Saturday, July 26, 2014

Roscoe's Legacy

Roscoe has exited this life and we are powerless to undo that change. Alisha and I are left with the choice of what to do in this situation. I read all of the blog comments, facebook posts, and email messages that I receive about how Roscoe has impacted people's lives. As a parent you never want to lose a child, but if you do it really softens the blow to know that there was meaning behind the loss. Roscoe didn't live long (9.5 months) and wasn't great in stature (23.5" tall if he were standing), but he's had a great impact on people's faith. His prayer map is filled with spiritual supporters around the world and the blog post about his last day of life has been viewed over 15,000 times. As Alisha and I weep, there are many around the world weeping with us (Romans 12:15).
NOTE: If you haven't yet taken the time, please add yourself to his prayer map. It is a great encouragement to us and we plan to print it out for his baby book. Over 750 markers have been added so far.

I hope that Roscoe has a continuing spiritual impact upon the world. Many people have said that by hearing Roscoe's story unfold, it taught them to pray a little more earnestly and believe a little more deeply. I hope that in this age of minuscule digital attention spans, Roscoe's impact does not fade quickly. If you take away anything from Roscoe's story please let it be the following:
  1. Never let an opportunity pass
    There are constant opportunities that float by without being seized. I thought that I'd lost all opportunities to say goodbye to Roscoe on June 14th when he was facing his end. God granted us another 38 precious days with Roscoe. Some were tumultuous and some were sublime, but in all of them we affirmed our love for Roscoe and kissed and hugged him as much as we were able. Never let the opportunity to show love to your children pass by. You never know what tomorrow may bring.
  2. Pray with meaning
    Roscoe gave adults and children a specific reason to pray. We heard from people all over the country that praying for Roscoe was something that united the church with a common petition. Now that he's gone, there are still other reasons to pray with fervor. Some reasons make us plead with God. Some reasons make us express our thankfulness. All of those reasons give us a purpose in speaking frequently, plainly, and honestly with God.
  3. Find good in every situation
    There were lots of things wrong in Roscoe's life. He was plagued with physical problems, tormented with needle pokes, struggled to breathe his entire life, and never got to experience a life without cords attached. Alisha and I were powerless to change the situation; we could only change our perception of it. Trying to find appreciation and enjoyment in small things kept us positive through murky waters. Roscoe continually found the strength to smile from ear-to-ear in dark circumstances. If you find yourself frustrated or let down by life, please learn from Roscoe's story. Change your focus to the good things you do have, rather than focusing on what's wrong or lacking. Roscoe didn't know what he lacked, he only knew what he had and what made him happy.
  4. Appreciate the little things
    Roscoe lived a very atypical life, so Alisha and I looked forward to many small things that often go unappreciated. We started to see great pleasure in being able to hold your baby without permission or in a room alone, seeing your child's face with nothing stuck to it, taking your infant on a walk outside, holding your baby without any wires attached, and being able to sit in a noise-free environment while your baby slept. Look for small blessings like these and enjoy them if they are granted to you.
Each time a parent hugs their child just a second longer, or tells them an extra time how much they love them, or prays with words more heartfelt, or finds a positive way to look at a negative situation, or appreciates a small experience with their child ... we feel that Roscoe's legacy will continue. Please give Roscoe's life meaning by letting his short life impact your own.

If you feel so inclined, please share how Roscoe has impacted you in the comments section below.
NOTE: We don't plan to have a funeral or memorial service for Roscoe. Very few of those who cared about him actually got to meet him in person (even some of his closest relatives didn't get the opportunity). I feel lucky that I got to spend just about every day of the past 9.5 months with such a special boy. We felt it would be most appropriate for the communal grieving process to happen online through this blog, since that's how most of you came to know and love him.


