Sunday, March 22, 2015

A Word or Two about my Son, Anakin By: Iolie Harper

Anakin is one of my heroes.  I think about him every day.    I think that I will probably think about him every day for the rest of my life.  Anakin was born on Nov 21, 2014.  I had an emergency c-section because his heart rate had dropped dramatically all of a sudden.  When I came out of the anesthesia, my first question was, “Where’s Anakin?”  Then the doctor told me that he didn’t make it.  I think I was still unconscious after surgery for about 30 minutes or so.  So when I came to, he was already departed from his body.  Thankfully he stayed around for a little bit to let me know he was okay.  That’s the part I want to write about today.

                I was so excited to find out that we were having another baby.  I also kind of dreaded being pregnant because it’s very uncomfortable in a lot of ways.  However, the good part was always being with Anakin… every day.   We did everything together and I was very glad to have him along.   We went for walks A LOT.  We checked the mail, cleaned the house, worked outside, did laundry, went for rides, and we got to do it all together. 

                As soon as I found out we were having a boy, his name was already picked out.  I woke up one morning shortly thereafter and in that portion where sleep coincides with waking up, he came to me and told me, “My name is Anakin Ammon Harper.”  He said that very decisively.  I was grateful to know that he liked that name because that was the one I was considering. 

                We talked to him a lot.  Ammonihah was always being told to be careful of his younger brother who was still in mommy’s stomach.  We told Ammonihah that he was going to be a great big brother.  He seemed to be pretty excited about the prospect.  We were all excited.

                I started seeing a doctor in Showlow because we moved.  He noticed that there was some irregularity in Anakin’s heartbeat.  Sometimes it would slow down or lag a tiny bit.  So for the last month, I went in to the doctor a lot to have them monitor the baby’s heartbeat.  There was also some discrepancy about when Anakin was due.  The doctors were having some questions about the accuracy of his due date because it didn’t match up to the results of his last ultrasound. 

                The last day that I went in to have his heart monitored, the doctor decided to have us stay the night at the hospital.  I had also been having minor contractions.  So they kept me there in Showlow overnight and that was the last night I spent with Anakin.  The doctor told me we would be kept there until tomorrow morning when they would decide whether to have us sent out to Phoenix or not to have him delivered. 

                However, early in the morning before the doctors were scheduled to have their meeting regarding us, Anakin’s heartbeat suddenly dropped.  I remember that I had shifted to laying on my side and that the nurse was having trouble trying to read his heartbeat so she kept moving the heartbeat reader from spot to spot to get a more audible reading.  It was underneath my stomach and was pressing pretty far into my belly but the sound was coming in more clearly.  Then his heartbeat dropped all of a sudden so low that Ammon noticed it. 

                A nurse came in and was confused as to whose heartbeat it was, mine or Anakin’s.  Pretty soon there was flurry of activity around me and the nurses called in the head Administrator of the Hospital who started talking to me about an emergency c section because the heartbeat was still dropping.  My doctor came in and I gave permission.  I was praying in my mind for a miracle over and over before I made that decision because in the last priesthood blessing I received, I was told that Anakin would be strong and healthy.  That he would not have any problems and that we would have a natural birth.  I was told in the blessing that he would also have aptitudes that were even higher than that other people possessed.  I had asked Ammon if he remembered what he said when he gave that blessing.  He said that he couldn’t recall any of it.  He never remembers what he said after he gives a blessing because the Holy Spirit takes over.

                So I didn’t understand when they whisked me off to the surgery room.  I decided to give my life over to Heavenly Father’s care because I was also scared that I wouldn’t wake up due my very real intolerance of medications that I had had for the last 10 years. 

                Ammon watched the whole thing.  He was heartbroken.  The doctor then came to get him when I was coming to and he told him that they would tell me immediately that Anakin didn’t make it.  He said that he has seen women who weren’t told when they had asked about their baby and they tend to get crazy if no one will tell them what happened.  So when I woke up, I asked.  Then the doctor told me he didn’t make it.

                My first thought was, “The Lord giveth; the Lord taketh away.  Blessed be the name of the Lord.”  Then I realized I was alive and that Heavenly Father wanted for me stay here and take care of my other kids.  I was very grateful for that.

                Then I saw Anakin.  My eyes were closed, but I could see him so very vividly it was almost like seeing with my natural eyes.  He was tall…. About 6’4.”  He had dark brown, almost black hair.  Just like mine except very smooth.  He was about 21 to 24 years old and was so very, very handsome.  His features were almost perfect.  He was wearing glasses that look like his dad’s glasses but with a very light prescription.  He was slender and shaped with wide shoulders and a small waist.  Just the right muscle structure.  His skin was beautifully clear. He was wearing casual clothes.  I think light brown pants.

