Monday, August 3, 2009

Josiah Andrew Haak: Feb 16 '07 - Aug 2 '09

Hello Everyone

I realize that there will be many of you who have been following Josiah's story since the beginning who are aching to hear what happened in the last 24 hours that so quickly brought our precious Josiah into Jesus' presence.

It doesn't make it any easier, but we can see many signs along the way of how God ordained this day to be. Josiah had just completed his first big road trip: he visited Grandpa & Grandma's farm in Enderby, he got to walk through Gardom Lake Bible Camp with us, and he was able to visit with family - especially his great-grandmother - in Calgary. Josiah passed in peace, and was assisted by a Christian firmen who we knew and a Christian police officer who took our phone book and made calls on our behalf. Josiah's body was sustained until the afternoon so that I and others were able to say our good-byes, though it quite possible that he was already in heaven and his body was just on auto-response.

Josiah had a wonderful day on Saturday. He went for a walk through his favourite parts of Mill Lake, went shopping and bought gifts for some of his friends, and attended his buddy Sammy's birthday party, where he played and played and played.

There was no indication that anything was wrong. Josiah was fully cleared up from his ear infection that he had 2 weeks earlier. He was sneezing a lot from his allergies, but was incredibly happy, content, and playful.

Marie was woken by our nurse around 12:30 AM. Josiah was in a typical seizure and then nothing. No stress, no coughing, no slowing down of the heart, just nothing. In second Josiah was gone in complete peace. The nurse was so confused, and Marie and him just thought the sat-probe was off because there was no indication that Josiah went through any trauma. But he was white and gone.

You can imagine what happened: confusion, screaming, alike. I was in Grand Forks with our youth camping trip and so it was Marie and the nurse. Marie did CPR and pounded his chest until the paramedics arrived. A fireman from our church was first on the scene. A police officer called family and church members, and arranged for Grand Forks RCMP to come to our camping site and inform me of the situation. I left Grand Forks at 3 AM and was able to be with Marie & Josiah at BCCH by 10 AM.

The firemen and paramedics first tried CPR, then the paddles which didn't work. They gave him a short of epinephiryn (sp?) - heart juice - and continued with the paddles which this time re-started his heart. But Josiah had been without a pulse and not breathing for at least 10 minutes.

Josiah was taken to Abbotsford Regional Hospital and then flown to BCCH. When he reached BCCH, his temperature was out of control, a sign that his brain was unable to function properly. His body temperature reached 42 C - hot enough to damage his brain - a so they cooled his body with a ice blanket to help him out.

By noon he had stabilized, heart rate around 150 bpm and his temperature was down. And though he was off his sedatives, he didn't indicate that he was with us. Though he was breathing on his own and would wiggle his thumb, smack his lips, and flicker his eyes a bit, the absence of any coughing to clear his lungs and his soaring temperature were enough of a sign to realize that he was gone.

We opted to treat him as would at home: Tylenol, oxygen, etc and see what would happen. It is difficult because the ventilator complicates the whole dying process. It was obvious within a few hours that he was getting worse: his temperature came back, his heartrate became irregular and sky-rocketed and his breathing became very stressed and ineffective.

Josiah passed around 5:30 PM on August 2nd, 2009. He was surrounded by his parents, Marie & Andrew, his grandparents, Don & Bev Haak, and our pastor Rob & Leanne Dyck. We sang with wavering voices, we cried, and Marie & I held Josiah close as he went. It was difficult - the worst day of my life - but we believe that despite what his body was going through that Josiah was in peace, felt no pain, and was perhaps already in heaven though his body was with us.

We were blessed to have many of our family and friends join us as Josiah was entering heaven. Many were able to say their good-byes and hold him one last time. We are blessed to be loved so deeply, death is always best as a community.

We know Josiah is best off in heaven and for that reason we don't want him back. But we miss him so much. He was in God's hands from the very beginning, and he is there now in God's presence free of all the challenges and obstacles that he faced on a daily basis here.

