How Their Loss Is Helping Them Do Good
Danielle Jones was working at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center when we first met. I remember us walking through the hallways, into the waiting rooms, and even further into the patient rooms where young, innocent girls and boys were resting nervously with their families before or after procedures.
One thing that strikes you when you visit that mammoth, internationally acclaimed medical facility where parents travel across continents and states to spend days, weeks and months, is how, despite the seriousness of their, the hospital team goes to great lengths to uplift spirits through imagery, therapy dogs, entertainers, and volunteers.
What I remember most about Danielle from those days is her smile. She always made us feel welcome. She put the families of patients at ease. She was someone, I recalled thinking, who clearly enjoyed life.
And so, when I learned of her own personal story – the one she shares with her husband Chris, it did not surprise me that theirs – despite deep tragedies, challenges, and life tests – is a story of love, fortitude, courage, and generosity.
Remember those wedding vows? The ones that include for better or for worse, in sickness and in health, for richer or for poorer? Yes, they came to know the meaning of those vows sooner rather than later.
Within the first few years of marriage, they came face-to-face with the unemployment, a diagnosis of multiple sclerosis, a cancer scare, the loss of a loved one, and the devastating loss of their newborn son. Through it all they were steadfast in their love and their faith, and made a decision to create good from the bad.
They tell their story in a book, “As Sure as Tomorrow Comes”, that benefits the Angel Baby Network which they founded to help other parents.
Please learn more below.
Lisa: Please tell us a little about your love story.
Danielle and Chris: We met in 2006 working on our church’s first and only single’s conference. Chris was the only male on the planning committee and he was the only single male in the church in my age range. We started off by flirting with each other and we ended up deciding to hang out one weekend. The weekend after that we had our first date and we never stopped going out with each other. We knew we were meant to be together because we always had fun together and we enjoyed each other’s company.
Lisa: What are the greatest strengths you see in each other?
Danielle: The greatest strengths that I see in Chris are his ability to always be true to himself others. Chris is unapologetically himself, which means he’s always honest and he’ll always tell you what he thinks about something or someone. I also admire his perseverance. He never gives up and he always bounces back from whatever life throws at him.
Chris: Danielle has great writing skills. She was able to recall most of the events that happened in our lives like they’d happened just yesterday when she was writing our book. She also has great people skills and can get along with anyone. I admire Danielle’s tenacity and her ability to smile even when we are going through hard times.
Lisa: Unemployment. A car accident. A terrifying medical diagnosis. The loss of a loved one. The death of your 10-day-old son, Junior. Any one of those life circumstances would be a lot for someone to process and live through. What lessons have those experiences taught you about your own strength, and about life?
Danielle: Our experiences have taught us that with our faith in God and with our love for each other we can make it through anything. Chris always says that at some point in life, everyone is going to get rained on, but they get to decide how they are going to go through it and I always say that life is 10 percent of what happens to you and the other 90 percent is how you respond to it. We’ve made a decision to keep on going, no matter how hard life has gotten. And we’ve decided to help other people along the way.
Lisa: Please tell us about the Angel Baby Network and how it has touched other parents.
Danielle: A few months after our son passed away, I started Angel Baby Network as a way to help other families who had also lost children. I remember feeling like I was all alone. I knew that other families had to be feeling the same way and I wanted to do something to help them. Angel Baby Network gives bereaved parents a way to get together and be around other families who are just like them. We give them an opportunity to share their grief with each other and we empower each other to keep the memories of our children alive.