Everything that I have written since Rees’ passing shares one thing in common: it’s from my perspective – the grieving father who lost his only boy. The pages of text I have placed out into cyberspace have documented my struggles and doubts, my ups and my downs. In return, countless people who I do not know, and most likely will never meet, have showered me with support and urged me to continue documenting my grief and sharing my hopes. Through it all I have remained the voice of ReesSpecht Life, and by extension Rees. As much as I may represent the voice of my little boy, there is no doubt about who is ,was, and always will be the living heart of who he was and what ReesSpecht Life is all about; my wife, Samantha.
Samantha and I are a couple that defies the odds. We met in the summer before our first year of High School while on a German exchange program but did not start dating until our senior year. I doggedly pursued her for two and half years until she finally relented and realized that I just do not accept no as an answer. After several break-ups and four years of college later, we married on July, 1st 2000. According to statistics, our marriage should have been doomed for failure as high school sweethearts have a greater than 50% divorce rate within the first decade of marriage.
Never a fan of statistics as a reliable predictor, I never once entertained the thought that we can be torn apart. From the moment that I discovered that I loved her I literally have not spent a moment thinking that anyone else could ever take her place by my side. As cliche’d as the words soul mate are, I can think of no better title for her. Samantha completes me and compliments me in every way possible. Her unmistakable laugh lifts my spirits from the deepest depths. Her wit and steadfastness simultaneously keeps me on my toes and grounds me. Samantha is the most selfless, caring and thoughtful person I have ever had the pleasure to be around. She is simply an amazing woman. It is my pleasure to wake up beside her every morning of my life and my honor to know I will continue to do so until death parts us – and I know it will only be death that does part us.
Statistics also say that up to 80-90% of marriages in which a child dies ends in a divorce. As my reality has so painfully taught me, there is no greater loss that one can suffer than the loss of their child,. I can see how marriages dissolve upon the loss of child as it is exponentially more difficult to deal with this loss when you know that the person you love is suffering a loss of equal magnitude and you are as powerless to take that pain away from them as you are from yourself. This shared pain acts like a hot potato thrown back and forth, over and over, each partner holding the scalding object attempting to keep the pain from the other until the searing pain necessitates the relinguishing of it to the other; burning each in the process. If one person tries to hold the potato too long the burn becomes so severe that they are forced to throw the potato – with the outcome still resulting in two burns, except one is burned to a greater degree. It is impossible to escape the intense heat, but there is a way to mitigate its damage; communication. An approach in which one parter only briefly touches the hot potato and quickly passes it to the partner and vice versa will expose each partner to the thermal energy of the object albeit ever so briefly leaving little time for the skin to burn. This is exceedingly difficult to do, and only careful communication and coordination makes it possible.
I believe the grief of losing a child acts in much the same way as the hot potato. It is only the partners who can recognize and communicate their pain to their partner who are able to keep each other from being consumed by the inferno of grief. Samantha is the single greatest insulator to my pain and I can only hope that she finds reciprocity from me. Samantha proves to me on a daily basis that the power of true love can conquer anything. She is the heart and soul of our family and ReesSpecht Life. She gives of herself without thinking twice about herself and always goes above and beyond. My words may express the ideas and sentiment of ReesSpecht life, but Sam is its beating heart. I know all to well what she lost on October 27th, 2012 and it pains me to know that I can never take her pain away. Samantha is, and always will be, the light that shines for me in brightest day and darkest night. While I know that taking her pain away is not possible I know that I can do for her what she has always done for me: Be there, anytime, anywhere. Samantha, you are my heart, my soul, my Love.