Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Happy Birthday Isaac! -Love Dad

Disclaimer: I must warn the reader from the beginning that this will not be another amazing blog written by my sweet wife, Stephanie. She is celebrating and remembering Isaac on this special day in so many ways, but it is my honor to get to write this time. I am in no way as gifted as she is, especially when it comes to writing, but I look forward to writing this tribute to my son as his Dad. With that said, here's to you Isaac, my firstborn son, my example, my friend, the one I long to be with, the one who never needed to make this journey on earth his place, but the one who will never be replaced. I love you, son!

As I reflect on the previous year, I am overwhelmed with so many feelings, emotions, and lessons learned that it will be a struggle to express them in a coherent and meaningful way, but my best effort is always all that I have to give. My life has been filled with endless opportunities to seek success. Why I am so blessed, I don't know, but experience has allowed me to see that so much good has come to me despite my inadequacies and shortcomings. It all began with loving parents who pushed me to be the best and never settle for second place. It was a humbling day when I began to realize that the Walton boys weren't actually the fastest, smartest, and most handsome boys in town, despite the constant assurance from my mom of that simple truth :). Despite not being perfect, the drive that my parents instilled in me has pushed me to be the best I can and I long to do the same for my children. My parents taught me so much, but one of the greatest lessons I learned was the power of love ~ especially a Mother's love! This power has only been solidified as I have observed another amazing mother love and care for our two children. Stephanie is an amazing woman and I am so lucky to be working hand in hand with her. 

First, a brief mention of the two girls that mean the most to Isaac on this Earth - his mother and his big sister

I will never forget the day I met Isaac's mom! I was at a young singles activity at church thinking I was all cool in the corner with the polynesian crowd. In walks a beautiful young lady and I did what any smart young man would do - I acted like I didn't see her :). As she approached the corner, I tried to remember and recite in my mind over and over what my mom always told me. "I'm the coolest, smartest, most handsome guy in town!" Of course she would notice me, right? We exchanged hellos and that was about it. A little later in the evening, we chatted for a brief second and there was something in her that caught my eye. I returned home that evening with a little bounce in my step, a little giddy - the kind I enjoy making fun of in the movies. My mom asked me how the night was and I replied semi-serious, semi-jokingly, "I met the girl I'm going to marry!" I'm not sure my charm won Stephanie over that quickly but I was determined. 

Fast forward a while and here we are, sitting on a couch at Stephanie's sister's house after just discussing for the first time the idea of marriage and how it was what we both wanted. Without a second's delay, I turned to her and with both nervousness and excitement in my voice said, "WHOA, you are going to be the mother of my children!!" Maybe not the most romantic thing to say in the moment, but WOW what a mother to our children she has been. Stephanie, you are incredible!

Second, a word about Isaac's big sister, Sydney. I am sure he would want her mentioned in his birthday post. Our plan for Sydney was so different. We planned on bringing home a little sibling so much sooner for her to grow up with. She still longs to have that companion to play with during the day and comfort her as she lays down for bed at night. While Isaac never got to come home and do those two things, he has and is fulfilling his role as her little brother and she is likewise doing amazingly in her role as big sister. Sunday, at church, Sydney wanted to draw a picture of our family. Only halfway invested in what she was wanting as I listened to the speakers at church, I quickly helped her draw three circles for our heads - Mommy, Daddy, and Sydney. She quickly looked up at me with a scowl in her eyes and corrected me. She added one more circle and informed me that Isaac needed to be in the picture as well. The brief sadness I felt for forgetting to include the circle for Isaac's little head was quickly overcome by my admiration for Sydney. She never forgets her brother and is the best big sister Isaac could have. I love you Sydney!