  1. First Roscoe has taught me that God thinks a WHOLE lot of you two! Wow, what a compliment to see what God knows you can handle... You two are the perfect support system for each other- and I have loved seeing that bond grow even more than it was! So besides teaching me how amazing you two are :) (which I already knew), he has made me thankful for the power of prayer and the internet. A lot of times I see social media as a bad thing... But wow- god has worked through you two in so many ways! So many people felt so close to Roscoe because of the internet. I am also even more thankful for photography... Alisha's talents with photography and capturing so many sweet moments will always be treasured. Another thing he has made me more thankful for is the church and the amazing bonds and support system we all have all over the world. I could go on and on... Jesus always loved little children- and it's so sweet that a child can pull at so many peoples heart strings... Children can make the biggest impacts I think. I am done for now. Proud of you guys- love you.

  2. Your precious little boy opened my eyes to jus how big and far reaching God's family really is and what it can mean and how touching it is to know that they are all praying for you. How amazing and how humbling.

  3. I never thought that you can get to love somebody you've never met in person so dearly. I never knew it can be so hard to let go. I started reading the blog all over again from day one. It made me feel like Roscoe was still here. And he always will be in hearts and memories of those who cared. Thank you for sharing something so special and precious. I often think that my faith is not strong enough, that sometimes prayers or services become a routine, that something is missing. But your family, your story gives encouragement, you are a great example. I hope, Lord willing, I might meet you in person. It was really amazing to feel how big God's family is, to know that there are so many who love, care and pray sincerely. The feeling of unity brings joy.
    You helped me appreciate people and things I have in my life so much more. Thank you and God bless you.

    1. I have done the same thing as to find that he is still here. I never thought someone I have never met could impact me the way he. Thank you for your words. God bless

  4. Roscoe has reminded me of the power of prayer and how God can change His mind when listening to His children plead with Him. This has encouraged me not only to pray more, but to pray with more faith. Roscoe has taught me to be more sensitive to what others are going through, and to be more grateful for the blessings I have in my life. Lastly, Roscoe has showed me and so many others how strong Shaun and Alisha are. How loving they are. How faithful they are. I already knew they were wonderful, but I am truly left in awe. I'm so thankful for this blog so that I could share part of Roscoe's life with you. Love you guys!

  5. Roscoe's story taught me so much through the 3 of you. First of all your sweet lil boy taught me to appreciate everything a whole lot more. Every high and every low and anything in between should find us some appreciation because it is God's work. He taught me to always keep going no matter how difficult it is. He taught me that God does do miracles and he has a master even though we don't know what that is. He taught me more courage and strength than I have ever known. Every day I have with my children is a victory to be celebrated. All this came from this handsome baby boy Roscoe. There is also a lot I have learned for you and you wonderful wife. You have brought me back to god. I have not had the best relationship with him for a long time. You have taught me to not take my role a parent for granted. You have taught me what an amazing Christian parent looks like. You have shown me that prayer does work. Roscoe's story has touch me in such away that all I can do is try and be there for the both of you and pray every minute of every day for healing for you and for him to watch over you and guide you. May God bless you always and thank you from the bottom of my heart for sharing with the world such a treasure th a y was your son. Love you both.������������

  6. I heard about Roscoe through my friends Bry & Lauren Briggs. My dad's name was Roscoe, and I haven't met or heard of many other Roscoes. So right there, I had an instant affection for him. And as I followed his journey, I came to love him -- and both of you. I hoped and rejoiced with you in the encouraging times, and hurt with you during the painful times. Your faith, courage, and strength have inspired me. I have examined my own faith, and how I think about prayer. This particular blog post, about your hopes for Roscoe's legacy, is so good and powerful. I was especially moved by this line: "Roscoe didn't know what he lacked, he only knew what he had and what made him happy." Many of us could do a lot better focusing on the positive instead of dwelling on the things we wish were different. I'm asking God to bring Roscoe's sweet face, and his beautiful smile, to my mind when my attitude starts drifting away from thankfulness. Thank you for sharing your journey, your heart, and your beautiful boy with me and so many others you've never met. May God hold you close as you continue to process and grieve. I will remember you. And I will most certainly remember Roscoe.

