Jackson Raymond Hafner Ytreberg came into the world on October 25th, 2007. My wife Denise and I had barely been married for a year and were the two most excited people on the planet to get our little man in our arms. We didn't know what to expect (and yes, I had opened the baby books, but not really read any of them) but we didn't care. We knew we wanted to have kids and were so happy to have the blessing of Jackson coming into our lives.
I cannot believe that it has been almost 5 years since we first found out that we were going to have a baby. So much has happened in that time and it's hard to remember everything. We took a trip back in time tonight and read through some journals that we kept in the time leading up to Jackson's birth and through the time that he was with us before his passing on November 26th, 2007. It was tough to relive the roller coaster ride that was that month and while it will never be easy to deal with his loss, sharing his memory with others can help to deal with the pain.
We also want to send out a prayer to a local family that we heard about who lost a child over the weekend. I know that it probably happens every day, in every city and town in the country, but that will never make it any easier to deal with. As someone who has lost a child, every time I hear about another family in that situation, it makes me relive my own experience.
There was a time in life that I was afraid of the dark. There was a time in life when I was afraid of failing. There was a time in life when I was afraid that I would let down the people closest to me.
I'm no longer afraid of any of those things and it's all thanks to my little boy Jackson. He taught me not to be afraid by the way that he fought for his life every second of every day, never giving up until we told him that it was OK to do so.
There was, however, one thing that Jackson couldn't drive out of me, one fear that sticks with me to this day. I often wonder if Jackson's sacrifice will someday be lost to the winds of time. We have the pictures and the stories, but what happens when all the people who knew him are gone? Will his brother and sister ever truly understand how special he is and in turn how special they are? Will they tell their children and grandchildren about the uncle that went on before? I hope and pray that they do and that they can have even a fraction of understanding about who Jackson is and that they continue to celebrate his time with us long into the future.
Please take a moment and send a prayer to Jackson, and to all children who have been taken from their families too soon. We must all make sure that they live on in our hearts and minds.