Previously, I have written about the time leading up to Jack’s death and the first moments we spent with him after his passing. In honor of Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness month, tonight I have decided to write the remaining piece of his story. While I have a link to his general story above, I wrote that when we had just come home and I couldn’t bring myself to go into detail. And so, if you care to read this, then I thank you for remembering with me tonight.


Jack Everett Hughes~May 10th, 2010

After Dustin made it to the hospital and we went to the NICU together to see Jack, I remember watching him hold our son all wrapped up in a blanket wearing his little white gown. I can’t remember what he said, all I could keep thinking is “this isn’t how it should be”. Eventually, after we both cried for what seemed like eternity, they wheeled me into a room with Jack in my arms so we could have time with him and our extended family. My parents and Dustin’s mom all got to hold Jack and privately say goodbye. I would later return to that room when I made our first memory box delivery to them.

During the time that everyone held Jack I don’t honestly remember much. I don’t remember leaving that room and I don’t recall where they took Jack after that point. I was wheeled back to our room (I was in a chair since I had just had an emergency classical c-section) and made it back to our bed. More family and friends were told about Jack’s dying. To this day, I don’t know how everyone found out. I know I called Dustin and I think I called my co-worker Randi but I don’t remember talking to anyone else. The chaplain, Ms. Portia Lockett, came to our room to discuss the arrangements we would make for Jack. She showed us the options we had and told us we could do a service for him in our hospital room, since I would still need days to recover from the surgery. We agreed to that plan and we were convinced that donating Jack’s body was the best thing to do. The service was set for later on though, I don’t know now if it was morning or afternoon.

People came to sit with us in the meanwhile, they rotated through the room and eventually filled it. My sister-in-law gave me the shirt off her back so I wouldn’t have to wear a hospital gown for Jack’s funeral. A gesture I will never forget. The balloons and things in my room from the mother’s day the day previous were gone somehow. Maybe just pushed aside so I wouldn’t see them, I really can’t be sure. I was on so much medication for pain and I really hate that some things aren’t clear to me anymore.

Dustin I think was as in shock as I was. I remember feeling so badly for him that I had to call him and tell him about Jack. He had just gone home after being with us for so long and I knew it bothered him that he wasn’t here for us then. We cried so much that day, waiting for the service. I don’t think I have ever cried like that for anything or anyone else. It was the kind of crying that didn’t empty you out. It just made you sore and sadder.

Finally it was time for Jack’s service and by then our close friends, co-workers and family were there in the hospital room. The chaplain brought Jack in the room in a little bassinet. He was dressed in a little blue outfit and he had a little blue hat on. He also had a teddy bear and bunny rabbit with him. They placed Jack in my arms and by then, he was already cold. But I didn’t care. I was holding my baby, whom we loved more than anything. I looked down at him and all I could was say I am sorry. I felt guilt for my body failing him, for my water breaking too soon. Dustin held him too and we both tried our best to memorize his little face and hands. We were never told we could undress him or bath him. Something I will always regret. No one took any photos of us as a family, another thing I wish we had done.

The service itself went quickly it seemed and everyone prayed and expressed their sympathies to us. I don’t remember the words that were spoken. I just remember sobbing.

And when everyone left, they let us be with Jack for a little while until it was time to give him back. I didn’t want to give him back and I know Dustin didn’t want to either. And when he was gone, there was an overwhelming feeling of true emptiness. Just the day before, I had sung my son to sleep inside his isolette. He turned his head to listen to my voice. And now, we had just given him to the chaplain to be taken to the morgue. My heart couldn’t believe it.

We were eventually discharged from the hospital the next day, after being given sleeping pills to help us through that first cold night. Dustin wanted me home just as badly as I wanted to leave. But I knew in my heart leaving, meant leaving Jack. And that broke my heart even further.

When we finally went home I think the shock began to wear off, and the process of true grief began. Eventually, we discovered that the hospital did not cremate Jack’s body as planned. They actually lost track of him because his death certificate was not signed. And thanks to that mistake, we were able to change our minds. The good people at Howe-Peterson funeral home cremated Jack for us and we were able to eventually bring him home (about a month after his death). We didn’t know there would be any remains at all until the people at our new found support group told us there should be. The hospital gave us the impression that there would be nothing left, so that was why we opted for donation. Every time I walk by Jack’s urn I thank those people for telling us the truth.

One of the people we met in our group, Chandra, had lost her daughter in a similar fashion and way as we did Jack. She and her husband were kind enough to buy Jack’s urn for us because at the time, we could not afford one. We are forever thankful to them.

Jack’s story did not end with his death. It was because of the few items we received after his passing, his blanket, clothes and stuffed animals, that we were eventually inspired to start Jack’s Day: The Giving Project. Now, through the help of our support group, Jack’s legacy lives on as well help newly bereaved families create memories. It has been a healing journey to help others in need. And now that we have our rainbow baby Owen, the healing continues. But no matter how much time passes, we will always remember Jack.