well, if you do not have this peace there is. Seek out God, go to church, read a scripture, talk to us or someone you know that is saved. I beg you, even if you do it just to appease us, please do one of the things mentioned in the previous sentence.

After the dust had settled the nurse was able to remove anything else still on Justin and we were able to give him a bath. We wanted him to be free of the equipment that kept him alive but also was a reminder of his struggle. We dressed him and held him.

Over the next several hours our families were able to be with us and say goodbye to Justin. We cannot thank them enough for the comfort they brought especially Matt and Kristin (Jess’s sister and brother-in-law) who were with us the whole night through the end. Our parents have also been overwhelmingly supportive, generous and helpful in caring for our dog, Casey, and our little energetic 20 month old son Andy. Andy has helped us to smile after he arrived at the hospital. He is so very precious to us and a little ray of sunshine during our difficult time. One of the reasons we are making the time to write this is so someday he can know who his brother was and remember how strong and brave he was.

Justin had a strong heart, though all the struggles he faced. All the doctors that examined him, even before birth told us that his heart was strong. We know the Lord gave him a strong heart so he could be with us for the short time we had him.
Thank you Jesus for the time you gave us with your precious child, we will never forget him; he will always be a part of our lives. And Justin, our “Righteous Overcomer”, we’ll see you soon.


7 Responses so far »

  1. 1

    Deanna said,

    Jess and Dan,

    I can’t begin to tell you how sorry I am for your loss. I’ve been praying for all of you for the last few weeks and will continue to pray, only not for Justin’s healing but for yours.

    I pray that you feel God’s presence all around you at this devastating time.


  2. 2

    Rachael Miller said,

    Thank you so much for sharing your story. I am in awe of your strength, courage, and transparency-you are both the ones that gave Justin his BIG heart.
    Thank you Jesus for Justin. Thank you for his lovely family. Please give them peace and comfort as they mourn the loss of his precious life.
    Jeremiah 29:11-14a “For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope. Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will hear you. You will seek me and find me, when you seek me with all your heart. I will be found by you, declares the Lord…”

  3. 3

    Dan and Jessica, I cannot even begin to express my condolences for the loss of Justin. Thank you for allowing me a chance to meet him and be a part of his very short life here on earth. I love you guys.


  4. 4

    jeremiah said,

    I admire how vulnerable you two have made yourselves in sharing Justin’s story and this miracle in your life. I know that you two have learned much from this experience. I believe that your openness will no doubt be a source of inspiration for people in your world who may have to travel a similar road. Your life is a beacon of faith, hope and love in a sometimes cruel and unusual world. God’s grace and loving kindness to you now and always as you learn to live life anew.

  5. 5

    Lisa Smith said,

    Dear Jess and Dan,
    I’ve been praying for little Justin long before I knew his name :). You were blessed with this special child from God who had a short but very meaningful and important life. I know many who heard the Gospel because of his struggles may meet him one day in heaven. It is with joy I say that both of you glorify our Lord and Savior and have been such an inspiration through all of this. Your strength, courage and faith through this time is a blessing to all of us who witness it. You have exhibited grace and peace through one of life’s hardest situations. I’ll continue to pray for you all in the days to come as you mourn little Justin. I can picture him in Jesus’ arms and I’m pretty sure I can see Pastor Mellish there with him too! God bless, with much love, Lisa & fam

  6. 6

    Lloyd n' Adena Heckert said,

    We are so overwhelmed with the heartbreaking loss of your precious baby son. Your blog is a wonderful memoir for both you and Andy – May God bless you for sharing and the wonderful witnessing of the love of Jesus Christ!!!

  7. 7

    Elma said,

    Hi Jess and Dan, just want to tell u, Croatia is with u and ur little babyboy…god bless him….
    Elma (Stevens wife)….

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