Our Story

When this southerner laid eyes on a northerner moving in next door on a crisp January day, I didn’t have a clue he was about to sweep me off my feet. Eric and I have always said it was fate that brought us together. He is a Michigan boy, and I was born and raised in South Louisiana. We met in our apartment complex, both working full time, right after we graduated from college. Two-and-a-half years after I first knocked on his door to introduce myself, we were married.

In love and excited for the future ahead, we couldn’t even begin to expect what God would have in store for us. Three moves. Four states. Five years. Life was speeding by and we were ready for it to slow down a little so we could settle in.

Our oldest child, Kate, was born while we lived in Minnesota. Right before she turned one we moved to Wisconsin, our final destination. Three years later, after suffering through two miscarriages, we welcomed Jackson into the world.

In utero, Jackson was diagnosed with transposition of the great arteries. When he was five days old he underwent open heart surgery at Children’s Hospital of Milwaukee that lasted an agonizing 13 hours. He then spent seven weeks in the Cardiac ICU. There were some touch and go days, but because of the amazing medical care he received, we were finally able to bring Jackson home and start our lives as a family of four.

After coming home, Jackson thrived. He was growing strong. He was happy and healthy. Jackson was a charismatic little guy that brightened up any room he walked into. He loved giving kisses and hugs, puppy dogs, birds and trucks. Binkies, blankets and bottles. He was one of the happiest kids you ever would have met.

But on a brisk spring day in April our lives changed forever. Jackson woke up with a fever but nothing that worried us. Before he took a second nap that day, he was happy and smiling. You never would have known anything serious was going on in his little body. When Jackson closed his eyes for an afternoon nap, he peacefully moved to Heaven. One day shy of his second birthday, Jackson left us to be with Jesus.

As the days and months passed, we meandered through our grief. Not knowing how we would ever learn to welcome joy back in our lives, our family grew as Ryder Jackson Reese entered the world.

Today, our family juggles the grief and joy, finding the balance in living our lives for Jackson. We have been dealt a hand that no family should hold. But through it all, we’ve remained strong in our faith, we’ve grown as a family, and we have learned how precious life is. Now, we are just taking life day-by-day and living with the hope that we will all be together again one day.

Reese Family

Reese Family