There are so many layers to this story… so many emotions. Every year I get a little more courage to talk about a deeper layer than the year before. This year will be by far the most difficult. Yet, I have to know that my loss was not in vain. It is my prayer my transparency in sharing the story of my angel will in some way, strengthen & encourage someone else. So here goes…
The sound of her heart beat was Heaven’s music. The relief I felt when I would hear it can not be described. It was beautiful. If you are a mother, I am sure you can relate. December 2, 2007 was the day I met her. The doctors made a decision to do an emergency c-section at 34 weeks because they couldn’t figure out why her heart rate kept dropping in the weeks before. I could not have been more excited. After all the monitoring, bed rest and tears, she was finally here, Miss Kimora Jade. I made the nurses wheel my bed down to NICU so that I could see her for the 1st time, that night. She was everything! I’d created the most beautiful little life I’d ever seen. By the way, this is not some romantic novel you are reading. This is GENUINELY the way I was feeling! Despite all the drama that lead up to this day, my happiness could not be touched. Joy like this, next to God is what we live for. At times, I would look at her in disbelief that something so beautiful came from me. Right away I wanted so badly to be my best-self, for her. I had plans for her future before she left the hospital. My life had begun. Our life had begun.
Nothing could have prepared for the nightmare ahead… April 12, 2008. I woke up to silence. This was strange considering the amount of time I was asleep. By now, Kimora would be fussing at the top of her lungs. My mother had come into my room a few hours before to let me know Kimora was asleep in her room and asked me to go and get in the bed with her, as she was leaving for work. This way I could hear her if she was to wake up. I’d said ok and immediately went back to sleep once she left. I was completely hungover from the night before. My best friend and I had gone out to a local club and didn’t make it home until 3am that morning. It was 4 hours after my mother left that I was awaken by a call from my job asking why I had not made it in to work yet. I sluggishly rolled out of bed and headed to my mother’s room to check on Kimora. Why couldn’t I hear her fussing, cooing, something? When I made it to the doorway I didn’t see her on the bed right away. I immediately assumed my mom decided to take her with her to visit her patients as she had done often. As I was about to turn and walk away, something told me to look closer at the bed. I turned and walked over to the bed, pulled back the cover and there she was. Her face was down and I could see by looking at her scalp, she was blue. I lifted her up and saw that her face was like a doll. No movement… no life.
The moments after were a blur, coming in and out of focus. The house had never been so silent. A paralyzing fear consumed me. I could only hear myself saying “Oh my God! Oh my God!”, over and over again as I began to back out of the room and ran for a phone. I called 911. I remember screaming for them to hurry because I was too afraid to go back in the room. I couldn’t move beyond the doorway. While 911 was on one phone I’d called Kimora’s father and my mother on another line. I struggled to get the the words out about what I’d just seen. A few minutes felt like an eternity waiting for an ambulance. I could not go back in that room. I so desperately needed some one to get there quickly and tell me I hadn’t just found my baby’s lifeless body.
When the ambulance made it they began examining Kimora on the bed. Pacing the floor hysterically, I waited. I tried calming myself enough to talk to God. I watched anxiously from the doorway praying they would say, “It’s ok, she’s breathing!” Instead, they calmly said, “we’re going to take her out to the truck.” I mean surely, if she was gone like I’d thought, they’d have said it then, right? I followed a few steps behind them as they raced down the stairs and out the door. My mom had just arrived and jumped out of her car equally hysterical. We waited a few moments while they continued with her in the ambulance before they came out and said, “we’re going to take her to the hospital.” I had a gleam of hope. “She must be ok,” I told myself, “they still haven’t said she’s gone!” We arrive at the hospital, behind the ambulance and were asked to wait in the waiting room. I remember making about 20 different promises to God in that moment. I thought this was a warning. God was telling me to slow down. He just wanted me to focus on what was important, not the drama that had been escalating with Kimora’s father and I weeks before. “I can do that Lord,” I prayed to myself, “just give me another chance.”
One of the aids came in the room and asked for me to follow him. As we approached the doorway and before I could enter the room Kimora was in, the other nurses in the room stopped and said, “wait, we are not ready for her yet.” With a smile, he casually turned me back around and told me they would come get me when they were ready. By this time, I was sure she was ok. No one had said otherwise. A few minutes after making it back to the waiting room two nurses came in and asked my mother and I to follow them, but this time to a private waiting room. I remember immediately getting agitated with the nurses for making small talk. “Is she ok?!” I yelled, stopping the nurse mid sentence. I will never forget her response. “No, she is not ok. She’s gone,” the nurse explained. I didn’t hear another word. It felt as if my spirit left my body. My knees buckled and I fell to the floor. Nothing mattered after that point. Nothing. She was never ok. I wasn’t dreaming. It was real. My life, that had only begun 4 months earlier was now over. The medical examiner determined Kimora died from SIDS, Sudden Infant Death. I couldn’t help feeling like that was just a blanket term for “we don’t know.”
December 2nd. What was by far, the happiest day of my life, I now found myself dreading it. The one day a year I can’t ignore my reality. She was here… now she’s not. The one day a year I allow the flood gates to open… These gates I’ve worked so hard all the other days of the year to keep closed. The one day a year I am reminded of the greatest void of my life. The one day a year I ask Him boldly, with a heavy heart and tearful eyes those all too familiar questions.. then wait, hopeful for His answers.. Why her? Why me? Is this what it took to change me? Why would you let me find her, alone? I had so many regrets. I shouldn’t have gone out the night before. Why didn’t I just go in the room with her like my mother had asked before she left? Why was I so afraid to go back in that room once I’d found her? Why was I afraid to pick my baby up and hold her? Lord, you knew I’d be tormented with these thoughts the rest of my life; struggling with the images I created in my mind of my baby needing me those 4 hours I was asleep. For years after having my son Kaiden, I’d frantically wake him up in the middle of the night because I thought he looked blue. To this day, I wake him up in the morning with a fear he may not be breathing. This has forever changed me. I would never be the same.
I still can’t be sure of God’s answers. I tell Him it blows my mind that You felt I was strong enough to bear this. Then it hit me, I am not and I can not. But God is strength and God can bear it. As a parent, have you ever said to yourself “I’d go crazy if something happened to my baby. I’d loose my mind. I’d die!”? Yea, me too. And I would’ve.. I should’ve.. I’d literally be climbing a padded wall had God not kept my mind. He is responsible for my sanity, not any strength of my own. He is the only reason loosing her has not completely destroyed me. I heard someone say to a grieving parent in a movie once, “If you saw what your child was seeing and experiencing in Heaven, you would be ashamed for wanting him back here on earth.” There is some consolation in that. I have no doubt she is happy.
I’m not sure if I will ever get to a place where December 2nd doesn’t hit me like bricks. I can never be sure how I will respond. After 10 years, that wound is still fresh. Next year I may be angry and hurt all over again. I know God understands the rollercoaster of emotions that would come with this loss. But this year, like last year, I choose to thank Him. Thank you for keeping me Lord.
10 years old today. Happy Birthday Mommy’s beautiful baby! 👼🏾