I am honored to share this week’s Real Story of Loss, Hope & Healing featuring Justine Fulton.
Justine, thank you for trusting us with your story. I am grateful for your bravery and your joy and your strong words of truth. Thank you for sharing Jase with us. He is precious.
TELL US ABOUT YOURSELF.
Hey Yall! My name is Justine and I am from College Station, TX. I am now a stay-at-home mommy to my daughter Caroline and our puppy girl Lulu. I love a good book, a cup of coffee any time of day and my family.
TELL US ABOUT YOUR LOSS.
One Friday while my husband and I were at work. Our sitter had texted us saying they just finished feeding my son, Jase. They burped Jase, swaddled him, and laid him down on his back with a binkie for his mid-morning nap. As I sat at my desk in my office a few moments later, I felt something telling me to check in on my son. As I pulled up the monitor I saw the sitter sitting on the nursery rocking chair, holding my son in their arms. They were on the phone with 911 saying “his lips are blue and he’s not breathing”. This can’t be happening I thought. I rushed out of the office and made my way home, to my baby. I called my husband and explained what I saw and that he needed to make his way home too. As I was driving I sat my phone on the mount. Watching on the horror that would unfold. The sitter performing CPR while trying to contain my 3 year old. Shouting at my daughter, Caroline, to stay in her room. Praying that the ambulance would arrive as soon as possible to revive my son. I was driving like a mad-woman to get to my children, to my son. Praying, that this wasn’t it. I saw the EMT’s finally arrive, the sitter yelled at my 3 year old to let them in and I listened intently as they took over for one of them to say there was a pulse or a breath. Some indicator that he would be okay. At 10:54am an EMT said no pulse no breath.
As they placed my son into the ambulance, the Fire Chief called me and instructed me to meet them at the hospital. I arrived before them and waited in agony. Alone. Praying this wasn’t true. My husband worked an hour and a half from the hospital and he was making his way as quickly as possible. Finally, they arrived with my son and brought him directly into the ER. I saw his little body laid on the stretcher. I went into the room with them and watched. Watched the staff try to fight the inevitable. I began singing to my son, his favorite song. The presiding doctor looked at me with pity, he didn’t say a word but I knew what he was thinking. “He’s not coming back.” At 11:39am, his time of death was called.
SIDS had taken his life. Jase was given to us by God, a gift that I truly treasure. Through his life, God has been the center of it all. God was with us in the delivery room as ‘Oceans’ by Hillsong United came over the speakers. He was in my happy boy, in his giggles and the love that filled eyes. God was with Jase when he died. Even on the day of his burial, through the tears and pain in my heart, God gave a peace that I cannot explain. A peace that made my soul “lie down in green pastures..beside quiet waters”. To trust him while in my darkest shadow.
WHAT SURPRISED YOU MOST ABOUT GRIEF?
That you will experience daily what feels like a “sword that will pierce your soul” (Luke 2:35). Although, through that pain, God has given me the gift of peace and so much grace. I know that I am loved and that my son is with our Savior. I have faith that I will see my son. I will hold him again. I will get to love on him, not in this world or in this earthly body, but in Heaven and then on the new earth. Living and worshiping our God in all his splendor. By Christ and all he has done, I have hope. By God I have faith because his word is true and he keeps his promises.
To all the women that are suffering this pain, a pain that pierces your soul, know that God has a “place prepared for you” (Revelations 12:6). I am praying for you, you and your sweet baby are loved.
What advice would you give to a friend who is grieving?
Don’t be afraid to reach out! Our emotions are so raw and we feel so isolated. Our home is quiet, our arms are empty, and gosh can those physical and emotional hurts drag us under. I know grief is scary to navigate, especially if you’ve never gone through it. But you can’t go wrong if you keep love your priority. We need to know that we are not alone, that our hurt is not forgotten and neither are our babies. So call, text, write letters, send or comment on pictures of their baby that you love. Above all, pray my sweet friend. Pray for your friend and pray that the Holy Spirit can move through you to do God’s work during this dark time.
What resources have been encouraging or helpful?
Because my grief is so new, I am very cautious as to what I read. First and foremost I start each day with scripture. The Truth. That will be your rod and staff for the days to come.
- The Morning has wonderful resources, it is so helpful in a season where you can feel so isolated to be reminded that you my sweet friend are not alone.
- A few books that I’ve read that I’ve found have wonderful perspective:
What verses have been encouraging or comforting?
Where do I begin? There are so many wonderful, life-giving verses. Instead I’ll give you my progression through Scripture since the day I lost my son. I read the following books in this order, however, please feel free to move through scripture however you feel God is calling you to.
- 2 Corinthians
- 1 Samuel
- Jeremiah (I’m currently working through this book and am planning on finishing the books of the prophets.)
What encouragement would you give to a grieving mom?
First, I am so, so truly sorry for what you are going through. From the bottom of my heart we are with you and you are not alone. And second, nothing I can ever say will ever make anything your going through better. Instead I offer you encouragement to turn to God’s word, to scripture. Meditate on his living word, daily.
Third, God sees your pain and each tear. He is with you, right now, while you pray. And one day He will “swallow up death forever” and “wipe away the tears from all faces” (Isaiah 25:8).