As you all know, Josiah was unique in more than just his physical challenges. He had a presence, a spirit that transcended all of his limitations so that he touched more lives than any toddler could. Strangers on the street, families on all continents, and friends and family who interacted with him regularly, we all experienced God's blessing through the love Josiah gave everyone. His smile, his touch, his eyes that looked right at you shared more than any words could say.

Memorial arrangements will hopefully be communicated within the next day. We ask for prayer, not only for us and the many families who are grieving, but also for the planning that needs to take place through the next week. Obviously we want the whole process to be as easy and trouble-free as possible.

There are no words to express the heartbreak that Marie & I will live with for the rest of our days. And we understand that many of you will also walk with that same heartbreak. And in the same way, there are no words to express our sorrow for all of you who are grieving alongside of us.

For all those who have cheered, wailed, prayed, and supported Josiah, Marie & I through the last two and a half years, we are grateful beyond comprehension. Josiah lived and beat the odds because of the prayers of you were heard by our powerful God. Josiah was "supported by the Lord" (as his name means), and he continues to in that reality now by Jesus' side.

There is much still to say, and maybe there will be time for Marie and I to share more of our heart. We'll see what the next days and weeks will bring. For the moment we live just to make the next decision.

We are broken. Yet in the grace, strength, and mercy of our God and Saviour, and the presence of Spirit and people, we are forever blessed.
- Andrew, Marie, and - our precious gift from God - Josiah


joshkeller said...


Its been many a year since we have communicated... two years at BBC and many shared moments of laughter and depth of heart create incredible ties that are really ties that will last an eternity... through those ties come great shared joy and also shared sorrow in moments like this... My wife Rachel, my little man Elijah and I will be praying intentionally for you and your family... it is true... when one part of the body hurts, so does another... and here in Nebraska, we hurt with you... we love you bro...



christy said...

thank you so much for sharing your story and your heart. It is amazing how you are able to see God in all this. Continue to hold onto that. It is still hard to lose a child or a loved one but when we know that they are "home" it brings a peace like no other. You are in my thoughts and prayers, thank you again for being so open and keeping everyone posted even when it would seem that was the last thing you felt like doing.

Harv said...

Andrew, you have so graciously allowed us to share in your family's journey. Thank you for your heartfelt and honest thoughts about Josiah's life and God's hand in it. Your perspective has shown me and I'm sure many others the nature of a loving God in the midst of trials and suffering.

It is our prayer that you and Marie will continue to experience His love and comfort in the days to come.

All our love,
Jean + Harv

Brad & Karen said...

Oh, my. We have just returned from vacation and today we were checking into to see how the little man was doing. What a sad shock to read that Josiah passed away. Josiah, Marie, Andrew, you are since an inspiration to our family. Lauren and I still cherish the time we got to peek into your world and meet Marie and Josiah at BCCH. You are highist priority in our prayer life at this time. We are so thankful that you have a faith and trust in God, Josiah is now healed in the hands of God.
Praying for you
Karen, Brad, Lauren, Dana
North Delta, BC

Abbi said...

You and Marie and your entire family and community are in my prayers down in Texas. I pray for God's comforting peace to continually cover you and guide you through this journey in your life. Josiah's story has touched my heart. As Josh Keller said in his comment, when one part of the body hurts, so does another. Here in Texas, we're praying, rejoicing, and hurting with you. Blessings on you all.

Bev J. said...

Thank you Andrew for sharing so eloquently in the midst of your grief. I am glad that Josiah got to go to Alberta and that he spent a fun time at Mill Lake too. He is now HOME FREE! - free from his little body which he fought so hard to sustain - free from restrictions - free from seizures and medications and free from this sinful world. Now he is HOME in heaven safe in the arms of Jesus. We who know the Savior will see him again someday. God bless, comfort and strengthen you and Marie and your extended family. Ross and I will continue to pray for you today and in the coming days and weeks. Lots of love, Bev

Yvonne and Eric said...

