10 years later, loss is too painful

Loss of first-born grandson is painful annual memory for family that is sustained by hope from future

Ten years ago yesterday, on June 25, 2005, the way I look at the world changed forever. On that day, anticipated for months with joy, my firstborn grandson was due to join a happy family that already included two big sisters.

His mommy and a friend finished painting the trim in his room and painted his name, Zac, at the end of a strip of sports themed symbols. Grampy Dave put together the crib and I washed and folded little baby clothes for his first month at home.

I kissed his mommy's tummy goodbye and told him all was ready for you, Baby Zac. About midnight, I got a call. We’re going to the hospital. But my daughter sounded strange and stressed. This was her third baby and she knew what felt right.

"It's bad Mom," she said. "It's really bad."

An hour or so later, my son-in-law called from the hospital, his voice so broken with tears I could barely understand him.

"Our Zac is gone. We’ve lost him," he said. "Our baby is gone."

Active, big boy, strong boy Zac during the pregnancy had flipped and flopped and become entangled in his extra-long umbilical cord. He died on the day before he was due to be born.

Tonight, we met at the cemetery where he is buried in Babyland and released baby blue and white ballons in his memory. His little brothers, Jackson and Dylan ran and played and asked about the toys and flowers at the tombstones nearby.

And then Jackson ran up to his mom, backed off and sat down and began to cry. He said he wasn't crying for Zac because he never knew him. He was crying for his mom because she hurt so bad that when he got close to her he hurt too and when she hugged him, his heart hurt so bad he couldn't help crying.

He even told his mom to stay away and not hug him; it hurt so bad to feel how much she hurt.

I told him his mom needed to feel her big, strong, healthy boy and if he hugged back hard enough  both of them could not feel the hurt. So he did.

I am the grandma in this. As a struggling single mom, I refused to think the unthinkable thought of losing a child. I have survived seeing my child face that loss. You would think time makes it easier. It doesn't. Ten years. Love you, Baby Zac.

Love you, Mommy Jacky and Daddy Matt. Hold those babies tight and we will survive.

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