“Baby John,” as he is known in our family, was my nephew. He was born to my sister and brother-in-law, Shellie and Bill. Today is the 17th anniversary of his death. He was born 3-months premature and only lived 8-months. The best description of John’s short life was given in this Eulogy by his father during the funeral.
John only weighed 1-lb 5-oz at birth. My family was living in California and my sister’s family was living in Utah. I never saw John alive. My husband did see John while on a business trip to Utah. He said you could put a wedding ring over John’s hand and all the way up his arm to the shoulder.
John spent almost his entire life in the hospital, with the exception of two stroller rides. When he was finally able to go home to his family, he lived there only one week before passing. It’s almost as if he was hanging on to life for just that chance to live with his family for one brief, happy week.
Despite his health challenges, he did have a happy life… and was definitely well-loved. He seemed to adore his older brother, James. Elder James Erikson is currently serving an LDS mission in Ecuador. If John were still alive, he would likely be preparing for his own mission before his 18th birthday in October.
I first saw Baby John in person the night before his funeral. I helped my sister dress him for burial and held him for the first time. I was astonished by my sister’s strength when she stood to bear testimony at the end of the funeral. She said she knew she would have the opportunity to see John again and raise him as his mother. When she said that, I also knew it was true! Her tears were due to sadness for the long separation ahead.
John is buried at Vine Bluff Cemetery in Nephi, Utah. Gone, but not forgotten.