Saturday, June 27, 2009

Life Sketch of Sage Lawrence Eldredge

The following is the life sketch that I, Liz Reidhead-Sage's maternal grandmother, gave at his funeral services. Crystal and Spencer wanted his entire story told. They wanted people to know about his life and how he came to be. They wanted everyone to understand what a miracle his little life was and how he touched our lives. Crystal would say, "Mom tell them about this or don't forget to include that." She wanted it all told. Crystal is an awesome journal keeper and has started a journal for each of her children the moment she learned she was expecting. So she sent me her journals and I began to read and remember. I was at their home the night before his funeral and told them I was afraid my "talk" was too long and the people might get upset and Spencer replied, "You know tomorrow isn't about them it's about us and Sage. He was a little tiny baby that never caused any animosity amongst any of us. He did not live long enough to offend anyone. So tell his story no matter how long it might be. We want them to know about our son."

So I gave the talk as it was all 11 pages. In the 6 days since Sage had passed I don't think I had slept 8 hours. I was so afraid I would not have the strength to speak and I had told my husband, "Honey if I get too emotional or my knees give way or what ever you may need to come up and help me. My talk is all written out all you would have to do is read or just stand there for me." I had spent many hours in prayer asking Heavenly Father and Sage to give me the strength to do this. I can bare testimony that Heavenly Father is mindful of us because he was there for me. There were a few times that my tears clouded my vision and I couldn't see my talk but then miraculously my vision would clear and I could continue.

Crystal has been asking me to post his life sketch on his blog so all of you can get to know this amazing little boy!
July 17, 2008 - March 19, 2009

given by
Maternal Grandmother Liz Reidhead
First of all I want to thank you for your attendance today and to everyone for your many kind words and acts of service for they have been a source of comfort and strength in our time of sorrow.

Sage Lawrence Eldredge was born July 17, 2008. But his story began even before that. For his parents it began one year before his birth. They were at a crossroads in their life at the time and trying to decide if Spencer should go back to school or if they should have another baby. They had just moved into their new home and had four children that kept them very busy and like all mothers Crystal wondered at times how she was going to manage. At times she would call me feeling frustrated and inadequate. But if any of you know Crystal and Spencer they are anything but “Inadequate Parents”.

I am very blessed to have a good relationship with each of my daughters and Crystal is no exception. In fact we are so close that some claim we are joined at the hips. After breakfast is done and the kids are dressed and playing Crystal always picks up the phone and calls it has become our ritual. The morning of my birthday in 2007 I could tell she was upset and she hesitated to tell me because it was my birthday and because she thought she would sound crazy. She told me how she awakened in the night to find an evil presence standing at the foot of her bed. She was terrified and tried to wake Spencer but he was sleeping soundly. Then the figure spoke to her and told her that she was a terrible mother and that she shouldn't have any more children. She commanded the spirit to leave, said a prayer and went back to sleep only to wake again to the same presence who once again proceeded to convince her that she was a terrible mother and that she shouldn't have more children. Spencer could tell how shaken she was by the experience and asked Teele to help him give her a blessing that evening. Two months passed and she was still haunted by the experience. They finally decided to visit with Bishop Burgeous.

When she told Bishop about her experience he told her that many prophets and people are visited by Satan and that it is his purpose to discourage you from doing what is right. He then told her that he felt inspired to tell her that there was another baby waiting to be born into their family and that this presence she saw was trying to prevent this spirit from being born. She called me after their meeting and was worried. How can I be a mother to five babies? I don't know if I can do this. I already have 4 kids and the oldest is 6. She also joked that this advice was after all coming from a man with 11 children! I mean four kids to him is nothing! Bishop she said this with love and humor! But after many prayers and Temple attendance they agreed that they needed to have another baby in fact Crystal yearned for another baby.

Crystal has always been very faithful in keeping a journal and for this I'm so grateful. She sent these journals home with Royal late last night so I could read and share with you how she felt about her baby. She wants everybody to know what this baby meant to her and how there were so many little miracles surrounding his life and even how hard Satan tried to discourage her from having him.

In a journal entry dated October 7, 2007 Crystal wrote,

“ Spencer and I have decided to try for a baby. We want baby #5 to bless our lives and the lives of our family. I get a peaceful feeling when I think about it and then I get scared, but my life is in the Lords hands. It is up to him. I love my home and I love my life.”