Andrew & Marie,
I want you to know that I will be praying for you in the days and weeks to come as you plan and mourn. There are no words to express how truly sorry I am.

Bloggy Mama said...

I've followed your story since the start. My sorrow is with you, yet I know that Jesus rejoices today to have Josiah with Him. What a party in Heaven! Praying for happy memories to cover your hearts and for God's hand to be over you all.
With prayer,
~Elizabeth deVries

karl and stacy said...

hi andrew and marie

hes in a better place

yes we know it is hard but he is watching over you guys

please keep us intouch on when the memorial is we would liek to come and give our deepest sympthay to you and your family at this tragic loss

god bless

Karl, stacy, tyson, jordan , an dyou guys know ETHAN ellis

Becky said...

Andrew and Marie, I am so so sorry that you have to deal with something that no parent should have to deal with.

Josiah, in his short time, was truly a blessing in your lives, even as a distant observer through your blog, it is incredibly obvious. As a parent, I know that it can be easy to take the little things for granted, but following your blog, you guys never did.

My prayers are with you guys now. May you lean on the Lord and each other for strength.

melissafed said...

Dear Andrew and Marie,

We are so profoundly sorry for you loss. We didn't get the opportunity to meet your son, but have visited your blog occasionally and thought of you often.

We will ask the God of all comfort to cover over, surround and be with you in an ever increasing way. Take very good care of each other...
In Christ,
Joel and Melissa Feddersen

Anonymous said...

Andrew and Marie - we are so very sorry and sad. We grieve with you.
Love, the Lapointes (Tony, Beckie, Ben, Aria, Chrissy and Faith)

Tamara said...

Thank you for sharing this. Andrew and Marie, you are both in my prayers in this time. Thank you for sharing so much of Josiah's (and your) story on this blog. Even though I never had the opportunity to meet Josiah, just hearing his story has touched my life.

mommyrox said...

My heart aches for you, but I know that you and Marie are both so very strong not only with the Lord, but with your love for each other. We have been following your story in our small town in Western NY and your faith has taught us all so many lessons. I pray that that the Lord will continue to teach us through your message.
God Bless

Anonymous said...

Oh Andrew and Marie. This update has my heart reeling with pain and sorrow, as only one who has lost a child can identify. God has given you both such strength to walk this journey with Josiah. He will not leave you now. I too have been thinking about your family as we drive down the number 1 hwy by Balmoral store we see the sign that says "Welcome Home Josiah, Marie and Andrew". Now reading your story we know that was intended for you. I pray God's peace as you walk the next stretch of heartwrenching road. Luckily you are surrounded by people who are so good at taking care of you when you are hurting. Our healing was greatly aided by ACC and I pray God's comfort as you grieve.

Darla and Steve Pauls

Demara said...

I'm happy Josiah is at peace with the Lord, loving every minute of it I'm sure!

Love you both!

I'm sorry for the shock and hole/loss you must be feeling.

I'm praying that you would feel a sense of fullness, even now.

dankasworld said...

I am so sorry for your loss. God bless you as you journey through your sorrow.

Shawn and Susan said...

So sorry for you guys.
You are in our thoughts and prayers.
We were away for the weekend and got the news from my sister...
Take care.
Shawn and Susan Kamstra

Sharon said...

Marie & Andrew,

I'm so sorry.
Our thoughts and prayers go out to you and your loved ones.


Anonymous said...

I can not even imagine the heart ache and sadness you guys are experiencing right now! Josiah was a beautiful, heaven-sent angel who touched MANY lives! Andrew and Marie your strength and faith has been an absolute inspiration and encouragement to me! You are in our CONTINUED prayers! God is near!

Cassi Phelps (Born)

Anonymous said...

Marie and Andrew,
The thoughts and prayers of my family will be with you in the days and months to come. I admire your ability to see the light of God in this time. Knowing that Josiah is walking alongside Jesus brings much comfort. I thank God for you two having the faith and love in Him that you do.

