Almost a year ago, on March 27, 2014 to be exact, I was over the moon happy! I was sitting at my dining room table sewing receiving blankets for my nephew Jake! I was imagining him all wrapped up and warm inside of them. Just moments after the last stitch on the last blanket, a piece of my world shattered. There was a knock at my door. It was my step mother…. Jake had passed away. Once I picked myself up off the floor (literally) all I could think of was my sister. I honestly don’t think losing Jake had really even hit me yet. But Lisa was alone, sad, scared and hurting. Bret was in Afghanistan and I didn’t know if he had even found out yet. My heart was aching for the both of them. It took me 12 hours, 1 flight and lots of tissues to be at her side. Luckily her best friend, Meredith, was able to get to her hours before I could.
The reality of losing Jake hit me like a ton of bricks when I saw my sister sitting in her bed, holding her belly and sobbing. It was a sound and sight I will never be able to forget. I don’t think I had ever seen or felt grief like that before. Now I am a mom and a nurse. So helping people is in my blood. But I was so lost here. I didn’t know what to do, I had nothing to say. Sorry and I love you were all I could muster up for days, months even.
A few days later Bret made it safely home. Jake was born on April 1, 2014 @ 8:53pm, weighing 2lbs .05 ounces and he was 15 inches long. One of the happiest and saddest moments of my life. I held an angel that day. He was perfect in every way. His nose, his hands, his fingers and his toes. Perfect! He even had very light blonde hair. He was beautiful!
To tell someone what life is like without Jake, that’s hard. You see, I never got to know life with Jake. At least not in the physical sense. I can’t say I miss his smile, his laugh or his cry. I never saw or heard them before. I can’t tell you how much I miss his hugs or the way his little fingers wrapped around mine. I never felt his hug or him grab my finger. But I DO miss his smile, his laugh, his cry, his hugs and his touch. I long for those memories everyday. I should be planning my trip to be there for his first birthday right now. Instead I spend everyday thinking of how I can honor him. How I can make him proud.
After losing Jake I tried like crazy to find support for aunts who lost a nephew. No such groups exist. This only made me realize the next hardest part after losing Jake. I was not only mourning and missing my nephew, I missed my best friend. My sister. I hadn’t lost my sister of course but she had lost such a vital piece of herself, that finding room for others was not an easy thing for her to do. Just remembering to breathe in and out all day was challenge enough for her. It hurt to see her this way, to hear the pain in her voice even when we didn’t talk. Lisa was always my person. The one I talked to each and everyday. The one I confided in and the one who would have helped me through such a loss. I texted daily, her and Bret, and we slowly figured out this new relationship we had. Just as strong as before but different. We were no longer the same people. Death and grief change people. As for my relationship with Bret, I like to think Jake made us a lot closer. Bret’s not much of a talker or texter. He rarely answers phone calls, but he can sure say a lot in just a few words.
I’m not exactly sure how we have gotten through this past year. But we did. I’m not sure what the upcoming years will bring, but I know Jake will be a part of it. His amazing parents and loving family will make sure of that.
Have a wonderful 1st Birthday in heaven little man. Love – Aunt G
“I’ll love you forever, I’ll like you for always. As long as I’m living, my nephew you’ll be!”