Charlie’s Story

Our beautiful little boy, Charles Preston Packard (forever known as Charlie) was born on December 9, 2011. He was eager to come into the world, arriving after five short hours of labor (one of which was spent just waiting for the doctor to arrive to deliver him). From the moment he was in my arms, he was such a blessing to our lives.

For the next four months, he was my constant companion, my “mister mister,”

my husband Chad’s, “little man,”

and our two and half year old daughter, Hailee’s, “baby brother!”

He had the most intense gaze and melt-your-heart flirty smile of any baby I’ve seen.

He loved to be held and always wanted to be with people, wherever the action was. He loved “The Wheels on the Bus,” and nothing could calm him like a bubble bath with his older sister. Charlie was meeting all developmental milestones on time and was just beginning to giggle and laugh. He was healthy and happy.

On April 9, 2012, we flew as a family to the island of Kauai for a much anticipated vacation with my in-laws. We were all healthy and happy upon arriving in Hawaii and were looking forward to some time in the sun! We had only been on the Island a little over 24 hours when our world went completely wrong. On April 10, 2012, we came back from eating lunch to put Charlie down for his afternoon nap, just like always.

On the car ride back to the hotel, I remember sitting in the back seat and I had a clear view of Charlie in his carseat. Although he was tired, he did not stop looking at me. He maintained eye contact with me almost the entire ride home. And every now and then he would turn his head to the side and give me his flirty smile. I remember beaming after one of his smiles and telling him, “Oh I just love you!” I wish I had known that was the last time I would see my baby look at me and smile.

When we got to the hotel, I put Hailee down for a nap while my husband swaddled Charlie and put him down in our bedroom in a pack and play. Charlie didn’t fuss at all. In fact, the last thing he did was smile at his dadda before falling into the sleep from which he would never awake. During that nap, Charlie died of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome or SIDS. He had just turned four months old, the day before. Despite our efforts to revive him upon finding him unconscious, and despite the wonderful efforts of EMTs and ER doctors and nurses, our Charlie was gone. That day we lost our sweet Charlie marks the worst day of our lives.

Charlie is now gone from my arms for this mortal life but I am grateful to know that he isn’t gone forever. I know our little mister mister is in heaven, I know he is happy, and I know I will see him and hold him again. Until that beautiful reunion takes place, he is our Charlie Angel.

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15 thoughts on “Charlie’s Story

  1. natalienorton

    I am so sorry. Since we both KNOW that there is ABSOLUTELY NOTHING I can say, I’ll simply tell you that I’ll be praying for you as you navigate this unfathomable road. If you need a thing, ever, I am here. All my love, Natalie PS. He sure is a beautiful little boy. I feel like I can see heaven in his eyes.

  2. Sierra

    I’m so sorry. I read this about an hour ago- and couldn’t finish it.
    I held my 5 month old daughter, and just cried. My heart hurts for you and your beautiful family. ❤

  3. Your little Charlie is absolutely adorable…I can’t get over his incredible smile. I just wanted to say how sorry I am for you and your family and thank you for sharing your story. I especially appreciated how you ended your story… every time someone says they know they will be reunited with their baby in Heaven, it gives me hope that I will see my son again one day too.

  4. Christa

    What a beautiful son. His gaze is so direct and joyous, even in two dimensional photos. Thanks for being brave about sharing your grief so others can learn and still others can feel a little less alone.

  5. Hannah

    Charlie is such a handsome boy! What a sweet baby! I know your heart is aching and always will. Sending love to your family! I lost my sweet 21 month old Emma 2 years ago in 5 days. My soul aches for each and every day. Thank you for sharing your story.

  6. I just found your site and read about your sweet Charlie angel. I’m a fellow angel mom (I live in Park City). I send my love. I’m so thankful for Elder Bowen’s talk yesterday! Charlie is an absolute DOLL. Such a great looking boy. Your entire family is beautiful. I’m so sorry we are in this club together.

  7. I just found your blog through Molly Jacksons. I am so sorry for your loss. Charlie is such an adorable little boy. I am also a fellow angel mom(live in St. George). We also lost our little boy at 5 months old. I’m so sorry you are a part of this club. So hard! Elder Bowen’s talk was great on Saturday! Thank you for your great suggestions on what to do for those that grieve. So perfect! Please let me know if I can do anything for you. Sending my love to you!

  8. Oh my goodness, Charlie is the sweetest baby! I am so sorry for your heartbreaking loss and send my sympathies and best wishes to you and your family. Thank you for sharing your story

  9. I stumbled here…you have the same quote I was writing about, I googled it to check it and make sure I had it correct…it was a quote I found in my grief, helpful…and first item in the search was your blog. I’m writing on my blog…My son just turned 4 months yesterday. He is my rainbow baby….we lost our Gwenyth at 2 months old in 2010. For me to read this, to see your amazing little boy and know exactly every word – that way they look at you, capture eye, waiting for you to notice their smile… and to read this and know the unspeakable pain of baby loss…. I’m so stunned to find this so randomly on today of all days, as my son turns four months and all I can think, maybe it’s a “wink”…maybe our babies know each other. Charlie is so lovely, so beautiful and I ache, for you and your family. My care to you. God bless.

  10. I am Heidi Hamilton’s little sister and she referred me to your blog. I am so grateful to know of someone that my sister can fully relate to. Your stories are so similar and I’m grateful for you being a support to her through this time. There’s no words to express how amazing you and Heidi both are. So faithful and valiant. I know your son looks upon you often and is so grateful that you are his Mother. Little Charlie is ADORABLE and so is your daughter. Thank you for sharing your story.
    Trisha

  11. I found your blog from the Kelly’s blog that you found from the Sullengers blog. My daughter Grace was born on the EXACT same day as Charlie. Oh he is so beautiful…what a gorgeous baby. I know you must miss him every day in a way that words cant even begin to fathom or express. I am so very sorry this happened to you. I lost a daughter on October 1, 2009 while I was pregnant with her….the pain is ever present as is the feeling that someone is missing. It is refreshing to know that we WILL be reunited one day, but until then it is a struggle at best. All of my love!! Again, he is just gorgeous…wow!!

  12. Molly Lindsay

    I’m so so sorry for your loss. I just lost my 4 month old son, Nash, to SIDS a little over a month ago. He too had this way with his eyes. I always said that I had never felt so loved by anyone else in the entire world as I felt when he looked at me. I look forward to reading more of your story.

    1. Molly I’m so sorry for your loss and that you found my blog under such circumstances. I’d love to hear more about you and sweet Nash. Also let me know if you want to join my SIDS parent support group on FB.

      Sending love and hugs to you at such a gutwrenching time!

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