The news that we were pregnant with Isaac was so exciting. We were happy to be growing our family and life was perfect. I had yet to experience deep heart ache, the kind that makes your soul ache. The pain that so many already know or will certainly come know at some point. I was naive to the possibility and felt invincible. The day that we learned of Isaac's diagnosis and prognosis, I would like to say that our lives were turned upside down. However, in that moment, they weren't. The news, while surprising and sad, was just that -- news. The kind of news you see online that you browse through quickly, think "how interesting", and then forget about. It wasn't our reality. The words were delivered by several doctors and we understood them fully, but I was still invincible, we were still invincible. This was my son we were talking about. He was the one that was going to follow in my footsteps. He was going to grow to be just like his Dad! Trisomy 18, Edward's Syndrome, blah blah. Those were just things that would come and go. The idea of things not working out wasn't a possibility. Things were so perfect, the diagnosis could not be true. I had more important things to do as I prepared for my son to arrive. Denial? Probably! Fear? Yet to be accepted! Sadness? Briefly! Faith? Growing! 

My finite mind, emphasis on the finite, was pretty caught up in the here and now. I was excited for Sydney to have a sibling. I was hopeful to have a boy. I wanted Sydney to have a strong brother that would protect her. I wanted a future soccer star that I could cheer on as a proud dad. I wanted my son! I had so many wishes, so many expectations, so much anticipation. And on Issac's one year birthday, all I know for sure is that HE has exceeded all my expectations:

Sydney knows better than us all what it means to call Isaac her brother. Their bond is unbreakable and I can't wait for the day to see them reunited. He watches over her and will be her protector, no doubt! I remember the day Stephanie and I looked at each other one night during the pregnancy and almost at the same time said to each other, "How is Sydney going to take all of this?" This was the turning point for me. It finally became bigger than me. It wasn't just my problem, my emotions weren't the only ones at stake. For the first time, I was afraid. I didn't know what to do, I wasn't sure what to say. The task at hand seemed to great. Fast forward one year and through divine help and with the support of angels - both the mortal ones and spiritual ones - Sydney has been cared for and her relationship with her BROTHER couldn't be stronger. 

We are all given bodies that truly are miraculous. I'm dedicating part of my life, as a future doctor, to learning how it works and how to fix it. The beautiful thing about our bodies is that we were all created as individuals. Each of us has our own strengths and weaknesses. God doesn't expect us to do everything on our own. As a matter of fact, he knew we couldn't do much of anything on our own. He sent his son Jesus Christ to earth for that very reason - so that we could do something; so that we could overcome our weaknesses and return to Him. 

As I reflect on what so many would deem weaknesses or imperfections that plagued Isaac's body, I just sit back in awe at what he was able to do given his circumstance. I will cherish forever the day we got to hold Isaac's body. I was so proud of him; more proud than I ever could have been watching him score his first goal. He fought so hard in his little body and made it so far. He was strong, handsome, a real champ in my books! I recently took a big licensing exam for medical school and my favorite section of my 700 page review book was "Isaac's page". He was so much more than just a diagnosis in a medical book, a statistic, a number. He was special, he was "1 in 8000" (or greater) special. He fought till the end, he was the MVP of the game, and I am still his #1 fan! 

As a SON:
Isaac is and will always be my son. Throughout Stephanie's 9 month pregnancy with Isaac, the sadness of not having Isaac with us at some future point did not keep us from enjoying the time we had with him, however long it may be. We chose to focus on the present. We looked for things to do as a family, things to do with our son. We grew so close to him; he truly became a part of our everyday life. He was alive, his heart was beating, he was fighting, and we were proud of him. The joy of having him with us every minute of every day persisted until that Sunday afternoon on August 4th, 2013, when we went in to search on ultrasound for a heart that we feared was no longer beating. The young doctor came in, confirmed our fears, and left. All of the emotions, the good and bad, the happy and sad, the hope and despair, all seemed to come crashing down on me at this moment. I lost it! My son was gone, his heart had stopped, his spirit had left his body. For the first time in 9 months, I couldn't contain the tears. However, just as quickly as the pain came, the comfort was there. The love of another Father, our Heavenly Father, concerned for His son in need overpowered any feelings of despair that would have left me hopeless. The promise Christ left his disciples before leaving them towards the end of his life flooded my mind. "Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid." (John 14:27) That peace had been such a critical part of this whole process and this moment was no exception. 

