My worst nightmare confirmed

No one has ever understood my fear of getting the autopsy results back. People usually say, “Don’t you want to know? If it were me, I would call everyday to see if the results were back.” And, “What is taking so long?” This by far is the thing that I most wish people could have a better understanding of. It’s hard to explain. It’s hard enough to cope with knowing my son died, do I want to hear the details of how? Once I have all the information, do people truly feel we will feel better? I would get angry when people would say this to me and I would think when these results come back and they are bad, I’m going to put them in the faces of all the people who pressured me about finding out and say, “THERE DO YOU FEEL BETTER NOW, BECAUSE I SURE AS HELL DON’T!!!” Every time my phone rang and I didn’t know the number, I would panic and get a pit in my stomach. I would think, oh my God it’s the detective, he has the results.In some ways I was starting to cope with not knowing. It wasn’t so bad. Granted, I pictured many different scenarios; some bad, some not as bad as others. None were confirmed though, so I didn’t have to dwell on them. I told myself, until the results are back, don’t do that to yourself. I think that’s why it made me so angry when people brought it up. I have my whole life to deal with the horror of what happened. This is my grace period when I don’t know why or how. Knowing he died in a room alone was enough to deal with. Do I want to hear on top of it that he suffered?

It came though, whether I was ready or not, and I knew it would. Todd called and said, “The funeral home has Nash’s death certificate and the cause of death is on it.” I started shaking uncontrollably and felt like I was going to be sick. I was at work and told my coworkers I was leaving. On my way home, I couldn’t think of anyone to call who would understand. Then I thought of my friend who lost her baby, I dialed her number. I told her the results were in and how nervous I was. Her son’s cause of death was one I dreaded and she said, “I pray you get something that you can live with. Something quick. Something that would have happened that day no matter what.” I prayed for the same thing as I waited at home for Todd. We were to meet with the funeral home director and he was going to read us the results. On our drive there, we had conflicting feelings. Todd felt sick and I was angry and nervous. I was hoping the results would be pretty straight forward. That I wouldn’t have questions. I wanted all of the information at once so I wouldn’t have unanswered questions. Everything would be laid out in front of me. Plus, I knew this was gonna hurt, I needed to get it over with in one hit. Kind of like ripping off a band-aid. Do it quickly and get it over with. What if it wasn’t though? What if I had questions for the detective. Should we do this at the funeral home? We decided we didn’t want to know unless it was something that wouldn’t cause us to have further questions.

We pulled into the funeral home. All of the memories of his funeral came flooding back and I realized how much I hated this place. Todd and I looked at each other, took a deep breath and held each other’s hand as we walked in. I compare the feeling I had to what I think it must be like for a mother of a murdered child. The police call and say I have a picture of the murderer come in and I will show it to you. This killer would now have a face. As we walked down the hall of the funeral home, I thought to myself, this hallway is becoming way too familiar. I felt sick. My feet felt heavy like they were waterlogged. I still can not fathom how I placed one foot in front of the other to keep walking. We were minutes away from finding out the monster you warn your children about is real and it has a name. Todd had shared our concerns with the funeral director and he told us that it was pretty self explanatory, pretty straightforward. I felt a little relief. Maybe it was a heart attack? Maybe it was SIDS? Then the monster was revealed, “positional asphyxia” I looked over the death certificate with horror. I cried as I read the death certificate. It said things like Nash Gregory Schupbach, never married, never worked, unsafe sleep environment. I looked at Todd. I knew the funeral home director didn’t understand our concerns. He thought it was a question of would we understand the cause of death, not would it cause more questions he couldn’t answer. This is what I didn’t want. I had questions! Why did they come to this conclusion?!?! Was it something from his autopsy!?!? Something from the scene!?!? A combination of both?!?!? I looked at Todd and we just stared at each other with a blank stare. I then became paralyzed…I couldn’t move. I just sat on the couch and cried. My worst nightmare confirmed. He suffered. It was preventable. I dropped him off at the place that would take his life. I smiled at him and he smiled back, and I walked away not knowing that decision would change my life forever.

