ENID, Okla. —
The trip to Children’s
While Dax was in the helicopter headed to Oklahoma City, the Emmersons drove Brandi and Ty Atkinson to Children’s Hospital. Meanwhile, Brandi Atkinson’s cousin, who lives at Oklahoma City, rushed to the hospital to await Dax’s arrival.
“The whole way there, I was praying, ‘Just get him there, just get him there — at Children’s they can do anything,’” Brandi said.
When the Atkinsons arrived, hospital staff already were running tests on Dax. Brandi Atkinson asked a lot of questions and gleaned a lot of information about Dax’s condition. It was clear things were grave.
“It was probably 8 o’clock the next day the doctor came in and asked what I knew,” Brandi said. “I’d already asked lots of questions. I asked if I had to make a decision.”
Brandi said she could not decide to withdraw medical support from Dax. The family spent Dax’s remaining time with him.
“The nurses there were very kind and helped us all hold him and say our goodbyes,” Brandi Atkinson said.
It wasn’t easy, with all the medical equipment attached to Dax, for him to be passed around to his family.
“After everybody held him, I crawled up in bed with him just to snuggle, and it was about five minutes till he drew his last breath,” Brandi Atkinson said. “I never dreamed I was going to come back home without him. I figured I was going to stay up there a few weeks or months.”
Coming home without Dax
The kindness of the nurses meant a lot to her, Brandi Atkinson said. So did the kindness of church friends back home, who went to the Atkinson house to gather up all the baby stuff and put all of it in Dax’s room before closing the door.
“That was really helpful to us,” Brandi said. “I didn’t open that door for four months, at least.”
While planning Dax’s funeral, Brandi said she was in shock and moving “on autopilot.” Family helped with many of the decisions. They made the services into a celebration of life and released balloons at the cemetery.
Well-meaning people sometimes say things that are unhelpful, like those at Dax’s viewing who reminded Brandi Atkinson that she “is still young and can have another one.”
But encounters with others weren’t all like that. A local photography studio, where the family had gotten family portraits taken a few weeks before Dax’s death, made a large photo of Dax and gave it to the family. The couple’s friends at church were helpful and comforting as well, checking on them frequently and doing whatever they could.
“It wasn’t God that did this, but God was there for us,” Brandi said.