I know, it has been almost exactly 4 months since I posted last. Time seems to get away from me and before I know it, another day has gone. The last time I posted was about my grandmother, Grammie, and her passing. This time, I'm writing about another life changing event. I have had alot of prayer worriers out there and alot of people "out of the loop." I don't know how else to express what has happened to me except to tell the story...
2 weeks ago today, any other normal day. 7:45 the Brannon kiddos (Stetson (5), Kinlee (22mo), and Branson (9mo)) were dropped off. I gave Branson a bottle at 8:00 and started my day. The kiddos were playing good in the playroom, I was getting some stuff done, and Branson and Kinlee were playing in the living room (sometimes Branson would make his way to my feet and I would have to bring him back and give him a toy to distract him for like 2.5 seconds). 9:15 the baby started getting cranky, wrapped him in his blanket, gave him a "good night" kiss, and layed him down for nap. I went about the afternoon. Lunch for Kinlee and Braxton at 10:30, nap for them at 11:00, lunch for Stetson, Emma, and Courtlynn at 11:30, nap for them at 12:00. Britni, the mom, was going to be at the house at 1:00 to get the kiddos (Stetson had to get his cast off) so I went and warmed Branson's bottle, got 2 diapers ready, one for him and one for Kinlee, went and woke Kinlee up and sent her to the living room, and then went to get Branson. THIS is where my life changed. He was not breathing. I panicked, my heart was beating 100mph, tears ran down my face. I wanted to wake up, I wanted him to wake up. This COULD NOT be happening. My sweet little boy. My sweet smiley, happy boy. I had to keep the other kids away, I yelled for them to get into the living room and into their bedrooms. I screamed at the 911 operator, WHERE ARE THE PARAMEDICS!?!? The paramedics came, I called the mom, I called my mom, I called Greg, I called Brenda, I called everyone that I could think of. I needed people here for me, for my kids, for the other kids. Police got to the house. I was told to go into Emma and Courtlynn's room. I had to take the other 5 kids and the dog in there with me. I sat, I waited 3 hours, not able to come out of my room, not knowing what was going on in my house, trying to keep it together for the kids, being asked for statements, clip boards thrown at me, ALL while morning the loss of my little boy! My mom, dad, mother inlaw, brother inlaw, and husband all outside not able to get in, me not able to get out. A criminal. Guilty until proven innocent. Finally, the kids and I were released to go outside to my awaiting family. I crumbled when I saw them. We were asked to leave the house for a few hours while they did the investigation on the house. Kinlee and Stetson were picked up by a friend of the family and it took everything I had to let them go. I wanted them to stay with me. I wanted to hold Stetson some more and tell him everything was going to be alright. I quick kiss and hug from Kinlee and a "I love you Miss April" from Stetson and they were gone too. The investigators took my phone and we went to mama and daddy's house. There we were greeted by 2 of our pastors from our church and they prayed over us and the Brannon family. We got home and realized that they had taken all of our bedding, my phone, and some of his stuff. I broke down again. I could not imagine anyone going through all of this without knowing the Lord. It's only through Him that I got through Tuesday June 12th!
June 13th, I realized that I needed to get out of the house. We headed for the bank to withdraw some cash. When I got back to the van, Greg was on the phone with his mom. CPS was at my house. My stomach dropped. First thing that popped into my head, "I'm innocent, not my babies too!" We got to the house and they talked with us for 4 hours. They said that what they saw, I was not a threat to the baby and they were able to leave my children in my custody. THANK YOU GOD! That night was the 2nd worse night of my life. I had nightmares, visions, anxiety, I couldn't sleep, I shook, I cried, I missed him.
June 14th, I had another meeting with church staff. Sunday school people took my kids that day so that Greg and I could get away for a bit. If I stay busy, I don't think. We were in Mardel, I don't know why, but came across a plaque that was Matthew 11:28. “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest" I KNEW I needed to get it for Britni, yet it gave me hope too. Right then, Britni texted and said that she wanted to meet with us and get some of the kids stuff from the house. We met her at her house with the kids stuff and gave her the plaque, and she gave me so much more. She looked me square in the face and said, "It's not your fault, you didn't do anything." Tears flooded me. Relief washed over me. How could this mother be so forgiving so quickly. ONLY through God could she have done that. I was able to see Stetson and Kinlee for a little while and was greeted at the door with hugs and kisses from Kinlee and a "Miss April!!" from Stetson. That night, even though alot had been lifted off of me, the nightmares came.
Saturday June 16th I went and talked with a counselor and at 10:30 was the memorial service. I was so honored to have the photo that I had taken of Branson the day before he passed away on display first thing when you came in the door. His big blue eyes smiling at me. I miss those eyes, I miss that crinkled smile, I miss telling him "No, No" when he started to get into the fireplace, I miss having to watch my every step so I wouldn't step on him.
The days are going by, it doesn't feel like 2 weeks. It gets easier as the days go, but then all of a sudden I feel empty again. I'm trying to stay strong for my family. My kids need me, my husband needs me, but sometimes I'm dying inside. Sometimes I'm reliving the day over and over again in my head. I keep smiling, I keep trusting in the Lord.
Thank you to everyone that has been praying for my family and the Brannon family. Thank you to everyone that brought me a meal, that has helped over these last 2 weeks, and have loved on me. Please, don't stop the prayers because I look fine on the outside, because sometimes I'm crying on the inside.
God bless you,