I will never forget the best day of our lives, November 27, 2012. It was the day our son Drew Joseph Boswell was born. Every mother knows the bliss of seeing and holding your sweet baby for the first time. That experience cannot be put into words, because it is so amazing and pure. Amidst the chaos of family and friends, there I was, adamantly demanding that everyone within a 20 foot radius confirm to me that, yes, this was the prettiest baby they had ever seen. A comment that has always stuck with me was when someone in the crowd that first day said Drew’s birthday in future years would sometimes fall on Thanksgiving Day. How wonderful, I thought, for our precious son to celebrate his birthday on a day filled with joy and gratitude. Never did I imagine that November 27 would be a day that would bring anything but cake, kiddos, and happy chaos to the Boswell household.
On March 12, 2014, my husband and I awoke, but our son did not.
Drew passed away from SUDC (Sudden Unexplained Death in Childhood), an incredibly rare diagnosis of exclusion for children over one year old, who pass away in their sleep. SUDC affects around 200 children each year in the U.S., and there is no known cause, leaving families like ours with no answers.
Over these past eight months, my faith, character, and ability to hope have been tested by the unimaginable grief that accompanies the loss of our baby. My arms literally aching for Drew, the crushing silence of our home, and the yearning that will never go away. Each day is its own little struggle. It seems implausible that the world can keep on spinning without our Drew dancing, smiling, kissing, and in general, setting the world on fire in pint-sized form.
The approaching holidays have loomed over us like a dark cloud at times.
Often, during the last eight months, we have been filled with apprehension and dread, since Drew’s second birthday will be this Thanksgiving Day, November 27, 2014.
Amazingly, the day that filled me with so much apprehension for so long is upon us, and my thought process has done a 180 as I realize what a gift this is. Drew’s birthday falling on Thanksgiving has led me to really reflect on these last two years. Finally, my sweet husband and I have come to the realization that in spite of this unimaginable loss, we have been blessed in so many ways. We will not see our little man blow out candles or perhaps try to wield a turkey leg like a weapon. However, I was and I am Drew’s mother, which in itself is a reason to be overwhelmed with gratitude and thanksgiving.
Here are some things for which we are most grateful, as our family begins a new chapter of thankfulness:
First and foremost, I am thankful for every second of the 15 months that I spent with my beloved son, Drew Joseph Boswell, every.single.second.
I am thankful for each kiss, squeal, sound, hug, or smile we shared with Drew.
I am thankful for the videos and pictures we have of Drew, which allow us to cherish and relive special moments with our happy and beloved son.
I am thankful that my marriage has not crumbled, as sometimes happens to bereft parents. At its very core, our marriage has grown stronger, and our love is much deeper, despite the battle scars we both bear from our journey of grief.
I am thankful that my husband and I and some dear friends, fueled only by an unwavering determination to honor Drew’s legacy, were able to found Drew’s Tunes.
I am thankful for each of the 125 children we have been able to share Drew’s love of music with in the last five months. Many of these kids are from the most high risk areas of New Orleans. The love and joy we have seen on these small faces, some of whose daily lives are often a struggle beyond our comprehension, makes me think Drew must be so proud. Drew wanted nothing more than for people to be happy, and we are working to make this happen in his name. I cannot physically love my child on earth, but I can love these children and their reciprocation has helped me begin the healing process.
I am thankful that in my darkest hours, SUDC found me. This wonderful organization is made up of brave mothers who have walked this path before me. SUDC sponsors research, with the goal of finding answers, so that future families will not experience such a loss. Just last week, the U.S. Senate passed the Sudden Unexpected Death Data Enhancement and Awareness Act, for which we are profoundly grateful. Hopefully, the legislation will soon become law.
I am thankful to each and every person who took the time to say Drew’s name or tell me they were thinking about us, when it would have been much easier to remain silent, out of fear of saying the wrong thing.
The subsequent child after a loss is known as a rainbow baby. My husband and I are expecting our rainbow, and although it will never take away our longing for Drew, we like to think our smiling angel had a part in blessing us with this bundle of joy – just when we needed it most. We understand that this gift of light and beauty does not negate the storm of loss preceding it. Being a mother is by far my greatest joy and accomplishment. My husband and I can’t wait to hold this baby and learn about the unique gifts he or she will have for the world.
This Thanksgiving, on Drew’s birthday, instead of being angry or sad, we will strive to be filled with love and remembrance. Our son and his 15 months on earth has impacted the lives of many in positive ways. In carrying on Drew’s legacy, we hope to have a small part in making the world a better place.
Happy Birthday Drew! Mama and Daddy love you so much. We miss you desperately, but you have always and will always give us so many reasons to be grateful. Thank you for teaching us this lesson, our sweet little man.
About Georgia Boswell
Georgia Boswell hails from Minden, Louisiana, but has been proud to call New Orleans home for 10 years. Georgia attended Louisiana Tech University for undergraduate and has a Masters in Hospitality and Tourism Management from the University of New Orleans. She enjoys reading, traveling and enjoying the many treasures New Orleans has to offer. Georgia has always worked in sales, first in the hospitality industry and currently in medical sales. She met her husband, Devron, during Mardi Gras 2007 and they officially became Team Boswell on May 23, 2009. They were blessed to welcome Drew Joseph Boswell to the world on November 27, 2012. Drew passed away from SUDC (Sudden Unexplained Death in Childhood) on March 12, 2014. Georgia and Devron started Drew’s Tunes to honor Drew by providing musical resources to children and supporting SUDC who provided a wealth of resources to their family after the loss of Drew. Georgia hopes to have more children and tell them all about their amazing big brother.