RIP Jamie Denise Tharpe
02.12.1976 - 12.13.2011
It started just over thirteen years ago, this family's pain. I mean, we had felt loss and pain within the family before that, but our immediate family - my parents, my sister, her children, and myself - it really started for us then. Jamie was pregnant with her fourth son. Having had three pregnancies and birthed three healthy boys, no one expected anything to go wrong. But, it did. One day, during a routine ultrasound, the tech's expression changed, and she said, "What a pretty heart, let me get the doctor." And left my sister in the room, knowing that something was very, very wrong. That was the beginning of the spiral, a baby coming with a diagnosis of Hypoplastic Left Heart Syndrome. Hunter was born on November 27th, 1999, with the best Apgar scores of all of Jamie's children, seemingly healthy. But, because of the ultrasound, we knew, and he was rushed off by life flight to the children's hospital in Birmingham, where my sister and my mother joined him the next morning. He went through two surgeries, and during one, the surgeon tore a hole in his tiny heart, there just was not enough tissue to work with. The hole couldn't be repaired, and my sister made the hardest decision of her life - when Hunter Reed was four days old, on December 1st, 1999, she allowed the doctors to turn off life support, she allowed her son to stop suffering, and she watched him die... Again, I'm brought back to Death Cab for Cutie... "Love is watching someone die." My sister was not the same after that... Only it didn't stop there. We buried our precious Hunter, a beautiful baby boy that only ever opened his eyes long enough to see me, he was too tired and drugged to open them the rest of his little life.
Four months later, we buried Jamie's second son, Tyler.