8: Saving Jordan

8: Saving Jordan

From Chicken Soup for the Soul: Angels and Miracles

Saving Jordan

One thing you can say for guardian angels: they guard.

They give warning when danger approaches.

~Emily Hahn

Washing dishes has always been my pondering, preparing and praising time. The winter of 1987 was only different because washing dishes was not a choice, but an everyday reality in Kitzingen, Germany, where we did not have a dishwasher. Evenings tended to be very quiet after the boys were down because we were also television-less and basically radio-less since our apartment was out of signal range for the American AFN station, and I didn’t speak German well enough to bother with the German stations.

This particular winter evening, I was looking out the window, washing the day’s dishes and thinking about our life and how grateful I was for it. My husband, Jesse, was a U.S. Army tank company commander on maneuvers in the south, and his job allowed us to live in a beautiful village in Germany and gave me the privilege of staying home with our sons. Just that day, I had bundled up both boys in their winter gear, strapped them into the stroller, and rumbled over the cobblestones down to the village to buy our seasonal vegetables.

The ladies at the local greenhouse twittered over two-year-old Jacob and newborn Jordan. The ladies enjoyed spoiling the boys, teaching them German words just as I taught them English ones.

When we came back from our errands, I fed the boys their dinner and settled them down to sleep. Then I lowered the stack of plates into the hot sudsy water, figuring I would get the washing out of the way and then spend a cozy evening reading.

“Check the baby.” It was just a fleeting thought, as I put plates in the drain board. I ignored it and started to wash the glasses.

“Check the baby!” This time, I felt it whispered in my ear. Even though I knew that I was alone, I still turned around to see who had spoken. No one. A still small voice, easily brushed aside as imagination. I picked up the first glass, swishing the cloth inside to clean it.

“CHECK THE BABY!” Crash! I dropped the glass on the floor as the louder than audible voice thundered in my heart. There was no ignoring this messenger.

I ran into the nursery and turned on the light to find that six-week-old Jordan was still and blue. His chest was not rising and I couldn’t feel any breath coming from his nose. I picked him up and checked his airway, then started infant CPR while running across the hall to my neighbor’s apartment. Jordan took his first gasp as Anita opened her door.

When living in the United States, I knew that in a medical emergency to call 911. In Germany, I had no idea how to call for an ambulance. I knew that we needed to go to the hospital, but the fastest way to get there was to drive. While I drove, Anita kept watch over Jordan, prepared to start CPR again, as I raced through the cobblestoned villages to the American hospital in Würzburg. All the while, the same voice whispered, “Peace, peace, peace. I am with you.”

That calming voice stayed with me during the whole time that we were at the hospital. We were one of the lucky families. Jordan was diagnosed a SIDS baby (Sudden Infant Death) but he survived and went on to play football, marry his high school sweetheart, serve his country in Afghanistan and Iraq, and graduate from law school. Through many instances in his life I continued to hear that voice whisper to me, “Peace, peace, peace. I love him more than you ever could.” I always listen.

~Sharon Carpenter

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