A casket so small

A casket so small (1)
My girlfriend lost her son this week.
He was 21 months old and his name is Sawyer.

It’s been a week of hell… And I’m sure the weeks and months to come won’t be much better.

Last Thursday, they went to the hospital because the baby was dehydrated.
Friday, the doctors told her he might have a horrible genetic condition.
Saturday morning, he died.

I walked in the hospital room early Saturday morning and watched my friend and her husband have to make decisions that no mommy and daddy should have to make.

Keep Sawyer attached to the breathing machine and have about 7 hours with him… Or take him off and have 2 hours with him but be able to hold him tight and cover him with kisses?

They chose to remove him from the machine.

Should they keep the monitors on and watch his heartbeat slow… Or turn them off and trust that they’d know when the time was getting close?

They chose to turn them off – To focus all their attention and love on their little boy.

I watched the nurses take his tiny footprints and hand prints. I watched people walk in the room and not know what to say.

I was one of those people.

There are zero words of comfort when you know your baby has just minutes left on earth.

I prayed with them, I hugged them, I let them talk.

I joined them in the Lord’s Prayer after the doctor walked in, felt for a pulse and found none.

I walked with them as they handed their baby over to the nurses for the final time.

I watched my friend collapse from exhaustion.

I watched her husband get mad at the world.

I hugged them goodbye – and told them I’d be there if they need anything.

And then I left. The urge to speed home and hold each of my babies was so strong.

As of this writing, it’s been 8 days since little Sawyer died – and things haven’t gotten any easier.

Is that stupid to say? I mean, of course things aren’t going to get easier. They just lost a child. A beautiful little boy – one of the happiest and most loved little boys on the face of the earth.

Throughout the week, I’ve tried to be there for my friend…

She had to tell her older 2 kids their brother is now with God.

She had to make funeral arrangements for her 21 month old son…

She had to choose a service, a funeral home… and a casket.

I have never seen a casket so small.

There SHOULDN’T be caskets that small.

She’s had to choose the pictures for her baby’s funeral.. the clothes he should be placed in… the music to play during the service.

I cannot imagine where she drew the strength.

I cannot imagine where she goes from here.

I cannot imagine what I can do to help her heal.

What do you say to a friend who has just lost a piece of her heart?

So many times this week, I’ve tried to put myself in her impossible position..

What would I want… What would I need?

I have a 19 month old daughter – What would I want more than anything if, God forbid, I would be in that position?

The answer, to me, is simple.

I would want her short life to mean something… And be remembered..

I would want people to help me find the balance between moving on in life… yet always remembering that my baby existed and will always be a part of my family.

So, that is what I will do for my friend.

And her beautiful baby boy.

Sawyer Robert Benson

Sawyer Robert Benson

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12 Responses to A casket so small

  1. Matt Southmayd March 24, 2015 at 5:05 pm #


    This was a beautifully written article and your sentiments reflect so well how many people that are close to Josh and Sue are feeling. For those of you who read this, we have set up a memorial fund for Sawyer. It has received amazing support thus far and if you would like to contribute, the link is below.


  2. Seussie March 24, 2015 at 11:08 pm #

    Whar a touching tribute to a beautiful little life lost. I cried from beginning to end– still am wiping tears for a baby and mother I never met. But I look down at my own infant son’s face and know how deep her sorrow must run. I wish you all healing and send love.

  3. Diana Usher March 24, 2015 at 11:28 pm #

    Beautiful words from a very good person. Please know from experience that you did more then most people do. You talked to her about her child.
    Thank you for that. We need more people like you in this world, so people like me don’t feel so alone with our grief.Our utterly unbearable grief….

  4. Gloria Sanders March 25, 2015 at 12:45 am #

    My throat tightened and tears filled my eyes as I read this. Memories gripped my heart as I recalled the day that my son and his wife lost their Ashleigh at 22 mos. a terrible drowning accident. There are no words to wrap around anyone going thru this. Friends and family just being there was such comfort. But then came the day when everyone is gone. The loneliness is so devastating. The only comfort is the presence of all the prayers reminding God to send peace to them. And then phone calls and cards special spoken I’m here for you. My daughter-in – law is an international speaker and has comforted many around the world with her story. Sharing is healing.
    My prayers are with this family.

  5. Kristi March 25, 2015 at 2:01 am #

    You are right. Caskets should not be that small. Somehow, the smaller they are, the heavier they feel. I wrote an article about walking with a friend through the loss of a child on a sister City Moms blog. Perhaps it will help. http://columbiasc.citymomsblog.com/walking-with-a-friend-through-the-loss-of-a-child/

  6. Shannon Vaccaro March 25, 2015 at 3:17 am #


    I am so sorry your friend lost her son, Sawyer. I will send prayers your way from Nebraska.

    From another mother who has lost a son, thank you for being such a wonderful friend to your friend.


  7. Viola Hartenstein March 25, 2015 at 1:12 pm #

    does the family have any kind of memorial fund set up? Please share the info if they do. There is a wonderful book that I received after my son died written by Joani Nelson Horchler & Robin Rice. The book is called SIDS & Infant Death Survival Guide.
    Your friend is a survivor, and she is suffering (in my opinion) from the worst kind of pain a human being can feel. A part of her died that day, and she will mourn him for the rest of her life. As time passes it will hurt less, but not all the time. Some days I wake up and feel like it happened just this morning, but over time you learn to cope.
    That book gives a lot of insight to friends of survivors as well.
    Didn’t realize this comment would be so long when I started writing it.
    My love and prayers!

  8. Oneta Hayes March 25, 2015 at 1:39 pm #

    Heart touching and beautifully written. I have just gone through a crucial period with my great granddaughter, two months old, when we had a crisis to face from a birth condition. Thank God the medical community was able to fix it. But sometimes it can’t be fixed. So sorry for your friend’s family. You sound like a compassionate person. May you be guided and blessed as you provide love and support to them.

  9. mindy March 26, 2015 at 11:06 am #

    I’m in you friends shoes. My beautiful 4 yr died in a freak drowning accident. 2 weeks later I’m still waiting for him to come wake me up at 4 in the morning so I feed him breakfast. No one and nothing makes me feel better so every morning I post one of his pictures. His smile always makes me smile. I’ll pray for your friend for healing.
    Loosing a child is unbearable. Stay strong.

  10. Kristina c. March 28, 2015 at 9:59 am #

    Wow that is a hard story to tell. I am sorry for the loss. I don’t know what i would do in that position. She is a strong woman. God bless her n her family.


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