                I could tell that he was very excited about something.  He was waving at me and smiling from ear to ear.  He was acting like he just accomplished something monumentous and was showing me.  He wanted me to see what he had done so I could be proud of him and so I could share in his glorious moment.  He was superbly excited that he was going to move forward to something new. 

                Anakin was standing on the sidewalk in some great city, downtown where there were skyscrapers all around him.  He had a suitcase in his hand and was walking as he waved at me.  I wished I could draw so I could draw him so that Ammon could see what he looked like.

                I could also tell that he was very intelligent.  He was kind and of a very happy nature.  He liked to laugh and have a good time.  He also was without guile.  His only motive was to build up Heavenly Father’s kingdom.  He also had the natural capacity to move forward very quickly.  He moves from light to light very naturally.  He progresses fast. 

                I related all this to Ammon as I was seeing it.  So everyone in the room ended up hearing it as well because I had a slew of nurses and doctors around me at the time helping me sit up and getting me ready to get a shot in the back for pain.  However, I was groggy enough still that it may as well have been only Ammon and me as I was only marginally aware of the other people in the room besides my doctor and the anesthesiologist.

                As the vision ended, I told Ammon that Anakin never intended to stay.  He had it set to leave when he did and he had planned it that way before he was conceived.  He was very happy to have us as his parents and had come to earth to get parents and a body and to be part of our family.  I told him that Anakin and Heavenly Father had planned it that way. 

                Later that day, Ammon told me that he had held Anakin’s lifeless body in the nursery previous to me waking up.  He had prayed to God and asked Him to let Anakin be okay and to protect him.  He then felt Anakin’s spirit in the room with him.  When the doctor told him that I was waking up, he told Anakin to go and let me know that he was okay and that he was fine.  So that’s what he had done.

                After a couple hours, the nurse brought Anakin’s little body in to us.  I was kind of scared of how I would react but we both held him and looked at his little hands, his hair, feet, shoulders, etc.  He was a full grown baby boy but he did have some visible indications that showed that he might have had a hard time physically in life if he would have survived to live on earth. 

                I felt his presence and felt inclined to speak to him.  I told him how proud we were of him and of how glad we were to be his parents.  I told him how glad I was of the time we had with him and related some of those things.  Then when I felt inclined to end, I felt his presence leave at the same time.  So I stopped talking feeling that we had said what we needed to.

                We had a funeral and he has the cutest, tiny grave in Cibeque in our family cemetery right on top of hill under the beautiful sky.  He has my favorite afghan buried over his little casket and other that his grandmother also made and sent before he was born.  He is buried in white temple baby clothes with a blue cap and a white bonnet over the cap.  He has little light blue and white baby socks on.  He looked really cute.  

Many close family members were there as well as some church members.  From Saint Johns, Bishop, his wife and daughter were able to make it and officiate.  Also, Brother Brewer along with his wife and baby came.  He is our neighbor and he played the piano for us even though it was a long way to drive.

When I would start to wonder, people would randomly show up and remind or tell us that Heavenly Father has a plan for us and our son.  We ran into a lady at the bank in Taylor where we had never been before and she said she had heard of us.  She told us her grandbaby had died and she had heard of us and wanted to tell us that Heavenly Father knew us and had a plan for our son. 

Sister Brown told me that her son had passed away in similar circumstances and a friend had told her that she had seen her son in a dream and had asked him why he died.  Her son told the friend that he knew that if he had died at the time he did that it would have been easier on her than if he had been older when it happened so he had chosen that time specifically.  I felt that Anakin had chosen similarly. 

Bishop told me after I related the vision to him that he felt that Anakin was leaving to serve a mission in the spirit world and that impression came to him at that time.

I felt that Ammonihah and Anakin had made a plan previous to their being born that one would go forward and the other would stay to comfort me.  Ammonihah has been a great comfort to me since he’s young enough that I still feel like I have a baby to care for.

One day I was watching a movie while really thinking about Anakin and the words from a character in the movie struck my heart and thoughts, “It was the best way that he could show you that he loves you.”  I pondered on that thought.  I wouldn’t want to be separated from my son and I’m not.  My perspective has changed unbelievably.  My little family now spans into eternity with one son who has gone forward to gain his celestial exaltation.  He’s safe now and his future is assured.  He lifts us up with the work he does on the other side of the veil.  He has brought us closer to heaven.  I feel much more connected to eternity than I did before.  I feel the pull of those on the other side of the veil more keenly than I did before and it’s because of Anakin’s courage, faith, good example, and natural aptitudes.  We love him and speak of him often. 

My husband got a calling about 2 months after Anakin’s passing into eternity.  He was called to be a family history teacher in the ward.  I think it’s because Anakin wants his dad working alongside him so we can always be connected to each other.  Forever.




  1. I can only say thank you. We lost a son at 16. Your thoughts help.

  2. I can only say thank you. We lost a son at 16. Your thoughts help.

  3. What a beautiful post. Thank you so much for being willing to share your experiences. I'm praying for your continued comfort.