The funeral home director was trying to be nice, trying to comfort us. Telling us, “I’m sure he didn’t suffer long, at least you know he was healthy and you don’t have to worry about your next baby.” Everything he was saying took me off guard. I knew he was trying to bring us some sort of comfort, but in my mind I was thinking that two seconds of suffering was too long. My healthy boy had no reason to die that day. I finally mustered some strength to get off the couch and walk out the door as Todd followed. We thanked the funeral home director for giving us this news personally and we drove away. We said little to each other. I had called the detective earlier and left a message. He called back to set up a time next week to meet and go over how they reached this conclusion. Now I wanted to know everything. At the same time, every time we get news it’s worse then the last. I’m not sure how much more two people can take. At the heart of the matter though…I’m not sad for me, I’m not sad for Todd. All of my sadness is for Nash. My poor baby died alone and he suffered. He had so many people who loved him and would be there in a second if he was in trouble. My happy beautiful baby boy who did nothing but smile, who was loved by so many, had no one with him when he needed them the most. We pulled into our driveway and I looked at the home I loved so much. I realized my attachment to it was gone. I walked up the stairs to our room, past the nursery, and got into bed. My life was over. How do you live with this news? I will always picture him needing me and I wasn’t there. I closed my eyes and said out loud, “Oh Nash, momma is so sorry. So sorry you had to go this way. My heart aches for you.” I closed my eyes, felt Todd snuggle up behind me and I fell asleep. Sleeping is the only safe place for my mind to be, and if I dream it can never be worse than the nightmare I am living.

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16 thoughts on “My worst nightmare confirmed

  1. My heart aches for you, Todd, Nash and you r entire family. I pray that you will be able to find peace and forgive yourself. I can’t imagine being in yours shoes. I don’t have any idea how you go on every single day…..but you do. You and Todd are strong and have each other. You must rely on that through this horrible tragedy. Again…..I can’t begin to imagine what you are going through…. but I do pray every day when I put on my Nash bracelet or put my kids in their Nash onsie/shirt that you and Todd will find peace one day soon. That your tears will dry and your heart can fill with loving memories of your sweet angel. May baby Nash rest for ever in peace, free from pain and suffering and always look over his mama, daddy, and family. I pray you see your rainbow gifts from him often♡

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  2. Todd & Shelly- I have read every blog you’ve written, some have broken my heart for what the of you must be going through, some have warmed my soul to hear sweet stories of this angel baby I never even knew, but Shelly-ALL have left such an impression on because due to the beyond eloquent way you write and verbalize your pain and share such a personal part of your life-everyone, whether they got to meet Nash or not, feels like they knew him in such a close way.

    This one really got me. I worked in daycares for 7 yrs (the baby room) and their sleeping instructions were almost a daily lesson that the owner wod come in and brief those in the infant room that day. After my years at the daycare-I became a nanny in both MI and CA for a total of 17yrs. Putting the babies down and checking the surrounds and their positioning was second nature at this time-and I have not even been blessed with my own child yet-it was just something that, in child care, you just KNOW!!! This news is maddening knowing Nash didn’t need to leave-I can’t imagine living with the terror one would possess knowing that because of one seemingly simple rule of putting a baby down to sweetly go in to dreamland, that baby and millions of others have suffered for Baby Nash and his family. It was not his time to go, and that sweet little soul should still be waking up each morning learning about his new BFF that was about to enter the world and become someone he would become instantly protective of…even though he, himself, was still just a baby.

    I award you for voicing things that people say or express to you hurt, because those that say or ask or give their opinion on such matters can read your blogs and know that there’s some things that are just not ok to wonder about and you’ll help those people understand just why those things hurt. Because I’m sure they aren’t want to hurt-they just don’t know what to say to a mother and father who have lost their everything, get nervous and don’t realize the magnitude of pain that it causes the two of you. I think it’s beautiful and brave of you to share the parts of Nash’s story that you do feel safe sharing. Because, I can tell you that it is definitely a touching part of my day when you wrote a new post. You have become a beautiful writer-almost as if it were something you’ve had years of experience in or do for a career. But instead, the beauty in your words come from that little guy that you had 5 lovely months to enjoy.

    God is going to bless you and Todd with such an amazing surprise soon and although nothing will I ever completely ease your pain, soon something will come in to your life to add some joy of a part of your home that’s been missing-the little noises of a precious new soul that will surely have already been visited by Nash and told he or she what a lucky little one they will be because thei mommy and daddy are going to be the best thing they’ve ever experienced.

    You are both a true test image of strength and an example of how important it is to find an outlet to ease your pain. Thank you for sharing the good and the bad. The awareness you’ve brought to the world, will undoubtedly save at least one baby and that alone will be the silver lining in your tragedy. Sending you all of our love and prayers each night. God bless

    Kelly Courntey

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  3. My heart is breaking for you guys all over again. Your Nash has changed the lives of so many in such a short period of time. He is special and is living on through the random acts of kindness being done in his honor. There really are no words to ease this pain. I’m so sorry.

