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Garrett Keith Callaway

by Kelly Callaway

I had to write after reading the First Person website, for my husband and I have gone through what these parents have also gone through, just 2 weeks ago. It seems so strange, but reading these passages have made me feel a bond, because I can empathize with every feeling that is expressed. I am writing in memory of our son, Garrett Keith Callaway, August 4,1 1997-January 16, 1998.

We did not planned Garrett, but as soon as we found out I was pregnant we began guessing "boy or girl". We already picked out names and on my birthday we found out our baby was a BOY. Both my husband and I wanted a son so bad. I never worried during my pregnancy, Garrett always move around. Finally, on August 4, 1997, 6 days late, he arrived. It was a hard delivery, but well worth it. Garrett looked just like his daddy, but he had mommy's big brown eyes! He was 9lbs 1oz and 21inches long with brown hair!

I took 10 weeks off and found the best in-home sitter I could. I went back to work and I thought that was the hardest day of my life. How I was wrong. Garrett always hated his stomach so naturally we were glad and placed him on his back like we were suppose to. January 5, 1998 he finally rolled over, he would rather stand up than lay down. Garrett never cared much about a bottle, he wanted the good stuff. Garrett began growing so fast as soon as we put him on solid food. Garrett was so aware of who was around him and boy how he loved his mommy and daddy. We adored him and spoiled him rotten. Garrett never took a pacifier, always smiled, and loved to go. If we took him everywhere because he enjoyed it so much.

I always said once he could roll over, he could sleep however he wanted. Friday, January 16, 1998 started out like any other. My husband and I got up and Garrett actually slept in until 7 am. I remember getting ready and looking at Garrett in his crib and he was starring at me. Of course he had my attitude so we laughed. I got him ready and my husband walked us down to the car. His daddy kissed his hand and said "see you later son, be good." We went to the sitters. My last words were "Mommy will see you this afternoon." The next call was at 3:15pm, the worse experience anyone could get. The sitter just kept repeating "get here, get here now!" I raced to my car and drove frantically yelling "not my baby!" My husband had been working in the area and arrived first. He rode to the hospital with Garrett. By the time I arrived at the hospital, the medical team was still working on Garrett, but he never regained a heartbeat.

I remember screaming, but I could not cry. They tell me it was shock. My husband would not let go of Garrett and the hospital personnel allowed us to hold Garrett for quite a while. The time runs together. The coroner arrived and told us it looked like SIDS, but an autopsy would have to be performed. That was the hardest part, leaving Garrett with a stranger. We were lucky the coroner acted quickly and we had our baby back in town the next day. My husband and I wanted the funeral completed quickly, we both could not go through another day without giving tribute to our precious angel. We decided to have graveside and a brief visitation. We had thought we would want a closed casket, I did not want everyone touching my angel. Garrett was very independent and want to be left alone and played with. But when the time came, neither my husband nor I could do it. Garrett looked just like an angel sleeping. The day of the funeral the sun shined brightly. Just at the time of the service at the graveside, the sun showed through the trees and casted a beautiful light across us.

My husband and I grieve differently and change moods to help one another. I have done all the research I can to understand this silent killer. I have also dedicated my life to helping others with this terrible stalker. We both hold each other and cry for the 'what ifs' and the hopes and dreams we had for Garrett. We are planning to try having another baby as soon as possible, but I have learned only God knows our destiny. My husband and I both agree were are good parents and have so much love to give children, we have to have more. Each child after Garrett will always know they have a guardian angel in heaven looking after us all.

I know one day we will meet Garrett again and I will get to hold my precious angel, but until then we keep his memory alive and sometimes when it is hard to hold on to memories without crying, I remember what our priest said at Garrett's funeral: 'Remember me with smiles, for if you only remember me with tears, don't remember me at all.'

We Love and miss you, Garrett Keith Callaway

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