  7. Sweet, handsome, brave, oh so lovable Baby Roscoe, you have taught me so much. Baby Roscoe, you taught me to never go a moment without letting your loved ones know how much you love them, and to never let a day go by remaining upset or angry about the petty things in life. Baby Roscoe, you lived every moment of life with nothing but love in your heart, and you truly impacted so many people during your short time here on earth. I am so grateful I got the opportunity to meet you, and I cherished every moment cuddling you. You taught me to really cherish and love every moment I spend volunteering at the hospital, and to give all my love and prayers for each little one I am blessed with the opportunity to meet. Baby Roscoe, you inspired me to truly give it my all to make my dreams of becoming a NICU nurse become a reality because there is no better way to spend each day then with such strong, brave, incredible people like your family and to witness such remarkable babies like yourself who are such strong little warriors to survive. I am so proud of you Baby Roscoe, and I am so thankful for all that you have taught me and how greatly you have impacted my life. No matter how many babies I meet, and care for in the future, you will always have a place in my heart, and I promise I will never forget you Baby Roscoe. Love you always. <3

  8. When I think of all the positive and sweet things you just spoke of and I see or hear of people doing just that I think of it as
    a "Roscoe Moment" . I think of his Smile that brightens my heart the moment I see it ! .. I thank God for all the good things and the blessings that have come thur Roscoe. .

  9. I have never met you in real life but by following your blog I have come to feel like I know you. I have looked everyday to see updates on how Roscoe were doing. I have come to look forward to see all the beautiful pictures, videoclips that you posted. He had such a cute smile and you could see the live in his eyes as he looked at both of you. The thing that his story has thaight me is to cherish the small things like a smile from my kids, not to be so mad at small things like not cleaning their rooms, not to snap if they whine or complains. I have learned to love my kids more. I will always remeber Roscoe with a smile and a warm feeling in my heart. He will always have a special place in my heart and I will never forget about him. Throughout every hardship he still smiled and fought. Thank you for sharing his brief life because it has made me a better person that learned to appreciate the small things in life!

  10. Roscoe's little life taught me big things about prayer. How God could use those beautiful eyes, and that huge smile, to unite so many to pray for one common miracle. He reminded me every single day to be happy and thankful no matter my situation. My favorite quote is: "There is always, always, always something to be thankful for" - has anyone ever exemplified this better than Roscoe? I'm so grateful you made the choice to share Roscoe with all of us.

  11. I, too, have followed Roscoe's story from the very beginning via this blog. I have not formally met you either (although I know I have seen you at a 4th of July meeting or a NYM or two in the past.) As I read each post, I have laughed, I have cried, I rejoiced over his little victories, I shed tears over his setbacks, and I prayed for him daily. We have 5 children of our own, and our youngest is only 2 1/2 months older than Roscoe. Our little boy, Landry, just celebrated his first birthday at a party last night. It was at that party that the children released balloons with messages attached for Roscoe in heaven. (I believe Amanda Edwards posted this to you on Facebook. We actually live in West Virginia! ;) ) Anyway, I think Roscoe's story has especially touched me because I can see your little boy every time I look at my own baby boy. I don't know why I was blessed with a healthy child, or why Roscoe had to struggle. But through Roscoe's 9 short months, I have learned to cherish my own baby (and other children) even more than I ever would have. And I will squeeze them tighter, and hug and kiss them more often, because I can. It hurts me so much that you do not have that same opportunity with Roscoe, but his precious little life made such an impact in so little time. And when I look at my little boy, the same age as Roscoe, I will always think of him. I know they would have been friends if they had the chance. :)

    Love and prayers to you and Alisha,

    Jennifer Leonard
    Huntington, WV

    1. I love your words and I can relate. I have a soon to he 7 month old. Her due date was December 30 but she was born. December 27th. I also have spurts of guilt over having a healthy baby when so many others don't and you feel they deserved it more.

  12. I want you to know that Roscoe did indeed touch my life very deeply. I read your post about how you fasted every Tuesday and I want you to know that I fasted also many times for your little boy. Sometimes from food, sometimes from media and I prayed. I prayed so much for Roscoe and it didn't feel at all like a burden. I thought many times about how he was impacting my spiritual life and encouraging me to spend more time in prayer.

    He encouraged me by showing how happy he always was even when things were hard and uncomfortable for him. I realized that I take so many things for granted and that I complain so much about so many trivial things. But Roscoe didn't complain. Through pain that must have been considerable he remained a beautiful, resilient smiling baby. He never got discouraged.