Anonymous said...

Marie... I am so sad for you, and yet so blessed to hear you two praising the name of Jesus. I can't express any better than that, but my heart is breaking for you guys.


Anonymous said...

All of us here at 98.5 The OCEAN FM in Victoria were so saddened to hear the news. You openly shared Josiah's story with our listeners as we were raising money for BCCH during our annual Radiothon for Kids. So we all feel like we knew him even though only our morning team had the opportunity to meet the little treasure. There are no words to express how sorry we are and send along our deepest sympathies to you and your family at this tragic loss.

The Staff at 98.5 The OCEAN

khloverofjesus said...

Thanks for sharing your story. I was brought to it from Shandra and John Trammell. I went to BBC with you but we really didn't know one another. I am so sorry for the loss of your son; but blessed wo know that he is with the Lord and his body is healed!! Please know that my husband and I have been and will continue to be praying for you and your wife Marie, that the Lord would heal, bless, and restore your hearts. Continue to cling to Him as so both have so faithfully done!
In Christ,
Kimmy Ho (Devine)

Sayuri :) said...

I just found out and my heart hurts and grieves for you both. You are absolutely right to say Josiah touched the lives of many and he will be with me always. The strength and grace you 3 have humbles and inspires me. Your angel is looking over you...

Sending you all my love hugs

Sayuri :) said...

Andrew and Marie

I just found out and my heart hurts and grieves for you both. You are absolutely right to say Josiah touched the lives of many and he will be with me always. The strength and grace you 3 have humbles and inspires me. Your angel is looking over you...

Sending you all my love hugs

Anonymous said...

Andrew and Marie,
we've never met, but over the past 2 years I've been following your story and praying alongside you.
I'm so sorry for your loss.

The Hoegler Family said...

Dear Marie and Andrew, tears are streaming down my face and I can not comprehend how you feel. Ever since meeting you at BCCH Josiah has been in our prayers and thoughts. What a shock, and so sudden. My heart is aking. At least we know Josiah went in peace and that he is with God. I will be praying for you in this difficult time.

Anonymous said...

Andrew and Marie, I'm so very sorry for your loss. My son Liam was Josiah's "neighbor" in TCU at BCCH for a while and I've been following your story for a long time. Your little man was such a blessing to you as you were to him. May you continue to receive strength and comfort from our Heavenly Father during this difficult time.
Andrea Vanlaar

Erin said...

Marie - My heart is breaking for you and Andrew. I'll be thinking of you both and praying that you are surrounded and comforted by those who love you and who knew and loved your sweet boy.

Much Love,

Erin (Mullinger, now McCullough)

Candace said...

Marie and Andrew,

I am so sorry for your loss! I just heard the news. Josiah was a lucky boy to have such a wonderful family. It sounded like Josiah had a wonderful time during his last few days. I hope that all your precious memories will help you through this sad time.

Thoughts and prayers are with you,

Anonymous said...

We haven't met but I've followed this blog and cared briefly for Josiah at BCCH (part of a shift a year and a half ago). Please know that your family has touched everyone working in the ICU. Nurses and doctors were amazed by your strength and overwhelming love for all. Josiah will be dearly missed but know that every moment of his life was lived for the glory of God and your lives in turn have always pointed with awe and love to God. Thank you for that Andrew and Marie.
May the Lord bless you and keep you and give you His peace.

Anonymous said...

hello Andrew & Marie,

Catherine (Weller) and I just found out about your son's death while reading the Briercrest Passport magazine this morning. I have spent the last hour reading all of your blogs and looking at pictures. I haven't stopped crying as I get a glimpse at your great loss. I understand loss, as it has come with the death of my sister, but I cannot understand what it must be like to lose a child. Catherine and I have a 5 year old girl and 19 month old boy. God saw that you and Marie were fit to handle the life of Josiah, and I can tell by your writings that you are also fit to handle his memory for the glory of God. With love and prayers from Matt & Catherine Gladwin