The following morning, August 5, 2013, Stephanie delivered Isaac and that experience will forever be sacred to us. The time we had with him was incredible and the opportunity we had to hold his little body we will cherish forever. I remember some teasing me for the care I took and time I spent cleaning Isaac's body. How could I not? His hair had to be just right, his eyes needed to be cleaned, his skin (though delicate) had to shine. He was reporting for duty on the other side of the veil and he had to look his best. Just look at him! What a handsome young man! 

Isaac's life, and death, have reached so far outward. As his father, I will never truly know how great of an impact his life has had and will continue to have on so many. His legacy lives on and I'm so grateful for the many glimpses I have had at the good that HE is accomplishing here still. 

Throughout the pregnancy with Isaac, Stephanie and I knew that his life would be a miracle. We prayed, fasted, and prayed some more for the miracles we hoped to see. While we were unsure how the miracle would unfold, we knew that it would be. We hoped for time, but God gave us patience instead. We hoped for a strong heart for our baby, but God touched ours instead. We hoped for a healthy little boy, but God gave us Isaac, an angel, instead. His body was little, his heart was maimed, his lungs were weak, but HE was strong. He is the miracle! Though his time here was short, he accomplished so much, and I'm so proud to honor him today on his first birthday!  

Jesus Christ commanded us to be perfect. (Matthew 5:48) While I still seek that, I look to Isaac as my example. Isaac, you were too perfect for this world, you were to great to dwell here with us. Your spirit could not be contained in mortality. I always knew that you would be a giant, a star, someone to look up to. While at first I thought I would be the one cheering you on from the sidelines of your first game, on your first day of school, as you set off on your mission, as you took the one you loved to the House of the Lord to be married, I now accept that the roles are reversed. I know you are up there looking down on me and your family as we go through life. Cheer us on, we need your support! We will be back soon and that day will be incomprehensibly beautiful. 

The greatest hope I have as a husband, father, and son, is to have the relationships I have created on this earth persist beyond the grave. I'm proud to know that I have one son that has made it back to dwell with our Heavenly Father and now I just hope that I can live my life and lead my family in a way that will allow us to return to be with Isaac again.  

Isaac, I love you more than words can describe. 
You are the best son a father could ask for! 
I miss you and long for the day I get to see you again. 


*For Isaac's Slideshow, CLICK HERE. 


  1. Such a sweet birthday post. I know without a doubt that Isaac is so proud of his mom, dad, and sister as well and he's always there rooting for you!

    Love you guys!


    1. He loves you too, Teri! And so do we! Thank you!!

  2. No need for a disclaimer Scott. Your words were remarkably touching. I have been balling my eyes out for the last 20 mins. I'm so touched and heartbroken for all of you. I admire you and Steph so much and can't even comprehend the pain you all have felt. Thanks for opening your heart for all to get a small glympse of the pain you have felt. We love you guys so much. And syd is so smart and beautiful only because of her parents. I can't say more than what you have already said about Isaac. I feel so blessed to have been there to hold his little precious body and feel of his huge spirit and love. We love ALL 4 of you dearly. Happy birthday Isaac. You are missed and thought of daily.

    1. :) Thank you Melissa! We all love you too- all 4 of us! We are grateful to share it for the beauty that is in this experience. It is worth all the pain! Love you!

  3. I'm so touched by this post by Isaac's Daddy. What a remarkable journey your family has been through. I love your family and your example to us all! Happy Birthday Isaac!

    1. We love you and your family too Chandra!! Thank you for your love!💕

  4. Loved every word of this. I have thought a lot about a year ago today... All the feelings, all the beauty and sacredness of his body being born into this world and his spirit being so strong and so real. It truly is incredible. He has changed this world and continues to do so. Scott, thank you for being such a great man. Thank you for leading your family in love and righteousness. It's so wonderful to see a man of God blessing his family in so many ways. You are an awesome family and I love you all! Happy 1st Birthday to Isaac.

    1. Love you so much Ashlee and I love your love for Isaac and your feelings and experiences with him. They make me happy!


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