    I never knew that I could come to love someone so much just by reading about them from someone else. You did a very wonderful job at recording Roscoe's life on this blog and sharing him with us readers so we could have the honor of getting to know him too. I looked forward every day to reading about him and hoping and praying that he would be well that day. I adore seeing all the pictures you post of him. He is truly one of the most beautiful babies I have ever seen.

    I am so thankful for the time that God blessed you 3 with so that you could have all those memories. I wish it was longer. I wish you would have been able to take walks together and go home together and all those things. But I am still thankful that God saw fit to extend Roscoe's time on this earth for as long as he did. I pray that God will continue to comfort the two of you.

  13. I will never be able to list all that I learned from Roscoe but I do know that he has claimed a piece of my heart as if he were my own. The day I walked in his room and he wouldn't eat because he just wanted to smile and flirt with me will always be a cherished memory. His momma and I couldn't stop laughing. Rocking him to sleep at night and singing to him the song I sang to my babies taught me that my momma's made-up lullaby will always have magical powers. He made me become more aware of what I complain about and if it is worthy of a complaint. He taught me to not be stingy with showing my care and love for others. He possessed a magnetic personality that pulled you to him, Whether it be via the internet or in person. I anticipated the times I spent with him with much excitement!  I am thankful for so many little things that we experienced in our time together. He was a frequent topic in our house and my boys always wanted to know how he had been while I was with him. I am so thankful to Roscoe for bringing so many together during his life. He created a community where the goal was to focus on God and his power. God answered our prayers and healed Roscoe, it just wasn't in the way we anticipated. We ache in this moment but know that it will get easier although never fully go away. His bright spirit will never, ever, ever, ever, EVER be forgotten. I love you Roscoe......your babysitter forever, Rachelle

  14. I have reflected a lot this week on Roscoe and his life. I think a lot if the legacy you wrote about are what I too have. Cherishing my precious children and savor ins moments with them. Showing them and teaching them of the love of Christ. My prayers for him have turned to prayers for the two of you and for other families suffering thru the loss of a child. He will be remembered - thank you for sharing him with us.

  15. Last night I was reading over things from the past few days again. I am just so attached to Roscoe's smile, and the pure love I see reflected there. Your story has made the "little things" more visible. As a mother of 4 it became easy to over look the joys you expressed. I'm sure this sounds so silly but when you talked about letting Roscoe suck on your finger for the first time with no glove on it hadn't occurred to me that you'd missed these things up to that point. Thank you for helping us to refocus and give God the praise for the little moments he allows.
    Also, my oldest was sitting with me, he's 7. He remembers the first baseball/hand picture very distinctly and would ask about Roscoe often. He said to me that he looks forward to meeting Roscoe up in Heaven. Thank you for sharing your son with mine... He sees him as a treasure too.

  16. For weeks this summer I've looked at this massive crack in our driveway and the beautiful little flower growing out of it and often thought of Roscoe. Daily for months, Roscoe has been in my family's thoughts and prayers, never far from our hearts. As we go about our daily lives and leave the house each day for the past month or so, this little flower has popped up to greet us, triggering a prayer of thanks for the little things God gives us, thank you for our life, thank you for memories, thank you for Roscoe, please heal him and keep him safe today.

    It's wonderful how God gives us memories of certain things, sights, sounds, smells, etc. to remind you of your life past and present, sad and joyful. For me, this little vinca does all that. It reminds me happily of my dad and sadly, that he is not here with me to enjoy it.

