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.