I cherished every moment that I had with him and the times that I was able to hold him as he spent some time out of his isolette in the NICU at Strong Memorial Hospital. I am thankful for all of the nurses and doctors that cared for him day and night and took our phone calls at all hours just to check on him. I would call from work and we would call from home before we crashed into our bed, even if we had just left him to come home.
I included a few of the pictures here because these are how I like to remember Jackson. He always had toys in his isolette, seemingly a new and different one every day. We read books to him ("How the Grinch Stole Christmas" and "Guess How Much I Love You" were some of his favorites) and sang him songs. He always had cute little hats (like this pumpkin one above) that had been donated to the NICU to help keep the babies warm. This particular one was his second pumpkin hat, the first one being about five sizes too big, but still too small to fit over my fist.
Even though we only had Jackson physically in our arms for a month, he has left a lasting impact on our lives and hopefully the lives many other people. One thing that helps us every year is a memorial service put on by the staff of the hospital for the families of children who passed away there. There is always beautiful music and stories that are shared about beautiful and wonderful children taken too soon from their families.
It helps to know that there are other people out there living with the same pain that we have. It doesn't lessen or dull the pain any, but at least we know we're not alone.
After losing him, there is really nothing in the world that I truly fear, save one thing. I fear that, when I am dead and gone and my family has progressed through a few generations, Jackson may be forgotten. Perhaps by immortalizing him on the internet, I can avoid that. Please help me keep the memory of my boy and others like him alive by sharing.
Jackson Raymond Hafner Ytreberg
October 25, 2007 ~ November 26, 2007