Crystal wrote this about the day she found out she was pregnant.

Dear Little Baby,

“I knew I was pregnant but the tests kept saying “No”. Then on October 31, Halloween morning is said, “yes”. I threw the test to daddy and said, “I hope your ready for this?” He just smiled and said, “Yes I'm ready!” I had Wayne call Grandma Reidhead and sing her Happy Birthday because the baby is due on her birthday, July 13, 2008!”

I keep debating whether or not I want to know what you are. I already have a lot of things so I can keep you a surprise. I hope your a girl for Jayden to have a sister and a playmate. If it's a boy I will be just as happy. I LOVE MY BOYS! Well dear baby. I just want you to know how excited I am and how loved you are!
Love you Little Baby.
Love Mommy

February 24, 2008

It's A BOY! Laugh. Tears. Giggle. Laugh! Poor Jayden 4 brothers. These are only a few of the emotions I felt when I found out you were indeed a baby boy! When I found out you were a boy all I could do was laugh! Me the mother of FOUR little boys! I can only imagine the messes, the trouble, the fights, the joy and the laughter four will bring into our life! Another boy! I have had fun telling people you are indeed a boy. The boys are so excited for you to be here. I am excited as well and so is daddy. I have not thought of 1 good name for my little guy. I hope I can think of one! I am 20 weeks along today. 20 more weeks to go! I look forward to holding you. Your kicking and moving a bit more now. I love you Love momma!

February 25, I am so excited to be a mother to a new baby. I love little babies. I enjoy theire smells and cuddles and their newness. I pray these last 20 weeks go by smoothly. That your delivery will be a good one. That Heavenly Father allows you to get here safely. That you will be healthy and strong! I pray I can endure to the end of this pregnancy. You are moving so much. I am glad though because that means you are getting bigger. I love you dear little baby!

Love your mommy.

The last few months of her pregnancy were difficult. Crystal is 5 foot 2 and her tummy gets so big when she's pregnant that she loses her balance and falls forward. She falls every pregnancy. She'll just be walking along and the next thing you know she's face down in the dirt. This pregnancy she fell at a T-Ball game. Royal was with her and he rushed her to the hospital. The baby wasn't moving and for a while we feared she had lost him. An ultrasound finally revealed that the baby was fine but both of her knees were bloody and bruised and one knee cap was dislocated. This made it even more difficult for her to get around. When she was 36 weeks pregnant we went to her Dr.'s appointment and she was having measurable contractions. They told her she was severely dehydrated and needed an IV. Crystal wrote the following, “June 22, I spent most of the day in the hospital hooked to IV's, I was extremely dehydrated and contracting every 3 minutes. The baby's heart rate was getting really high and then really low. I know I only have 3 weeks left, but sometimes it feels like I will be pregnant forever! I have no idea what position your in. I'm hoping head down. Grandpa Eldredge and Daddy gave me a wonderful blessing. I have faith that I will be able to have you naturally with no C- section. I pray for the strength to make it through these next days and weeks. Daddy is working a lot so I pray I can watch all the other kids and be very pregnant at the same time.”

Love Mommy

Her second baby was breech so when this one was laying side to side they scheduled her at the hospital to have the baby manually turned. She was warned that turning the baby would be painful and could induce labor. At 9:30 the night before the procedure her Doctor called and told her that she had a very bad feeling about turning the baby and had decided to postpone it another week. When she went in a week later we were relieved to learn that he had turned all by himself most likely a direct result of the fall.

On June 11th she wrote,

“Your Dad and Papa Teele gave me a blessing and it said, the Lord is so excited to send this baby to our home. That I am a good mother and that you would find a way into this world. It was a nice blessing and I needed it so bad.”

