Friday was 12 weeks since Noah’s death and this Saturday will be three months. I am trying to stay as busy as I can, but there are some days I recognize that I shouldn’t be in public, and adjust accordingly. I can speak with certainty for John David and myself when I say that missing Noah and the grief that piggybacks on that emptiness grows stronger each day. Our grief response is unpredictable, and often surfaces at the most awkward and inopportune times. What is so difficult about the pain we feel is that we don’t want it to disappear because that would mean we don’t think of him - it hurts to think of Noah and the hole that is left in our hearts because of his death, and yet it hurts when we realize we haven’t thought of him in a few hours, and could go through such a span of time without acknowledging his absence.
Growing up, I would often pray to God to communicate certain things to my dad, who died when I was six, and who I knew was in heaven. I’ve never believed that those who pass into eternity could see what was taking place in the earthly realm, so I would ask God to tell my dad about my accomplishments, my feelings about missing him, and remind him of my love for him. At my wedding, the day of Noah’s birth, and during so many other special life events I would ask Jesus to pass along the message that I miss Dad and wish he could be a part of my life. Now, I ask Jesus everyday to find Noah and give him a hug from me, tell him I love him so much and miss him terribly, and that I can’t wait to be with him again. I think about eternity all the time...ALL the time. I wonder anything and everything about heaven. I am more
concerned about getting there than I ever have been (and I’ve thought a lot about it in the past, believe me). I have such a greater sense of gratitude for Jesus Christ and His sacrifice to make a way for us to come to Him in eternity. I find myself thanking God for Jesus so much more, because I know that Noah is with Him. This is not just a
belief or a speculation – I would give my life standing on the fact that Jesus welcomed Noah into eternity because He said yes to God’s plan for our
reconciliation to Himself.
I’d like to share with you the experience we had when Noah began his last few hours on earth. I’ve wanted to explain his death in detail for almost three months, and now seems like the right time for me to do so. I posted a blog the day before Noah passed, describing his struggles and how his health was quickly declining. I had no idea how soon he would fade. That Thursday night (5/17) Noah struggled to breathe the entire night due to the fluid buildup in his lungs. (His body was slowly shutting down, he wasn’t strong enough to cough anything up, and he had been aspirating liquids). I
asked his hospice nurse to come Friday morning, and when he saw Noah’s condition
he determined the end was near and stayed with us for the duration of Noah’s
struggle. Not being able to breathe is terrifying – I could see the fear on Noah’s face. He was blind, the tumor had already taken his sight. He could barely speak. We prayed over him, begged God to keep Noah from suffering. John and I told Noah that it was ok to go to Jesus, we encouraged Noah that Jesus was the only one who could make him all better. He understood us, and was still able to comprehend what we were saying to him. His eyes were closed, and he pointed his right hand straight ahead, and said with much difficulty, “I see Him.” I knew immediately that He was seeing Jesus, and that Noah was beginning his passage into eternity. He began to make the sign “help,” (I taught him some basic sign language after we learned of his recurrence, because of the certainty that he would lose his speech). This ripped out my heart because I could do nothing for him. John and I had previously decided against any medical intervention at this point, aside from palliative care, because we knew that we would prolong the inevitable. Looking back, I recognize that at this point his spirit had left his body; he was unconscious and breathed very little. We (John David, our moms, the nurse, and I) cried and prayed to God to take Noah quickly and give him eternal healing. It took two long, grueling hours. The sounds of
his body struggling to breathe still haunt us all. John and I took turns holding him, crying and praying over him during this time his body was dying. I was impressed to listen to a song about heaven and all its glory. As the song ended, John was impressed to tell Noah how much Mom and Dad love him, and we knew that he loved us both very much. He told Noah it was ok for him to let go and live with Jesus; he could leave us here. If he would just look at where he was going, he wouldn’t want to
stay with us anymore. As soon as John David spoke those words, Noah’s body took its last breath and he was gone. We stayed in the room for several minutes and sobbed, made our peace, and covered his body. Noah was gone, he didn’t need that shell anymore, so we had no problem with the funeral home coming quickly for the body. We watched the hearse drive away as some of our neighbors looked on in wonder. I wanted to run up and down the streets screaming, “He is gone!! Don’t you all know or care! Stop what you are doing and grieve with me!”
