Cayden Hughes Buttram was born along with his twin brother Cooper Andrew Buttrum on Monday night, July 10. Cayden died on Wednesday, July 12. Cayden’s parents, Lauren and Brad, knew he had an uphill battle. A problem pregnancy, in utero issues that denied him needed nutrients, a premature birth at only 2 lbs, 13 oz, and the quick onset of an infection spelled trouble for Cayden. His brother Cooper was a little bigger, had the necessary nutrients all along, and he is doing well. But Cayden didn’t make it.
I don’t understand these things any more than you do. Why does one twin live and the other die? We know God knits us together in our mother’s womb. We know we are fearfully and wonderfully made. We know Jesus loves children … and then this. As a pastor I’ve grieved with parishioners over a miscarriage and buried my share of babies. Some, like Cayden, didn’t last long out of the womb. Some fell victim to SIDS a year or two into life. It’s all hard. It all hurts. It all leaves us with more questions than answers.
I woke up in the middle of the night with the Buttrums on my mind. As I was laying there praying for the family, the Lord put a thought in my head about Cayden: “All he ever knew was love.”
Since the pregnancy test came back positive, Cayden was loved—parents and doctors doing all the right things.
Upon his birth into this world on Monday, Cayden was loved. Incubation, intubation, and IVs may not feel or look like love, but that’s what it is—love that fights for life and health and well-being. There’s not a lot Mom, Dad, and family can do in this situation except pray and touch and speak life and love over the child. That’s what they did.
And when Cayden shut his eyes in death on Wednesday, he was swept up into the arms of Jesus who loves him best of all. I don’t know how all this works in heaven, but I do believe this: Cayden is experiencing the love of His Savior and the love of believing family that preceded him in death. It is well with his soul. And on the last day, his tiny body will be resurrected just like yours and mine.
In just two short days of life on this earth, all he ever knew as love. He never experienced abuse of any kind. He never dealt with the betrayal of a friend. He never felt the sting of guilt over his sins. Nobody ever broke his heart. He never stood over the grave of a loved one who meant the world to him. He never wrestled with feelings of failure. I realize, as do you, that such things are all part of life, that they shape us into the persons we become, that wounds and scars hurt in the moment but can reap the benefits of maturity and a closer walk with Jesus. Like his family, I wish Cayden could have lived a long full life. But if you only get 28 weeks in the womb and two days in the world, and all you ever know is love, and the only memories people have of you will be cherished ones, well … you’ve lived a pretty wonderful life.
Cayden, I can’t wait to meet you on the other side.