I guess you never know what life is going to bring. As I sit here in our house surrounded by the life we built together I can't help but remember all the good times we had together - but since all of them were good times, my thoughts might be biased a bit.
I met my beautiful wife senior year of High School. I had no idea at time we would spend the next 14 years together living in 3 states and traveling all over the US and most of the northern hemisphere. We have had so many good times in so many different states and countries it is difficult to remember all the trips.
After our relationship lasted High School, College and her first year of Grad School (and if you have ever known someone through that time stretch, you know some things change... just a little...!) we decided to get married. We can never do anything normally, so we went to the Justice of the Peace and got married to save on paperwork. Then we flew to Italy and got married in the church with her family. Then we flew home and threw another party for our American family and friends. So basically we got married three times. We always joked we would have to get divorced three times as well!
After grad school and her PhD in Applied Mathematics (Smart, beautiful - I married WAAAAYYYY up!) she got a Post-Doc at Rice University and we moved down to Houston. Things were starting to calm down in our life so we decided to do the whole family thing. In a very short time we had the wonderful news that our entire life was going to change again by adding another member to the family. Just because it was the type of selfless person she was, she still jumped on a plane and interviewed all over the country for her next job (the post-doc was only for three years and it was going to be time to move on again!) and she managed get a job at Clemson University - and a year deferral to help with the family starting process. Hard work and a huge amount of flexibility had put all the pieces in place for us again. Just as we thought life could not get any better.
I don't know if being a Paramedic made this next part better or worse. I understood the entire process. I understood most of the medical jargon they like to throw at you. Hell, I had seen the entire scene fold out before - I am just usually on the other end of it.
She was crossing the street. It was one of those really wide streets. The light turned when she was in the middle, but the first 2 lanes let her cross anyways. The third lane looked clear, and the driver had a green light. Jen could not see the car because it was blocked by the other 2 cars, and the car could not see Jen because she was blocked by the parked cars. It was an unintentional recipe for disaster.
The injuries were devastating. She was unconscious as the result of the accident. She was right across the street from a Level 1 Trauma Center and there was still nothing to be done. They managed to get her in surgery and emergency c-section our little girl but the injuries to Jen were just too severe.
I got the call no one wants to get at work and headed to the hospital only knowing that Jen was involved in an accident. I got to her bedside as it was decided no more life saving measures could be performed. In what I thought would be the hardest moment of my life I held her close as her heart stopped beating. I am very grateful I managed to get by her side and she did not have to die alone in that lonely hospital room.
With no time to mourn the death of my best friend and wife, I went upstairs to check on my new born infant child. Unfortunately she suffered trauma as mom did and the bleeding was just too much - she had a hypoxic brain injury and severe blood loss and it was not expected for her to regain brain function.
She was such a beautiful little girl, so perfectly formed and pretty. It was hard to understand by looking at her that she had no chance at this world.
I can say that little girl got more loving in her 28 short hours than some people get in their entire life. I stayed with her through the night with all the procedures and tests to see if she could beat the one million-to-one odds, but the injuries were too severe, the brain damage from lack of oxygen too much.
I held her for the last several hours of her little life. I figured if Jen held her for the last 33 weeks in her womb the least I could do was hold her for her last several hours. I got her snuggled in and comfortable on my chest and let her know I would do anything in the world for her.
A little over a day after I held my wife as she died I held my infant child as they withdrew life support. It was all the sadness from the loss of my wife and the heartbreak from the loss of hope for this little one rolled into one. It was all most too much to take.
Please give your wives, children and loved ones an extra hug for me today, you never know what tomorrow might bring.
Pregnant pedestrian dies; her child delivered but critical