And so that began our journey without Noah. Looking back at his death, I can see how God spared him even more torment than what he experienced. Noah had lost his sight, his body was slowing down quickly, he couldn’t eat or drink, and he was still in pain despite the morphine. If we had taken him to the hospital his lungs would have been suctioned (a painful experience) and he would have been kept alive until the tumor began to shut them down. At the moment he was dying, I was so angry that God was allowing him to suffer and not answering our prayers. I can see now that God DID answer our prayers. Noah would have hated to be trapped in his dying body. He hated to be restrained, he despised being still; watching him deteriorate I could tell he had almost given up. He couldn’t play, sing, dance, give hugs…he couldn’t live 100% anymore. God spared Noah any more suffering in his body by taking him in the manner that Noah died. I can look back on that experience now, as traumatic as it was, and push through all the doubts and pain and say, “God
is good and He answered our prayers. I did not want his body to die, but Noah has a new and perfect body like that of the angels and he is complete.” Looking back I know that the Holy Spirit was with us all during Noah’s last moments on earth, and I know that Jesus took Noah’s soul and gave him a glimpse into his new home.
Now back to that statement, “I think about eternity all the time.” Every day I ask that God would be glorified through me, and that I would see that happen, so each day I will have a reason to get up and get out of the house. Thinking about eternity keeps me moving forward. Each day that I follow Jesus Christ is a day I am closer to seeing Him in eternity, and seeing Noah once again. It is true that when you have very little left to tie you to this world, your longing for eternity becomes very strong. John David and I have such a different relationship now that we are a couple once again, after being a family. We love each other so much more, but we both realize how this world has nothing to offer us compared to the glory and riches that are found in Jesus Christ our Lord. So much of what happens in this world is meaningless. If we are not serving God, serving others, and growing in our relationship with Him, we are wasting our time here. My senior year of high school I had a great Sunday school teacher who would ask us, “Where do you spend your time? Where do you spend your money? When you day dream, what do you day dream about?” Losing Noah has changed my perspective on life. Where I spend my time, money, and what my dreams are have changed so drastically. It makes me sad to know that I should have longed for heaven this much from the time I became a follower of Christ. I had to lose the person I loved the most on earth to see that my
treasure has always been in heaven. Nothing on earth can satisfy me – not a job, not a degree, not a house. Not even really good things, like serving others, loving and being loved, giving away possessions and money, not even sharing my story of God’s forgiveness in my life can bring me peace and satisfaction. Being face to face with the One who created me, and being accepted into an eternity with Jesus Christ, and hearing him say, “this is my child who I made a way for…this one is Mine,” …only then will I be satisfied.
Please don’t wait until something is taken away from you, and leaves you with an
open, painful, bleeding wound, before you decide to follow Jesus Christ. You need Him in your life before the pain comes, so He can pick you up and give you a reason to keep living, and a reason to long for eternity. If you find yourself in a position where you are left with nothing, and you feel alone without a purpose, even then He will pick you up from the valley you are in, and give you a desire to live, if you will only ask and open your heart to Him. With every minute that passes, we are one minute closer to eternity. This brings me great joy, and if it brings you great fear, get to know God and His goodness, and what His Word tells us is the way to eternal life with Him.
Never forget…what is important, what is true, what is essential, what is your
Live 100%...for God, following Jesus Christ’s example, longing for eternity.
Thank you for your continued prayers for our family. We love and
These posts are written by Noah's parents Jessica & John David Crowe. The default author is Jess, and those written by John David will be noted.