She broke out in a mysterious rash that covered her legs and torso with terrible boils, she suffered pregnancy migraines that lasted for days, she had constant braxton hicks contractions that would stop her in her tracks and force her to take long slow deep breaths, and as her pregnancy advanced she lost control of her bowels. One ultra sound revealed that the placenta was tearing away from the uterus. This can mean certain death to the baby and even the mother. But after a blessing the next day another ultrasound showed no tare at all. She was cooking dinner one evening and reached over a hot skillet to retrieve something from the cupboard. A bit later she smelled something burning and looked down to discover her stomach was on fire. Her shirt and garments burned but miraculously she didn't. I remember her calling me and saying, “Mom really are you serious? My stomach is so big I can't even cook dinner without catching it on fire!! And to top it off I burned my good shirt! She broke her tail bone when she was thrown from a horse as a teenager. When her due date came and went it was discovered that the bone was preventing the baby's head from dropping into the birth canal. The Doctor had to break her tail bone and this too added to her discomfort. Not to mention it was 110 degrees outside and than in and of itself is a trial for any pregnant woman. She was sleeping in her garden tub because the water soothed her contractions enough to catch occasion sleep. I laughed so hard when Crystal looked down at her stomach one evening and said, “Little Man mommy is going to start charging you rent! Then she turned to me and said, “Mom can you send a baby an eviction notice!”

They scheduled her for an induction on July 17th four days past her due date. She woke up early that morning and new that she was already in labor. Her labor was difficult and very emotional. I couldn't talk about it for a long time. Crystal loves being surrounded by all of her sisters, mother and husband when she gives birth. It is an experience that has bonded us together and one I am so grateful for. She had to wait a couple hours to receive her epidural and was relieved when the anesthesiologist arrived. When the epidural failed to work she had to wait another 1 ½ hours for a second one. And then when that one failed it was another long wait for the third one. After the third epidural the anesthesiologist stayed in the room. I could tell by the way she was watching Crystal that something was wrong. Crystal mentioned she was sick and that she felt like she was on a boat. Then her blood pressure started to fall. I administered oxygen but within seconds they lost her blood pressure completely and then both her and the babies heart beat. Alarms sounded and the room filled up with nurses and Doctors. Her anesthesiologist stepped forward and said, “I know what's the matter! I have overdosed her on the epidural medication.” The anesthesiologist pulled some syringes from her smock and started giving her shots in her IV. I had been keeping Teele, our sons and some close friends updated by sending global text messages. I sent a text asking all of them to stop and pray for Crystal and the baby because we were losing them. After what seemed like an eternity her blood pressure started coming back up and her heart started to beat loud and strong and so did the babies. She crashed a second time but they were able to get that under control much faster. The time came to push and we were so excited. After 5 or 10 minutes the nurse asked the doctor, “What's that? Is that her uterus?” She was ordered to stop pushing and after an examination she was told that her uterus had closed and that she was only dilated to a 3. She would have to start all over again. They put her bed back together again and she continued to labor. After another 1 ½ hours we were told that it was time to push once again. Now throughout this day I kept having this feeling to tell her something but I kept it to myself I was afraid people would think I was crazy. Spencer was on her right side and me on her left. We were coaching her and encouraging her the best we could when the baby's head became stuck. This is when she lost control it was then that I decided to tell her the words I had been prompted to say but had withheld from her. I said, “Crystal, Heavenly Father wants you to know that you are giving birth to a choice spirit. A Stripling warrior and member of Gods Army. He wants you to know that this boy is special." Within moments our little Sage Lawrence entered the world.

Now don't get me wrong EVERY baby is special but there was something about Sage that just made him extra special. Even complete strangers noticed this. He was born tongue tied and had a difficult time latching on to nurse. He couldn't take a bottle or pacifier. So Crystal spent many hours each day working patiently to nurse him. But one day he was sucking his thumb and sliced the tender piece of skin that was causing him so much trouble. He never cried he just smiled at us even though we were freaking out because there was blood beside him and running down his cheeks.

The kids loved him! William remembers how strong he was. He said after Sage passed, “Mom you didn't know this but when we were in the van I would sit beside him and let him hold my finger. He was such a strong little boy and he loved holding my finger.”
Wayne is very tender hearted toward babies. He would be playing and suddenly stop and just lay beside Sage and stare at him and cover him in soft gentle kisses.
Trey liked bringing him toys to distract him from crawling over and taking his toy or messing up his train tracks.
Jayden is just starting to talk and I can still hear her sweet voice say, “Sage! Sage! When he would crawl over and mess up her play time.” But she was never mean. In fact she was always willing to sneak Sage a cookie when no one was looking. One day a few weeks ago Spencer looked over and saw Sage choking on Jayden's Biter Biscuit.

