The Story That Needs to be Told
With 15 minutes left to live, I give you a short story.
My eldest son was also my shortest lived. The one thing that I want to pass on when I am gone is that I loved this boy with all my heart and wish that he was still here to carry on my legacy. Jackson Raymond Hafner Ytreberg was only on this earth for 31 short days but in that time touch many hearts. When he passed, my wife and I were stricken with grief that we had never imagined before. However, there was such an outpouring of love and support, that things gradually became easier. Our family set up a burial plot for him which was next to my wife’s maternal grandparents. This way, Jackson would be able to spend eternity with ‘Nanny and Papa’. We also had help setting up calling hours at a local funeral home in Webster, NY. It was a small place and not at all suitable for the crowds that showed up. People from both of our workplaces, both sides of our extended families, drum corps, high school, college, everything. It was supposed to be 2 hours of calling hours and at that time there was a line still going out the door of the funeral parlor.
It’s still difficult when people ask the question “How many kids do you have?” I’ve gotten better at answering it over the last four years (has it really been that long?) but it’s never any easier. I hate to put people in the position that they don’t know what to say when I tell them that one of my children has passed away. It’s something that most people never think of and I had honestly never thought of before it happened to me.
It’s amazing to see the people that it has happened to though. I would venture that roughly half of our population has experience something like this in terms of the loss of a baby, having a baby be stillborn or having a miscarriage. I have no statistics to back that up, but the numbers always surprise me.
So it has been almost 4 years since I lost my son and I have a two year old at home with another baby on the way. I wish that I would be able to see her and hold her the way I’ve held my two boys. Both of them looked up at me the moment that the nurses laid them in my arms in the operating room. They both had enormously bright blue eyes just like their mother. I think that is one of the things I will miss about them all the most is their eyes. I hope that my baby girl has brown eyes like me so that my wife and family can look into her eyes and see a piece of me forever.
Five minutes, not that I’m counting.
I wish that I could see all of my family in these last few minutes. There are always so many things to say to everyone that you don’t think about until the end. I would tell my wife that I love her and that I’m sorry I have to go; my kids that I love them and to take care of their mother; my mom that I respect her so much more now for raising me like she did since I have kids of my own; my father I would thank for providing everything I ever needed and giving me guidance even when I didn’t THINK I needed it; my sisters I would thank for always being there for me and paving the way for me growing up; my brother I would thank for being just like me and at the same time, nothing like me. All of the drum corps and marching band and drumline people I would want them to keep performing and never give up the hope that you can come in first place on any given night, but at the same time do it for yourself and the crowd, not the judges. My friends at work, I would tell them to remember the good things that I did with the job and hope that ADT is around for another 100+ years and that I did something to help prolong its existence.
Lastly, since my time is almost up, if you’re reading this now, please think of my baby boy Jackson who wasn’t given enough time on this earth but still impacted many people…