Bret and Lisa,
I have sat down many times to try and write my feelings out about how Jake’s loss has impacted me and I always end up deleting what I write. It is so hard to put into words everything I have felt over the past year. The thought I have had continuously over the past year is that both of you have taught me how deep a parent’s love runs. Yes, I am a parent. I have a son that I love more than any other person in this world. I am also a Child Life Specialist. I have walked side by side with families as they have said goodbye to their sweet child. I have helped deliver news to parents that they never wanted to hear. I have supported siblings of a patient through understanding what death means. Being a parent for 9 years and being a Child Life Specialist the past 11 years has never taught me everything I have felt and experienced through watching my close friends lose sweet Jake.
I have witnessed first-hand by being friends with both of you that being a parent continues on even after the death of a child. Any parent’s biggest fear is losing their child. People always say they can’t imagine or they don’t know what they would do… that they couldn’t go on. I am guilty of saying all of these things in the past… but never again. I know now because of your family that the love for your child continues. I know now that being a parent never stops or ends. I know without a doubt now that after losing a child you love them even stronger and have a bond with them that only people who have experienced this tragedy understand. Thank you sweet friends for allowing me to love my child even more. I know that no matter what my love for him could never end. It could never go away or disappear and that I am always his parent and he is always my child no matter what. The parenting never ends. It doesn’t take the fear away of something bad happening but it allows me to live in the moment and to appreciate every day here with him… good and bad.
I will always remember Jake. I feel honored to have been by your side during your pregnancy. As your coworker and friend I was fortunate to see you often… I got to see Jake grow in your belly. I got to witness your pregnancy sickness, cravings, and sweet moments. So many happy memories during that time. I also got to sit next to you Lisa after you learned Jake had stopped breathing. This is such a hard day to think back on… but that is the day that I honestly learned how strong a parent’s love is. Lisa, you loved Jake so much and your husband so much that you were determined for your family to be together for his birth. You knew you would wait for Bret to get here from overseas. You were already the mother I hadn’t even learned to be yet. You had already learned that as a mom you put your family first.
Thank you sweet Jake for everything. You have impacted so many people. I am a better mom because of you and your parents.
Thank you Bret and Lisa for showing me that the love for my child will continue on and never end… to not be afraid and to just love.