My Baby Brothers
by Marlene Richardson Ellingson
I was 10 years old when my baby brother Donald died in the hospital shortly after his birth. I remember feeling such love for my mother, grateful that she was spared, along with the sorrow at the loss of this baby brother. Dad warned us that Donald would be covered with bruises from the heavy breathing equipment that he’d had to use during his seven hours of life. I saw Donald in that little casket all bruised, at the funeral services in our church building. Then, after our drive to the cemetery in Virden, right before the burial, Dad lifted the lid of the casket one more time. There on the back of the station wagon, I looked at him again and gasped with awe and wonderment! This time he looked markedly different. His little body was so white and beautiful, without a trace of any bruise! We children received this as a testimony to us that Donald really was in heaven, with Heavenly Father. I came to know for myself that Families Are Forever and that the temple sealing was real, that I would see him and my other baby brother Dale again.
I was 12 when we got to bring Dale to our home. A sickly little baby, Dale never really thrived, probably due to his birth mother being on drugs. The day of his death, I had walked home from school and knew something was wrong just from looking at the house and feeling it. It was a real blow, for we had each loved and cared for this little brother, praying for him daily. There was an emptiness in our home. Yet we were comforted that we’d had him three months and that he’d gotten to be our special Baby Jesus in our Christmas Nativity. We were also comforted to find out that my mother was expecting another baby (Melvin), which was a miracle since she’d not been able to have more children earlier.
We were so blessed, because our friend and lawyer, Bernie Porter, continued with the adoption proceedings, even though the baby was dead. This was entirely irregular, and must have been difficult to carry out. Even so, the adoption was finalized, and our whole family was able to dress in white and go to the temple to be sealed to little Dale. Later, we were sealed to Margie, Dean, and Amy too, all four times having a glorious experience in the Mesa Arizona Temple. Each time, we would talk about wanting to all be together as a family someday, with our precious, perfect little brothers, in the Celestial Kingdom.