Nearly three decades later, I vividly recall the upcoming birth of my third sibling, and second brother. I was so excited. Myself, brother Jesse, and sister Leslie were staying at the Nei’s house because mom was having a baby. Mom and Dad looked sad when we got there, and we learned that it was because baby Joseph Michael ‘went to be with Jesus’.
I can still recall the crushing feeling that pervaded the room at that point. It turns out that Joseph Michael was alive and kicking 2 hours prior to birth, but was born with the umbilical cord wrapped around his neck, easily solvable at the hospital.
But we believed that God spurned doctors (although I never did figure out ‘Luke the physician’ in the New Testament), and that even taking an Aspirin pill would possess your soul with demons. I often wondered, in later years, just what was going through poor Mr. and Mrs. Nei’s heads as we rode in the back of their station wagon en route to meet our new sibling. We were celebrating as young children do, and surely they knew that Joseph was stillborn, but we were speculating his sex, name, hair color, and arguing over who got to hold him first. It must have driven a chilling wedge right through their hearts.