I have worked alongside Lisa at the children’s hospital for a couple of years. I like to think of the child life specialist’s as the “Mommy’s of the hospital” in a sense. They make everything all better in a way that the nurses can’t. Lisa is amazing in that role. Lisa and I were simply just coworkers before Jake. We talked in the pods, but never really knew much about each other even though we got along with one another great. Lisa and I became good friends when she became pregnant with Jake. We were both becoming mothers and in very close time frame together. We exchanged phone numbers and started talking all about pregnancy and getting ready for our babies. Working with Lisa I got to see her belly grow and her beautiful glow. I was on maternity leave in March and was texting Lisa about mommy-hood and how everything was going. She was so excited and I had so many 0-3 month clothes for Jake in a huge Pamper box, labeled “Save For Jake.”
I got the call from work from one of Lisa’s colleagues that “Lisa lost her baby” and for members of staff to respect her privacy. I remember just breaking down and crying. I had just talked with her about a few days before about when labor, Bret’s schedule and breastfeeding. Everything was fine….How the hell does something like this happen???
Jake has taught me that people’s lives can be forever changed in a matter of moments. I have always known that but something about Lisa and Bret losing Jake was very eye opening in that sense. Losing a baby in that way doesn’t cross anyone’s mind unless it has happened to you or you know someone it has happened to.
I debated back and forth about contacting Lisa. Why would she want to talk to me? What could I possibly say? I just thought of her-the shock, her pain, her loss, and of course sweet Jake. I knew Bret wasn’t home and for mom and dad to be separated during that time had to be so difficult. I reached out to Lisa the day after she found out about Jake, and I am so glad I did. With my husband being a funeral director, I knew Michael would take care of Jake with respect and be so gentle with him and his broken parents.
Through our vast differences to motherhood, Lisa and I surprisingly grew very close. Through all of the continued heartache with Lisa grieving for Jake, I have learned that in times of hardship, sometimes friends become strangers and strangers become friends. Lisa and I both gave birth to sons on the first of the month and our friendship was founded on our us becoming mothers together. You would think we would be the last people to become close, but we did. When it comes to Jake, I just can’t get over the “should be’s”. Jake should be here. Jake’s parents should be sleep deprived and physically exhausted because he is waking up every hour teething not because they can’t sleep because of the pain of silence in their home. Lisa should be rushing home from work to see Jake before he goes to bed, instead she was rushing out of the hospital to escape the memories of being pregnant with him there and seeing babies that would remind her of Jake.
Whenever our son Dexter has a milestone or one of those “first” moments I always think of Jake. Jake should also be having all these “first” moments and making his parents so proud. I sometimes get a feeling of guilt when it comes to my son Dexter. Lisa and Bret should be experiencing this joyfullness of parenting. Instead it’s a struggle for them to face the world some days.
People become parents the moment those two lines pop up and parenting does not stop. Lisa and Bret are amazing parents and they parent their son in a different way. They honor him every day by not forgetting. God’s word on grieving, Thessalonians 4:13: “We do not want you to be uninformed, brothers, about those who are asleep, that you may not grieve as others do who have no hope.” They have never given up hope or lost their faith. There have been times of anger but they always stay grounded for Jake. That’s what makes them great parents.
I understand that Jake is gone, but I don’t think I will ever accept it. I feel like accepting it means letting Jake’s memory go or moving on. I have learned from Jake that love isn’t measured by the amount of time you spend with someone. So many people who never got to even meet Jake love him and miss him. He has touched so many lives, and that’s what makes him a magical little boy.
Even through their grief, Bret and Lisa are still so kind. Lisa has never made me feel ashamed or not proud to talk of my son. I only do so when she asks me about him, otherwise I do think it’s a little inconsiderate. It is unspoken love and Jake will always be Dexter’s first friend he never had. Dexter’s first birthday was on March 1st, just one month before Jake’s birthday. Lisa told me not to grieve for sweet Jake on this day and just to enjoy Dexter. I am so grateful for our friendship and the bond we have built over this past year. I am so thankful to have Lisa in my life and feeling close to Jake through her.
We will forever be moms and friends. Jake will never be forgotten.