On the morning of the second day of Thomas’ life, I was awoken by a nurse and led quickly to the neonatal intensive care unit.

“Your baby isn’t responding to treatment…”

The doctor thought our baby was about to die.

After trying unsuccessfully to locate Andy, I asked for the priest. I wanted Thomas to be confirmed. I wanted him to enter Heaven with his soul illuminated with the additional grace of confirmation.

Father M arrived. I really wanted my husband with me but we couldn’t delay the sacrament.  Thomas could have died at any moment.  A Catholic nurse joined us at Thomas’ side and, through my tears, I watched the priest confirm our son. I remember saying a few prayers with the priest and the nurse but I don’t really remember much else. It all happened in a blur of grief.

Thomas did not die that morning. He started to respond once again, the doctors persevered in their treatment and I had renewed hope. Perhaps the sacrament of confirmation had strengthened his body as well as his soul. I was still praying our son would live.

But it was not to be.

Andy arrived back at the neonatal unit after a short and unsettled sleep in the car. Our children also arrived, brought to the hospital by a dear friend. They were hoping to meet their brother for the first time. But ‘hello’ was really ‘goodbye’. They saw Thomas for the first time as he was placed in our arms to die.

I have always been grateful that we had the opportunity, not only to arrange Thomas’ baptism, but also his confirmation. I often think about these two important events of our son’s short life. But there was one thing I never realised until the other day.

We were discussing Sophie’s confirmation. She will receive the sacrament in two weeks’ time. She is busy preparing: doing her written work, choosing her dress, deciding on a patron saint…

“I shall have three names instead of two,” observed Sophie.

We then started reciting everyone’s full name.

We got to Thomas: "Thomas Augustine..".

I suddenly realised he has only two names: Thomas and Augustine. We never thought to give him a saint’s name. This doesn’t surprise me because the confirmation was conducted under very stressful conditions. It passed in a blur. What does surprise me is that it has taken us 11 ½ years to realise we never gave our son a patron saint and a third name.

I don’t suppose Thomas needed a patron saint. He only lived 28 hours. Baptised and confirmed, his beautiful soul entered Heaven and returned to God. But what if he had lived… He would probably have wanted a saint to turn to in prayer, to help him along his pathway to Heaven.

Does it matter now? I don’t suppose it really does. But still…I see no reason not to give Thomas a third name, just like everyone else. So I am thinking, and really there is only one name I can choose.

Introducing… Thomas Augustine Joseph Elvis.

I feel I have been given a little gift from God. I thought Thomas’ story was over, nothing new to add. And now I have just given him an extra name. I am sure God stores up little surprises for us, giving us unexpected moments of joy. I wonder what other Thomas gifts God will give to me in the future. I have no doubt that God will reveal other little details of our son that I will treasure forever. 

Thomas, although you lived for only one day, you keep adding your special touch to our family.

I love you Thomas Augustine Joseph Elvis
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  1. So honoured to meet Thomas Augustine Joseph. Typing through tears{{}}

  2. Thank you, Erin. I wrote this with tears.

  3. Sue, This was beautiful...I am holding back tears as well.

  4. I too am honored to meet Thomas Augustine Joseph! Your story brought tears to my eyes. I didn't even know you could have a baby confirmed. What a blessing he had at his death, to have received 2 sacraments. May God Bless You Sue!

  5. Too many thoughts, feelings and emotions about this for a comment box. Celebrations today for my little godson - I think we'll have a cake! xx

  6. Thank you Leanne. God bless you.

  7. Thank you Noreen for sharing my story. Father M was surprised we knew that babies can be confirmed, if in danger of death. Unfortunately not all parents realise this. But we wanted to be prepared and found out what was possible, before Thomas' birth. Yes, it was a real blessing we could arrange two sacraments. God gave us enough time. God bless!

  8. A cake sounds good, Vicky. Ask Melanie to make one of her special vanilla cakes. I have just looked through all our paperwork. Do you know, you and Cheradee are Thomas' confirmation sponsors? No name but he got two sponsors! God bless!

  9. Sue,

    Thank you for sharing the story of Thomas Augustine Joseph. I read your story through tears. Your little guy is a saint, baptized (and confirmed) and having passed away without any chance of sinning. I can't express all of the things on my heart right now, but I do want to say that I am grateful for you sharing his story. Your example of faith is beautiful.

    By the way, the boy's name we had picked out for our third child was Thomas Augustine. Alas, "he" was a she. But that name holds a special meaning for us, too.

    Many blessings to you and your family, Sue!

  10. Hi Stephanie, maybe your Thomas Augustine is yet to be born! Although at one time I was very possessive of Thomas' name - it was all we had left of him - now I think I like the idea of another Thomas Augustine. May God bless you too, Stephanie.

  11. Hi Auntie Sue.
    I wish thomas is still a live.
    From Melanie xo xo xo

  12. So do I Melanie. One day we will meet him again. Thank you for visiting my blog, my beautiful niece.

  13. That is just beautiful, Sue. And food for thought. Thank you.

  14. Sue,
    Tears are rolling down my eyes as I write this. Thank you for sharing the story of your little angel, Thomas Augustine Joseph. Your precious child will be awaiting you with joy when your time comes to go home. God bless you, Sue. I was so very touched by the picture of Thomas and your story.

  15. Thank you Angie and Mary.

    I was wondering about the photo. It is not pretty, a bit confronting but very beautiful to me. Thank you for sharing both the photo and my story. God bless!


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