    The vinca, first of all, is one of my favorite flowers for the summer, always has been. The love came from my dad who faithfully planted them every year in his beautiful yard. Strong and hearty, tolerant of most elements brought upon it. So we too now plant them in our yard or watch for the previous years' planting to sprout up. This year with our California drought, we didn't plant because we are not supposed to water. I've waited to see if previous plantings would come up. We had a large pot of them that I thought was lost to frost this year; but without the water, I thought we wouldn't see them again. But we did, and we saw the little vinca in the crack in the driveway, which we did not plant! The little strong plant called a "Bright Eye"! So beautiful in this ugly crack in the driveway and reminding me of Roscoe present-tense and his struggle daily in this world and his beautiful " bright eyes" that have touched so many all across the world.
    For now, this little perennial plant is still with us. It will also not always be visible, but still among us. It has survived 4 cars going in and out, heat and drought, cats and dogs, thrown newspapers, etc.. Like Roscoe, a beautiful creation of God will stay in my memories of joy and sadness. So glad I've witnessed Roscoe’s life and the hope and inspiration he brought to so many near and far. Thank you, Shaun and Alisha for that. Thank you for sharing your faith and strength, which are truly inspiring to others.
    Roscoe has done "immeasurably more than we all could imagine." Showing many God’s love. (Eph 3: 20) His "bright eyes" lit up the world and now are shining in heaven.

  17. Roscoe had impacted my life in so many ways I really can't express all the ways in this one paragraph. First off my church has been praying for this special boy and anybody in my life knows how much reading his blogs and seeing his beautiful pictures means to me. He has touched me in so many ways, I have 3 kids and I find myself holding on to them a little more tighter and thanking God a little more stronger for blessing me with them. When I found the news of Roscoe passing I could not stop myself from weeping, I still find myself weeping to this day like I just received the news of his passing, My four month old will make some faces that remind me of your precious boy and i find myself breaking down once again. Roscoe has defiantly opened my prayer up tremendously for every single night since I learned of your boy I have not fallen asleep without saying my prayer among him. Roscoe has made it to where I know how to pray a little more deeply. I am truly sorry for your loss but I honestly feel that your precious baby is a general in the Lords army with is strength, God wanted him ready to fight in the good vs evil battle and who better then this baby boy Roscoe!!!!!

  18. I did not hear about Roscoe's journey until it ended on Earth and started in Heaven. I was browsing Facebook last week and saw that someone had shared a picture of a beautiful baby with a link to this blog, so I clicked it out of curiosity and read the last post ("The End.") I was immediately gripped, even without knowing a single second of Roscoe's journey prior to the devastating blog entry I was reading.

    As soon as I finished your beautiful post, I went back to the very first entry on the blog and read every single post until I got back to the end. It took me a few hours, and many, many, tissues, but by the end of it, I was changed. Roscoe was a tiny little boy who influenced so many. It's almost unbelievable to think that something so small, so innocent, could change the lives of strangers across the world without ever even meeting them. As much as I wish I could have had the opportunity to meet Roscoe, I feel like I knew him. I feel like we all knew him through your amazing blog. Your writing, videos, photos... what a blessing you've given your friends and family who couldn't be there physically. You gave them - and countless strangers who now love your family - the opportunity to be there in spirit.

    I can't imagine what you're going through, and I know that no words I say will make it any better. But, please know that your little boy has given a new life to so many people. I know I speak for many when I say I'm now looking at every day as a blessing, I'm thankful for the little things, and I look for happiness in everything I can. Roscoe's journey will live on in the lives of many. My husband and I are hoping to start a family soon, and if I'm blessed in that journey, I hope my child has even an ounce of the strength Roscoe had.

    Thank you for sharing your story with us - you have influenced so many! God has plans for everything, and, though it hurts, maybe his plan for Roscoe all along was to remind those of us living like zombies that life is so, so beautiful and finite. Best wishes from Oklahoma.

  19. I am one of the fortunate ones who got to meet Roscoe in person. It was my privilege to take care of him on the night shift for eight watch him grow and help him over his many hurdles. I grew to love that kid. But the biggest reward was that smile. Every morning when the sun came up he greeted me with a smile and it made my day. Roscoe was a very special boy and will always hold a special place in my heart.

