1,825. That’s how many days my son has been gone.

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1,825. That’s how many days my son has been gone. And every single day I think of my boy; his sweet, angelic face engraved in my mind. Losing a child is a parent’s worst nightmare. And while the grief changes over time, it’s always present, even five years later.

43,800 hours I’ve lived without him. I have wondered what it would be like to watch Parker take his first steps. I picture him playing T-ball, with his father coaching from the dugout. And I watch our surviving triplet with tears in my eyes, wondering what it would be like if my son was playing by her side. I can hear the giggles of their inside jokes and I can envision the sobs as Parker tattles on his boisterous sister.

55 days. That’s how long my son lived, his entire life spent within the walls of a hospital. His calm disposition was a stark difference from his sister living in the isolette next to him. His blonde hair was often wild; strands of golden locks shooting out in all directions. His curious eyes were always open, never wanting to miss a moment around him. Even at just over one pound, his little features were perfect; ten tiny toes, an adorable button nose, ten itty-bitty fingers. I would give anything to hold my sweet boy again, to feel his warm body and his sweet baby scent.

Courtesy of Stacey Skrysak

5 years have passed by since I last held my son. Some days it feels like an eternity, other times it feels like just yesterday. There is no amount of time that will completely heal my heart. A little piece of me died on August 16, 2013, the day my son took his final breath. The tears and heartache resurface every year around his anniversary and the grief arises at random times throughout the year. But through the tears, I smile. In my son’s short time, he changed my life.

My son may have been fragile, but his will was unbreakable. His strength put on display day in and day out. Parker helped me see the world through different lenses, showing me the importance of living each day to the fullest. My son taught me patience and perseverance, and made me realize I’m stronger than I ever thought possible. He taught me that while life may be unpredictable, each day is a gift we need to cherish.

Courtesy of Stacey Skrysak

6:12. It’s a moment in time when my life changed forever. It’s the moment I gently rocked my son as he took his final breath. In the hours before, he gazed at me peacefully with a smile, quietly listening to the sound of my voice. I held back my tears as I read to him our favorite books, not wanting my son to sense my sadness. Instead, he felt immense love and strength. While many parents remember the time their child was born, I will always remember my son’s time of death.

1320 hours. That’s how long Parker lived. But my son’s life isn’t defined by a number. It doesn’t matter whether you spend 80 years on earth, 20 years or 55 days. It doesn’t matter whether you only spent only a few minutes here, or maybe just weeks inside the womb. It only takes one moment to make a profound impact on this world and my son did that the day he was born.

It’s been five years since my son passed away. My family has faced a bumpy road filled with steep hills and detours, but along the way we have found happiness and peace. And as we find life after loss, our heart fills with joy. Our son will never be forgotten, no matter how many days or years pass by.

Courtesy of Stacey Skrysak

This story was written by Stacey Skrysak, an award winning television journalist based in Illinois. You can follow her on Facebook. Submit your own story here, and subscribe to our best stories in our free newsletter here.

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