Spreading Awareness

October 6, 2013 at 9:14 pm | Posted in life after loss, Love, silver lining, why I write | 9 Comments
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This past weekend, I walked in one day of the Atlanta 2-Day Walk for Breast Cancer and in the Atlanta Walk to Remember.

In addition to walking, Evan has been talking as well.  Last week he went to Capitol Hill with a group from the March of Dimes.  They spoke to members of Congress about the importance of newborn screening and funding prematurity studies.

This week, Evan spoke at the Atlanta Walk to Remember.  Below is his speech:

“Dad and Father”

I am the father of four children,
but I am “Dad” to only two kids.

Our six-year-old twins call me “Dad” or “Daddy”
– or sometimes other silly things, or things I won’t mention here.

Our first child, Jake, never left the hospital
and lived only 2 weeks.
He was born 14 weeks early
and with other ultimately unsolvable medical complications.

Our fourth child, Sawyer, was born happy and healthy
and came home with us.
But six weeks later, with no warning,
and for no reason that has yet been fully figured out,
his heart stopped working.

Neither Jake nor Sawyer ever got to call me anything.

My family and I grieve the deaths and loss of our boys,
as you all grieve the loss of your children and little loved-ones.

As their father, I grieve the loss of Jake and Sawyer’s childhoods,
the big moments that they were supposed to have but never will.
I grieve the loss of their chance to grow up, to flourish,
to become teenagers, young men, husbands and “Dads” themselves.
I grieve the lost ball games and trips and adventures we’ll never have.
I grieve all the missed hugs and high-fives.
I grieve even the cranky wake-ups and bedtime fits we know so well from our twins,
but never got to experience with Jake or Sawyer.

I grieve all the truly heart-warming bedtime snuggles
that will never happen with Jake or Sawyer.
Beyond all those missed tender moments,
I also grieve the loss of my belief that horrible things won’t happen to me or my loved ones.
I am all too aware now that they can happen to anyone – as they have happened to all of us.

It’s all I can do most of the time
to just hope nothing like losing Jake and Sawyer ever happens again.
As a father, I also grieve the loss of my once unshakable belief
that I could always protect my wife Lanie and all our children
from such terrible pain and anguish; that I can “fix” their problems;
that I can always make everything all better.

I know that I cannot make Jake or Sawyer all better or bring them back.
I’m not sure that grief is something a father can ever overcome.
Of course, I have learned that you do not overcome or get past grief.
You just go through it.
I hate that my family has to go through it too,
but thank heavens I have an incredible wife and wonderful kids
to travel along with me as I go down that path.

So I guess I will always grieve the loss of never being called “Dad” –
not even once – by Jake or Sawyer.

But that doesn’t mean I am not their father.
I am and always will be a proud father of all my kids,
no matter what they call me
or what they were never able to call me.

And, I am so very proud of Jake, Sawyer and the twins’ dad and father.

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9 Comments »

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  1. I love all of you and very proud to know you.

  2. Wow – Evan is amazing! wonderful and also proud of you for walking! Hope all the logistical planning worked out!! hugs from Belgium!!

  3. What a special husband you have!

  4. This is beautiful.

  5. Evan, a really beautiful speech.

  6. I’m repeatedly amazed at how beautifully and poignantly you all express yourselves.

  7. Amazing speech! And Alyssa is so pretty and adorable!

  8. Wonderful speech. Of course, I wish that he never had to give it and that I didn’t understand it so well.

  9. Just got to read this–what a lovely and heartfelt speech. I’m sure it was impactful-more than you can imagine.


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