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  4. I pray that you gain some sort of closure through knowing how your son died. The why will always be the same-God needed him more. My infant son passed 13 years ago. I chose not to have an autopsy because I couldnt bear the thought of his tiny body going through that! He had been through so much already having been in the hospital for most of his 26 day life. I regret not knowing the how. I know the why- God decided he needed him more, but I am haunted every day by not knowing the how. God bless you and help you through all of the ups and downs to come. I know too well this roller coaster ride…

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  5. I am so sorry for your loss and I am in tears reading this….this is also my worst fear since having children …I wish there was something I could do to take the pain away..I have no words to make things better cause I do not believe there are any…I hope you never have to go through such pain again…and even though I have never met you I will think of you and your family and pray for you..

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  6. I am truly sorry for your loss. I will never know what it is like to lose a child. I have lost a father when I was 21 and that was hard enough. May God give you strength and courage to find hope and a sense of happiness and closure. For many years I did question things about God since my dads passing was quick and unexpected. Last year I took the courage to go to a medium that was highly recommend. I can only tell you that it brought closure and happiness to me about what had happened and he felt no pain. One day I hope when you feel better and have courage to do the same thing. Just remember that God helped him in passage, that he felt no pain and is watching over you and his new family member. God does things that sometimes we do not understand, I hope he gives you a gift or sign that Nash is happy in heaven and that you one day will understand that there really is a God. God bless you and your family. I wish all the best.

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  7. I can’t imagine your pain, and I don’t know if I would be able to go on after something like this, but you have no real choice, you have to go on, you have to hold each other close and not let this be something that gets between you. You will never forget, but gradually the memories will become less sad, and you will start to remember the happy times. That is how healing happens, and I pray this will start for you. Never feel guilty about a smile or a laugh, that is also part of healing.

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  8. I can not begin to tell you that I understand what you are going through although I can imagine as I think about my 3 month old daughter passing and am horrified at that thought. What I do want to say though is that this is NOT your fault even though I know you feel like it is. God only knows why children leave this world too early. In a perfect world we as parents would always go first. I believe whole heartedly that Nash was placed on this earth to touch the lives of others in his brief time here. Look at all your followers who have read your blog and Facebook page and have been deeply touched by your story, many whom have gone through this heartache as well. Your son was an angel on earth, he even in his heavenly life is making this world a better place. YOU and your family are making this world a better place by the many acts of kindness you perform and have strangers following your lead. I will forever pray for you all to find peace and to know even though your are devistated and feel often defeated, you have complete strangers including myself who have become believers in living a life of purpose and making a difference while on this earth. God bless you Shelly and Todd and thank you for your complete honesty and sharing your life with us. May your beautiful baby continue touching people all over the world through your words ❤️

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  9. I am so sorry for your loss. I know you hate this sentence. I know because our stories are all too similar. I personally know how much I hate this sentence but I have yet to find the right words to tell someone how very sorry I feel for the loss of half their heart. Perhaps it’s because the words don’t exist. And I’m mad. I’m mad that I’m not the only one. That another set of parents are going through the hell we are. We lost our little Luke when he was with a sitter. He was a week shy of his 6 month birthday. He was found not breathing. In prone position. Blue. The sitter started CPR. The EMT’s continued. The Doctor got him breathing again but he had brain swelling. 5 days later, he was pronounced brain dead… My smiling baby boy, no longer. Just not with us anymore. This was July 19, 2013.
    I read part of your blog and thought it was my story. Like somehow through the daze I created a blog.

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  10. Nash had so much love in the short time he was blessed to Todd and Michelle.
    I cry and think my god so much love.
    I could never amazed to go though this loss…
    Thank you Michelle and Todd for being so strong to share your story.
    I know Nash…Even tho I never met Nash…My heart feels him.
    God bless!

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  11. I would just like to give you a hug. That’s all I have. And I think Nash would like to give you a hug too. He would hate to see Mommy is such pain. He is with Jesus now and he is not suffering.

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  12. I am so so sorry for the loss of your son. I can’t imagine losing one of my children. I do know what it’s like to lose a grandchild. We lost my son’s daughter in 2011 at 2 months and 5 days. It was the hardest thing that I have ever experienced. I was devastated for her loss and the pain I saw in my son’s eyes and still see today. I know God has his reasons for taking those we love. However, I will never understand why he feels the need to take our babies. Why bring them here just to take them away? I know we are not suppose to question God, but he made us human, so we do. I pray that he will ease your pain and all you will be left with is your beautiful memories. God Bless You and your family. And keep you safe.

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