At our tournament this year we will have a baby remembrance of babies that our foundation has helped, or that we have meet along our journey of establishing and running the foundation. We believe it is important to share their stories and say their names.
Today we remember Aaron. Aaron’s Mommy, Dana, was one of the first loss moms I met after Rhett passed away. We were paired up through Hope Mommies Dallas as our stories and family dynamics were very similar. I can’t thank Dana enough for always being a listening ear and offering such kind and sweet advice, no matter what my feelings or questions were. This is Aaron’s story…
Aaron Josiah Tran
August 14, 2016 – December 16, 2016
“Nine days before Christmas, we were preparing to leave for a party with the entire family in tow. Aaron had been napping longer than usual and it was about time to leave, so I (Dana) went upstairs to get him dressed. I found him unresponsive and despite multiple attempts by my husband, paramedics, and the ER doctor, he was unable to be resuscitated.
There are so many little everyday things we miss about Aaron. I (Dana) miss nursing him. I miss his knowing looks. I miss his knowing looks when I was nursing him. I miss knowing what he would be like at 5 months, 1 year, 18 years old…him being a father. I miss being able to dream about his future. I (Ly) miss his smell, the way he showed his comfort with me by rubbing his face into and laying his head down on my chest. In the beginning, grief took center stage in our lives and everything would trigger us and making decisions felt overwhelming. One driver that kept us going in that first year was the need to care for our other children and also realizing how necessary it was to lean into the pain and suffering in order to find healing. 2.5 years later, the pain of losing our son is just as acute as the night we found him gone, but the grief is integrated into our new reality.
What seems less often shared, most likely due to the difficulty of discerning the difference, is that we experienced trauma (PTSD) before grief. It was impossible to turn off the chaos on the night we found Aaron, and we would relive those moments over and over again. After some trauma counseling, we were able to start the grieving process which basically consumed us for a long time. Today, we look and act the same on the outside, but we feel completely changed on the inside.
I remember the irony of receiving the hospital bill and realizing that the ER visit cost as much as it did to birth our son, which is no small number. We were extremely blessed by a community of family, friends, and co-workers that provided for us in every way imaginable, including financial, emotional, physical, and spiritual support. Because those needs were taken care of, we had the freedom to focus on grieving as a family. I can’t emphasize how important that was for our healing and ability to move forward in life.
Having family or friends who can empathize with our loss come alongside us was a God-send. I am so grateful for organizations like the Rhett Sullivan Foundation that can meet the needs of those who do not have the same level of support that we received. The Sullivans themselves experienced a tragedy so truly understand all the needs that arise out of devastation. They recognized that having to worry about unexpected expenses kept families from fully grieving, which can impact everyday life.”
~Aaron’s Mommy & Daddy