  20. Thank you so much for sharing your heart on this blog for nearly the past year, thank you for sharing Roscoe with me – he changed my life and I will never be the same person having known him.
    I want to tell you that I’m so sorry, that my heart broke with thousands of others when I saw “The End.” I want to say that I truly believed in my heart of hearts that he would be healed. I want to share my miscarriage stories and the treatments we received at UCSF and the bitter disappointment of accepting that we would probably not be parents only to celebrate the joy of the birth of our miracle, Amelia Grace, last September 4th. I want to share that I know Amelia and Roscoe would have been fast friends, sharing all too similar bright eyes, silly giggles, and mischievous grins. I want to tell you I’m sorry my city let you down but that it does have sources of light. I’m honored to have served at the Ronald McDonald House where you stayed and plan to continue that in Roscoe’s honor. I want to give you and Alisha a hug and tell you how sorry I am and how much your strength has made a difference in my life. There is so much more I want to say but every time I start to write anything, it all pales in comparison to the humility I feel approaching two parents grieving the loss of their beautiful son.
    I will carry on Roscoe’s legacy. I have hugged Amelia a little bit tighter and celebrated her mere existence a little bit more each day I’ve known Roscoe. I’ve never prayed with such urgency and specificity for all things, even the mundane. I can’t wait to meet Roscoe in heaven, I know I will recognize him and be in awe of his strength. What a great warrior in God’s army!
    Roscoe’s story is not over but after tomorrow’s post, I will miss reading your blog. Each day this past week, I’ve looked to your blog for that connection to Roscoe and will continue to do so. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve read and re-read your posts and know there will be many more times I will do that, tissues in hand, and weeping with you. I pray for you and Alisha and your family as you grieve and heal. I pray for God to be with you and wrap you in His arms just as he wrapped Roscoe. As I end this note, I want to share a song that has been stuck in my head ever since I met you and Roscoe and I’ve never felt it to be more true as I do now… “Our God is an awesome God, He reigns from Heaven above, with wisdom, power and love, our God is an awesome God.”

  21. Shaun and Alisha,
    Not a day goes by that I do not think about you and Roscoe. I was hoping that I would have seen him again. I am blessed to have been a part of Roscoe,s life the past 3-4 months. I have had the honor of daily holding, rocking, feeding, comforting, talking and singing to him. I enjoyed seeing his captivating smile and hearing his cooing conversations. I love that little guy and miss him dearly and will never forget him.
    As for this blog, I appreciate all the work you put in to keep us all updated. Your words on paper came to life as you shared your heart daily. I never leave this site without tears.
    As for the two of you, your dedication to Roscoe as his parents is unmatched. You can know that he received the best loving care possible by your daily presence, loving hands, and consistent interactions with him. He thrived as he did because of you.
    Thank you for the enrichment in my life.

    1. Thank you for the loving way you also took care of our precious Roscoe. The hole in my heart cannot be filled, but it is better knowing kind folks like you cared so wonderfully for our sweet guy!
      l agree with you.....Shaun & Alisha set the bar for the world's best parents!!!
      Love & God's blessings to you.
      Grandma Sherre (Shaun's mom)

    2. I don't know if you NICU nurses that took care of Roscoe will see this ; if you do, I want each one of you to know that you too made a difference . Even to me ...taking care of Him and taking care of Alisha & Shaun meant so much to me too! Yall did what us Grandmothers didn't get to do but there's comfort in knowing the job was done ( God put some earth angels, aka/ you, NICU Nurses ) ....the rocking ,singing , Soaking up & sharing his beautiful smile (the lil' flirt; lol )And his cooing .
      Thank you for sharing with us too. ..with a thankful heart , ..Netta ;
      (Ali's mom & Shaun's Favorite Mother-in-law )

  22. Roscoe taught me to pray more deeply and to be thankful for the answered prayers. I have prayed so hard for your family, and while I don't understand God's final decision to bring Roscoe home, I am very thankful that he heard the prayers and allowed more time and memories for you and and your family. Roscoe has helped me to see more beauty in the life I live and to be more patient and loving in my relationships with my family and children.
    My thoughts and prayers will continue to be with you and your family. I am so thankful for your son and his life as he has affected so many in the short time he was here.

  23. Roscoe has touched the lives of many including mine and my roommates.
    Even though I never got to meet Roscoe in person. I feel that I sure got to know him through his blog, he was a very special child both to you and others like me. since I have read the blog every day and every chance that I had. I have grown to appreciate all that you have been given even if it is for a short while. I prayed day and night for your son to get well, I guess that the lord had better and other plans for your beloved son. I will miss him on earth but cant wait to meet him in person some day in heaven.