Josiah Alexander Miguel Dukes was born at just 23 gestational weeks on July 19, 2014, at Holy Cross Hospital in Silver Spring, MD. He came out with a BANG. The doctors told Andre and Olivia that he wouldn’t be able to breathe or cry, and as soon as he came out, he let out a faint but very real cry. Josiah was transferred to Childrens National Hospital to ensure he was given the best care after his first surgery. Josiah was such a happy baby, and loved his nurses. He spent 13 months between the NICU and PICU at CNMC. While there, he enjoyed the company of his consistent nurses, one being Smitha- who treated him like he was her own. He had so many nurse girlfriends while in the NICU, and I guess, when he transferred to the PICU, he thought he upgraded …. because he had even more girlfriends.
In August of 2015, we were blessed to finally bring Josiah home. It was such a relief to defy the odds of the doctors, and to be able to say, “we made it.” Josiah was so unpredictable, and always kept the nurses on their toes. When we came home, we went through quite a few nurses ... and then we were blessed to have our consistent home care nurses: Chifuni, Mary, Mrs. Doris, and Emmanuel. They have been more than nurses to Josiah. They loved him unconditionally, and did not let us forget that. Chifuni, Josiah’s day nurse, constantly reminded us that she was his other mother ... not by words, but by actions. It was more than a job to them; we were a family.
On May 6, 2018, Josiah and God had a conversation and God saw fit to bring him home with Him. Josiah endured a lot during his short three years ... he was the strongest baby that ANYONE knew .. and I believe that he knew that all was well, and he was ready to let us let him go, for now.
Josiah will be dearly missed, and is survived by his parents, Andre Dukes and Olivia Anstead; little brother Jeremiah; grandparents, Gema Smith (Ronnie), Jeffrey Dukes (Pam), Carolyn Giddings-Phillips (James), Ollie Maurice Anstead and Ricardo Welch (Lisa); great grandparents, Edward Giddings (Yvonne), Cheryl Mitchell, Glenda Parks and Ruban Phillips (Precious); and a host of aunts, uncles, cousins, family and friends.