Spencer shared how he loved kissing Sage's cheeks. He would make sure that everyday he would place 30 kisses on each of his cheeks and how he LOVED hearing him giggle.

Crystal loved how happy he was every morning. He never woke up in a bad mood. He was just happy to see you.

Crystal and Spencer couldn't decide on a name. They new they wanted his middle name to be Lawrence after Spencer's father. But the first name had them stumped. I suggested the name Sage and Crystal said, “Mom I was thinking about that name too!” That's how his name came to be. I love that Sage means wise. Sage just always seemed to be exactly that...WISE. He would watch everyone all the time. He was quick to grab something he hadn't seen before and study it with great intensity. Spencer remembers how he noticed Daddy's new cell phone and how he didn't try to put it in his mouth as you would expect but instead held it in his hand slowly turning it over and over carefully studying it.

He really never cried. He was just happy to "BE" all the time. Crystal and I would be in the van shopping and running errands and the other four children would be fighting, laughing, playing and crying, or saying, "I'm hungry or so and so hit me" but Sage just sat there taking it all in. He just watched them all the time. They were his entertainment.

A few weeks ago Crystal expressed her frustration about nursing. She said, “Sage nurses all the time and I'm having a hard time getting everything I need to do done.” She looks back at it now as another one of God's Tender Mercies. She's so thankful that Sage was tongue tied and that he loved to nurse. It forced her to take the time to hold him for hours everyday. What she once thought was a trial has become a treasured Blessing.

Satan tried so hard to discourage her from bring Sage into this world, and she worried that she wouldn't be able to handle five children. She felt four was so many and now with Sage gone she feels like she lost half of her children and suddenly four children is not very many at all.

We look back at her pregnancy, the fall, the torn placenta, dehydration, breech presentation, and how we came close to losing both her and Sage not once but twice during the delivery. When all of this was happening it was easy to question Heavenly Father as to why all of this was happening. Now looking back we see how all of these things helped prepare the way for what was to come. Heavenly Father could have called Sage home at any time when she fell, when her uterus tore, or during the delivery. So now instead of asking, “Why did Sage have to go? He was only 8 months old! Crystal and Spencer have said, “Thank you Heavenly Father for 8 months to love, kiss, hold and cuddle our baby boy.”

Most of you know that William was adopted by Spencer. Crystal has agonized for nearly 9 years about the day she would have to tell him. She was so afraid of how it would affect him but a few weeks ago all of us felt prompted that it was time to tell him. On March 9th Crystal, Spencer and I sat down and told him about his birth father. He took the news fairly well. He had his moments of sadness and Crystal and Spencer became concerned when he began to act out in school. One morning just days after they told him Spencer woke William up for school and he asked him, “Hey buddy how are you doing?” William answered, “Dad I just need a vacation!” They got the kids off to school and Spencer turned to Crystal and said, “Hon how fast can you pack?” She asked, “Why where are we going and he said, well after looking over our finances if we pack bread and peanut butter we can take the kids to San Diego.” She said she packed so fast because she wasn't about to give him a chance to change his mind. They picked the boys up from school and were in California that evening.
Then next day Crystal called me, “She said, Mom I'm sitting up high with Sage. Spencer and the kids are down in the soak zone watching Shamu. I just keep crying. I don't know what's the matter with me. I'm just so happy to be with my husband and children. All of us together on this vacation.” She called me again that evening and again said she didn't know what was wrong, she cried when the dolphins splashed them, she cried when William got to see his favorite animal, the tree frogs, and when Wayne saw the sharks with sharp teeth. She took Sage around and showed him all the animals. She cried all day. She now knows that it was yet another tender mercy from her Father in Heaven. He was letting her know that she needed to enjoy this time together never knowing it would be the last vacation with Sage.

When they were at Sea World a photographer approached her and asked if he could photograph Sage. He kept telling her how drawn he was to him and how beautiful he was. She posed him in a bed of brightly colored flowers and they photographed him. She said yet again this was another one of the Lords Tender Mercies. It was days later they would find themselves sitting in a mortuary picking out flowers. She new exactly what she wanted. She wanted to surround him with all of the colors that surrounded him that day at Sea World. Picking his flowers out was easy.

