A Heartbreaking Story of Loss and Love
- Haley Parke and her husband, Jb, welcomed their second son into the world on the same day that Jb passed after a battle with cancer. The birth was a hurried c-section performed just in time for Jb to meet his son.
- Grief is unavoidable and crucial after losing a loved one to cancer.
- Therapy and support groups can be great tools to help you cope with all the emotions that come with loss.
Parke’s husband, Jb, was diagnosed with cancer in January 2021. When the two were expecting, they thought there would be plenty of time for him to meet their second son. But things got even more complicated when Jb’s cancer took a turn for the worst three weeks before the baby was due.Read More
That was when Parke decided to induce her baby early to grant Jb’s wish of meeting their son.
“Without hesitation, the team of ICU doctors communicated with the head of high risk labor and delivery doctors. They offered me an induction as soon as I was ready,” she wrote on her GoFundMe page and in a viral Facebook post. “I kissed my sweet husband goodbye and told him to be strong and hold on for me and the baby – he said he would.”
Parke then began the induction process on the night of Dec. 1 hoping to have a quick labor and a vaginal birth. But suddenly Jb was given just hours to live.
“It was either a c-section right at that moment, or Jb would not have the opportunity to meet our son,” she wrote.
So, without a second thought, Parker went for it.
“In a matter of literally one minute, I was in the OR, and in just a short 20 minutes later, our son was born,” she wrote. “He was given to me for a quick kiss, and then a team of doctors and nurses ran him up 2 floors, and he was placed on his daddy’s chest.”
And in a tear-jerking miracle moment, Jb’s vitals instantly improved. He acknowledged his son with “small head movements and sweet moans.”
“After stitching me up, doctors and nurses made room for my bed to be wheeled in right next to my husband’s,” she wrote. “Straight from the OR to ICU, I went. I spent my recovery time gazing at my husband. I was gazing at him in sadness, but in awe of his strength. He took his last breaths with our son on his chest and my hand in his hand.”
Parke shared with TODAY that she’s been dealing with “both [her] greatest grief and [her] greatest joy.”
“I have no words,” she said. “It’s very complicated.”
But Jb will always be remembered by his wife of three years, and his legacy now lives on with the baby’s name: John Beeson Parke – also lovingly referred to as baby Jb. Thankfully, baby Jb is healthy, and Parke can focus on mourning the loss of her beloved husband and navigating this new chapter in her life.
Dealing with Grief
Grief is inevitable, and essential, when you’re forced to say goodbye to a loved one. Giving yourself privacy can be hugely beneficial, but opening up to others – like Parke has done – can also allow for better healing.
In a previous interview, Doug Wendt shared his thoughts on the grieving process with SurvivorNet after losing his wife Alice to ovarian cancer.
“We’re never gonna move on, I don’t even think I want to move on, but I do want to move forward,” Wendt said. “That’s an important distinction, and I encourage anybody who goes through this journey as a caregiver and then has to face loss, to think very carefully about how to move forward.”
Everyone’s journey of grief looks different, but therapy and support groups can also be wonderful options to explore. It’s also important to keep in mind that time does not heal everything, but it certainly helps.
In an earlier interview with SurvivorNet, Camila Legaspi shared her own advice on grief after her mother died of breast cancer. For her, therapy made all the difference.
“Therapy saved my life,” Legaspi said. “I was dealing with some really intense anxiety and depression at that point. It just changed my life, because I was so drained by all the negativity that was going on. Going to a therapist helped me realize that there was still so much out there for me, that I still had my family, that I still had my siblings.”
Legaspi also wanted to remind people that even though it can be an incredibly difficult experience to process, things will get better.
“When you lose someone, it’s really, really, really hard,” Legaspi said. “I’m so happy that I talked to my therapist. Keep your chin up, and it’s going to be OK. No matter what happens, it’s going to be OK.”