Ripples of Loss: Papa’s Story

How do express how I was and will always be affected by the loss of my grandson Jake? This may be the hardest thing that I will ever have to put into words.

I will never forget that time of my life, for the happy and for the saddest of reasons.  I was in the middle of a four month deployment and everything was going fine. I was keeping almost daily contact with my family at home as well as periodically with my daughter Lisa who was carrying my soon to be born grandchild. I remember speaking to her about her pregnancy and the excitement that she shared. She would time and again send me pictures of herself as her belly grew, they were precious and I would often look at them as well as brag about them and show some of them off. She and I would talk about what it was going to be like after she gives birth. There was such excitement in the entire family. Those days made a deployment bearable. I remember us planning on going to see them that summer to help out after the baby was born. All was awesome, then there was a baby shower and the reality became more clear, this was going to happen!  Then the saddest and hardest day I have ever experienced happened.dad 2

I was just making my usual call home to my family; my poor wife had to tell me something that no one can prepare you for. She did so gracefully to try and keep me calm and safe. When she was able to tell me I think time may have stopped for a bit. I didn’t know what to say or how to feel. I was in total shock. I have never experienced such heartache ever. We have all had to deal with death in our lives but this was different in a way, so hard that to this day I still can’t explain it. I was at work when I got the news, I had to gather myself. It was difficult, but I had to.unnamed (4)

I left work, went to the barracks and I knew I had to call Lisa. It took me several hours to be able to do this. When I finally did and she heard my voice she cried out Daddy!  I didn’t know what to say, this was one of my babies going through such pain and I couldn’t do a damn thing to help her. I wanted so much to hold her and be there for her. At that moment I was angry, angry with God! I didn’t understand, there was no answer for this. I couldn’t imagine what my daughter and son were going through at that moment. I am a very blessed man with five beautiful children and even the thought of not having one of them is too painful to describe.

Then the next thing was making her safe, getting Bret home and the delivery of my grandson.  The next 72 hours were exhausting, stressful and very painful. I was on pins and needles as to be expected. I would call and talk to Lisa at the hospital and she kept me together. It was actually amazing how strong she was. Finally Bret got home and into this world for only a short time, my grandson had arrived.  I was so proud of Bret and Lisa.

unnamed (1)A day or so passed and I was talking to Lisa and she said they took some pictures of Jake and would I like to see them. Of course I said yes, she sent them. It took me about three days before I was able to open them. I didn’t know what to expect and truthfully I was frightened, and lost. When I was finally able to look at the photos, I can’t explain to this day how I felt. I saw Jake and fell in love, in love with this precious little man. I saw his mom and dad holding him and the love that was in that room seemed to be truly amazing. I was so proud of him for making his mom and dad so happy at that moment.

His time with us was short and I never did get to say hello, but somehow I felt he was with me the rest of my time away from home. I would speak to him daily through prayer and meditation. And he would somehow soothe me and make me feel safe. I feel his presence and think of him often. I have learned from him how wonderful a child can make someone feel. I know he will be with us always.

And for you my beautiful grandson, I look forward to the day I meet you and will be forever proud of the love you were able to make people feel. It amazes me to this day how profound of an impact true and unconditional love makes you feel.

You will forever be in my heart,

Pa Paunnamed (2)

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