The day before Sage passed away DJ needed Crystal to drive him to some banks to take care of business. She called me frustrated that she had to sit in the van all afternoon when there was so much to be done. The next day she said how thankful she was because she had sat in the van and held Sage for 2 hours. Two hours of holding, playing and kissing on her baby. Two hours she wouldn't have had if she had been home cleaning.
Uncle DJ and Sage

When Crystal called me Thursday morning I never expected to hear her screams or to hear her say to me that Spencer had just found the baby not breathing in his crib. That he was performing CPR and that 911 had been called. I told her we would be right over. The ride to her house seemed to take forever but Teele tells me he was going 85 miles per hour. I ran from the truck and flew up the stairs and when I entered their bedroom I saw one police officer standing in the room and my daughter with a look on her face no mother should ever have to have or see on their childs face.

Then I saw Spencer on the floor and I was so impressed with how calm he was. How perfectly he was performing CPR. I lay on the floor and kissed the top of Sages head, played with his hair and touched his cheeks. I stood up as Teele entered the room and he lay down on the other side of Sage, Placed his hands on his head and gave him a blessing. I will let him talk about that moment as it is his story to tell. But I can not explain what a sweet, tender, spiritual moment it was to see these two fathers. Both worthy honorable priesthood holders and the love they had for their son. Later we would all say it was at that moment that we knew Sage's little spirit returned to the Father.
Grandpa Teele holding Sage for the 1st Time

The room filled with authorities and the questions began. They told us we couldn't be with Sage again until after the body had been released. It was then that Teele did something so remarkable. He took the homicide detectives outside and told them, “Buddy it's not going to go down like this. You will not come into this home and BAG this baby. I am going upstairs and carrying that baby down and placing him in his mothers arms. She will tell him goodbye as will each of us.” The detectives went outside and after some time came in and said, “That they all agreed there is no foul play. This is the home of a wonderful family. We have been in each of the kids rooms and photographed the entire home and it's all about family. All of the photos, pictures of Christ and just the spirit in the home. None of us feel there have been any wrong doing. You may go get your Grandson.”

Teele did just that. This big rough tough cowboy of a man I married gently cradles Sage to his chest and placed him lovingly in his mothers arms. Each of us got to hold him one last time. Then Teele carried him away and placed him in the County Coroners van and closed the door.

We are no longer ashamed of our tears they are tears of Love and Joy and not a sign of weakness or lack of faith. Bishop Nevitt told us that evening that if he didn't see us crying he would be concerned because that would mean we didn't truly understand the gift of Sage's life and that is so true.

Sage was a gift to each of us. Touching each of our lives in a different way making each of us a better person just by being in his presence. As I told Crystal the day he was born he is a "Chosen Son of God he is a valiant little soldier".

Crystal as your mother I say this to you it is normal for grieving mothers to cry. I know you have been worried that others would find you weak or lacking in faith because of your tears. You are right to feel that mothers are supposed to die before their children. We expect that our children and grandchildren will bury us and not the other way around. I know you know the plan of salvation. I know you have faith in the Lord Jesus Christ and that it gives you hope. But no matter how much faith you have, you will never stop missing Sage. At times the separation will seem unbearable. That is okay. Missing them is the hard part. It doesn't mean you don't believe or have faith in Jesus. It just means that you are normal. No matter how we picture heaven or how often you picture Sage in the arms of Christ, the reality is want him here and not there. Jesus understands this. He will never be angry because you love and miss Sage. Instead he will continue to offer you His tender mercies, grace and love. Do not be afraid of this journey you must now take because you do not walk it alone. You have a loving compassionate husband that is taking this journey with you. You have been blessed with many family and friends each of them love you and will be there for you. Above all remember that you are never alone that Christ walks beside you every step of the way.

Spencer and Crystal I want to thank you from the bottom of my heart for the privilege of being there when Sage took his first breath and I will be eternally grateful that I was also there for his last. Something happened inside me the day Sage died. I now look forward to Heaven. My fear of death vanished the moment Sage passed. I will never be afraid of death again. I look forward to Heaven and the Day that I can be with my grandson again.

Crystal and Spencer...I Love You.

I say these things in the name of Jesus Chirst...Amen
Spencer, Jayden, Crystal and Aunt RaLee
A Father's Love
Jayden watching her brother's casket being taken from the Limo...holding the red balloon she wanted to release for him.