18 May Life After Loss
By Kristi Rasor
The year 2005 was life-changing for me. My husband, Matt, and I had a two-year-old son, Dylan, who was receiving early intervention services for speech delay and sensory issues. As a first-time mom, I often felt overwhelmed because I didn’t know what I was doing or how I could help my son communicate.
In the midst of that, I found out I was pregnant. I had a normal pregnancy and delivery with zero complications. Our second son, Tyler, was born December 1st, seemingly healthy. We had him home for a week and then noticed some bruising and swelling in his abdomen area, and I took him to our pediatrician the next day. Every doctor in that office ended up looking at him but they were all baffled and sent us to the Toledo Hospital. We spent the next ten days in the NICU trying to figure out what was going on. Tyler’s abdomen was purple and very swollen. The doctors knew that his blood wasn’t clotting because his platelet counts were always low. Tyler had at least one platelet transfusion every single day.
Doctors still couldn’t give us any solid answers, so we were transferred to Cincinnati Children’s Hospital. We were told that the best doctors to care for him would be there. Four days before Christmas, I flew to Cincinnati in a small airplane with a couple of nurses and my newborn. Tyler went into surgery the next day for a biopsy of a mass located in his abdomen.
My faith was up and I was believing that God was in control and that we were finally going to get some answers. A few hours later, I was stunned when my husband and I were told that the surgery did not go well. Tyler’s blood was not clotting, but the doctor was able to get a quick biopsy.
We were given the devastating news that it was cancer, and that it had already spread throughout his body. Matt and I said goodbye to our son that night, on December 22nd.
After grieving and wondering why all of this happened, we became intentional about making something good come from it. I was previously too afraid to do it, but I became a blood donor on a regular basis because of all of the platelet donations that were used for our son. Our family also raised money to build a clean water well in Ghana to help someone else’s children. In 2012, our son Dylan started a business, Dylan’s Candle Company, and decided to donate a portion of every sale to organizations helping kids fight cancer.
December is still an emotional month for me, but these are examples of how we keep Tyler’s memory alive. I may never understand why I had to go through the pain of losing a child, but I have always trusted God and His ability to know what’s best for me. I learned so much about myself that year and just how strong I really am through Christ.
A year and a half later, I found out I was pregnant for the third time. We never wanted to try to “replace” Tyler, but we knew we wanted another child when the time was right. The enemy tried to plant lies in my mind, but I never feared that this child would have cancer or not survive. My trust was in God alone.
In the beautiful way that only our faithful God can do something, we were given a “new beginning” with the birth of our third son, Jackson, on January 1, 2008. I’ve never felt like that was a coincidence, especially considering that my due date was January 10th!
I love sharing my story and giving hope to others. Even in the most devastating, confusing, and painful times in our lives, God is always faithful and will make something beautiful out of it if we allow Him to.