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Journee Jai Hawkins 07/31/2009

Updated: Jul 31



It was 7:00 am I woke up to get ready for work just like a did every morning. Went to check on her she was lying face down on the pillow. You see that was not alarming for me Journee had a strange obsession with smothering herself. When I would breastfeed, her she would put her entire head in my boob and then push me away for air and then repeat. It didn’t matter how you put her to sleep she would always end up face down. This time when I saw her, I thought to myself this little girl… I turned her over but she never moved, we had our routine I wake up she face down I turn her over she makes a noise and move I change her diaper kiss over her and then make her bottle and stick it in there with her. But this time there was absolutely no movement, I felt her leg it was slightly cold, so I put a cover over it. What’s so odd is I never had a bad feeling I never felt as though something was wrong. I picked her up ran in the room and yelled “John there is something wrong with Journee” These are words that still haunt him to this day. He grabbed her and attempted to do CPR, with the fear of crushing her lungs we grabbed her ran out of the house. The hospital was literally around the corner and we didn’t want to waste any time getting her there. What we didn’t anticipate was traffic. We get to the light and there is traffic everywhere I look to the left and notice a payphone. I jump out the car ran straight to the payphone while John sits in the passenger seat holding Our only daughter his only child lifeless rocking, praying, crying. The dispatcher answers the phone, " what’s your emergency", I yell "my daughter she is not breathing". I would never forget her first words were "ma’am try to calm!" down those words stung like a dagger. To be honest, I don’t remember the rest of the conversation I looked at the car and I notice there were people surrounding it and shortly the ambulance came. They grabbed Journee from my husband and said, "let’s go now; we may be able to still save her". Apparently, I fell to the ground in a pile of red ants cause one of the guys said "ma’am watch out for the ants. Let’s go we will do everything we can to save her." We followed them to the hospital praying, crying, saying to ourselves "she will be ok she will be ok". We get into the hospital in the room and there my baby girl is lying there lifeless. I look at the Dr and he said the words that haunt me till today. "Sorry, she’s gone"… "NO!" I said "she can’t be, try again… Everyone stop what you doing and pray … God will bring her back y’all just got to pray." My pastor at the time he was a prayer warrior I called out for him "someone call Pastor Brent he will pray for her and she will come back." The Dr looks at me with a haze in his eyes and said, "no sorry it’s too late she is gone. Tells the nurse to call the time 7:53 am

" my daughter was pronounced dead at 7:53 am. Shortly I saw she begin to poop, and I said, "look she’s back she pooping!" the Dr says, "No that’s the rest of her that’s her last act."


The entire room got dark and passed out. I hit my head on the floor hoping it would explode or something and I would be free from this nightmare. When I got up the nightmare was not over it was still here. The Dr left the room and said, "take as much as time as you need with her." There we were looking at our daughter on the hospital bed being forced to say our last goodbyes. Shortly after the Chaplin and the police came in the room to take us to the Chapel where we had to notify our parents of what happened. What was odd was the entire time there was a calm the only thing that was chaotic was us. Coincidentally the Chaplin and the police had both loss a baby to SIDS and no one ever asked us anything. I said to the Chaplin "I found her face down does that mean she suffocated?" He looked at me and said, "no sweetheart she didn’t suffocate, she passed from Sudden infant death syndrome," and I’m like how you know? He mentioned there will be an autopsy to rule out contributing factors, but they are certain. While I called my father, John called his mom and there we were having to try to explain to our parents that our baby just somehow woke up dead. The police escorted us back to our home, asked if there was anyone else, we needed to notify I never showed up to work that day so I asked if he could tell my job. He called my job and let them know what had occurred, gave us a card, and the name of a counselor, and that was that. He was gone and we were there in the house, that just a day before was just as normal as can be. Shortly after friends and family began to arrive. The rest of the time was a blur all I remember is the feeling of absence trying to make sense out of what was happening. A few days later we had to go to the Morgue to get her dress I was warned I shouldn’t go back there but I had to see for myself cause a part of me didn’t think it was real. There she was head cut open knotted bruised that wasn’t my baby what did they do to her? The stitches were crooked, they didn’t sew it right she was not her. Why did I have to look why couldn’t I just leave well enough alone? We needed a diaper for her but was too far away to go to the house and get one we go to the general dollar up the street and said, "listen our daughter is in the morgue up the street we just need 1 diaper so they can get her ready." We had to go pick her a dress, the last dress she would ever wear. And that was it.



They put her in a coffin, and we drove almost 300 miles back to Oklahoma in a car while our baby was in a coffin in the car in front of us 300 miles… once we got to Oklahoma everything was kind of a blur people gathered around showed their support and there we were trapped in our new normal while everyone was moving on around us. Never did we imagine the Journey that would await us. After the funeral, after the get-togethers, there you are stuck and trapped reliving the tragic moment. Asking yourself did you do something to cause this, where you the blame of this? Is this real? Surely you will wake up soon this has got to be a bad nightmare. Never did we imagine the emptiness we would feel the pain that will soon eat up our entire insides till there is nothing left but a shell. A Few months have passed, and I get a phone call from the hospital saying her death certificate was in. I asked, "can you tell me what it says? "Even though the Dr said SIDS I still couldn’t help but believe because I found her face down, she must have suffocated. The Dr says words that have changed me forever. The exact words on the death certificate read; Sudden unexplained Infant death- no contributing factors (Act of God).

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