Yesterday a new friend joined you in Heaven. His family, friends, and community, including your dad and I, are mourning the loss of another vibrant soul taken from us too soon. We just can’t understand why you, Levi, and so many others go home before we do. But we know that particular understanding is for another day.
When I got the message that Levi went to be with the Lord, I burst into tears. I cried for his mom and dad, I cried for his brother, I cried for you, for me, for our families and communities. My soul cried out in a way that I can only describe as a deep longing for Heaven. I called your dad and he cried too. Your sisters spoke fondly of Levi and his big brother Elijah and reminded us of the times they made Levi giggle in his stroller at church.
Our hearts break for our friends. Being on the other side of a SIDS loss, having suffered one ourselves, is complicated. As our friends were going through their investigation, meeting with the Medical Examiner, and saying goodbye to Levi, I was vividly remembering what that felt like for us. I prayed incessantly that their experience be showered in God’s light and that it was better than what we went through. I heard, later that day, that my prayers were answered. This sweet family was treated with the love, respect, and dignity that all grieving parents deserve.
I felt and still feel so helpless. I’ve been in their situation before. I should know what to do, what to say, how to feel…but I don’t. All I know is what your dad and I needed at the time, what we appreciated at the time, but this isn’t about us, it’s about them, it’s about their loss.
Last night at the prayer circle dedicated to this family I watched as God’s heart beat in the flesh. Each hand that lifted, each foot that stepped, each mouth that spoke and sang out in praise was God manifesting himself in us. If people don’t believe in God or don’t believe that God is good, I would implore them to watch what God has already done and is going to do for the Fiskewold’s. They would see kindness, love, and compassion that they never knew existed. They might tell themselves that these things only happen to families like ours or the Fiskewold’s, but they would be wrong. God is for all of us!
God is calling out to us, the friends, family, and community of Bill, Ami, and Elijah to help them pick up the pieces of their shattered hearts, to show them that God is so good, to allow them to see God in us!
I learned so much when you died, Leo. Watching the Fiskewold’s go through this reminds me of things that I thought I had healed from. It brings up old feelings and I knew, the moment I started remembering the night you died, that God has given me the chance to put my grief in perspective and to move some things that I had put away in the wrong places. But this isn’t about me…it’s about them.
Love you forever and ever,
Friends of Bill, Ami, and Elijah,
So many of you have reached out to Zach and I for guidance and we are so honored that you have done that. It is a true testament to how far we have come in our grief journey. We have such a long way to go but are happy to share what worked for us, not knowing if it would help Bill & Ami.
We would lay down almost anything to help out the Fiskewold’s. Our hearts break with theirs for their loss and for ours too. Watching you all come together the way you did yesterday and the way I know you will in the next few weeks, reminds me of how super blessed we all are to call Journey our home.
Be gentle, friends. At this time, Zach and I were feeling like life was utterly impossible. We knew God had his hands on us, but the weight of the sorrow of losing our boy felt like a million pounds. Having friends constantly coming by to pray with us, to speak our son’s name, to remind us that he will never EVER be forgotten, to bring us meals, to help with picture boards for the funeral, to bring by cards, to make donations to the funeral, all of this brought us great joy and allowed us to share our million pound weight with our friends so that we could survive another hour without our son.
We cried a sea of tears for our son and our friends, family, and community never let our tears hit the floor. We were always being lifted up by you and by God.
Let’s continue lifting these guys up. Let’s cry with them, let’s help them, let’s listen without speaking, without judgement, let’s forgive them when their hearts are too heavy to carry our burdens, let’s walk through the valley of shadows with them. Their faith is rock solid, but when a heart is broken open the way ours was, the way that theirs has been, darkness has its way of trying to creep in. Let’s shine so brightly that nary a shadow could be cast on the wall.
Let us surround this family with love today, in a month, in a year, forever. This pain will never go away. They will never “move on” as people would come to expect in the next years. The pain becomes part of who they are, part of their new normal. It will become tolerable, but it will never go away. A piece of their heart, their hopes, their dreams, their plan…it’s gone. Let’s help them build a foundation upon which they can build anew, a revised life that includes Levi’s memory, that includes their pain and heartbreak, and encompasses God’s love in every molecule of its structure.
So when the meal train is over and their refrigerator is empty, when the funeral has passed, when they move to a new home, a new job, a new whatever, let’s always be there to pray with them or for them, to remind them that Levi was not just a beautiful dream. He touched our lives and changed our world for the better.
Prayers for peace for the Fiskewold family,
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Sudden Infant Death (SIDS) was ruled out because he was already 15 months old. His death was not Sudden. It was caused by an Upper Respiratory Infection. This doesn’t make it any less tragic, though.
You’re right, it’s no less tragic. The death of a child is devastating no matter the cause. We still pray for you guys every day and my family remains by your side in all of this. Blessings and love to you,
Thank you for your kind words, Angela.