In the Grief of Unexpected Loss, I Found My Life’s Purpose

Written by Jenna’s father, Jim Becker, who founded Jenna’s Foundation in her name and honor.

In 2009, my two year old daughter, Jenna, died, and my life changed forever.

My wife and I rushed Jenna to Children’s Memorial Hospital on Friday, May 29. She was having seizures. By Tuesday, June 2, Jenna our firstborn, passed away from a virus called viral encephalitis.

I hadn’t realized it, but until that point my life was a façade. I played the part people expected of me – devoted father; husband to the woman I love, who was two months pregnant with our second child Sydnie; successful businessman. However, I had no purpose in life.

I will never forget the day I met Jenna for the first time. It was magic to hold her small, precious hand, to watch her draw her first breaths and to cry for the first time.

When Jenna died I no longer recognize the person I was. I suck into a deep depression tinged with grief I could not shake, into darkness I could not understand. My world looked like the aftermath of a devastating wildfire – charred, bleak, and lifeless.

I questioned everything and found solace in nothing. I was in bad shape and in a state of quandary. I wondered how I could move forward in the face of such unimaginable pain and sorrow.

Eventually, I found a light.

I still think of her every day and there are times of intense stabbing sorrow and pain. I didn’t get over Jenna, I never will, but I started to move forward. I chose to continue living and not become a victim. I found that purpose is more significant than pain.

Purpose is your reason for living. It is what you are trying to do with your life or what you are trying to become.

How do you find it?  

By believing that today is the first day of the rest of your life, and by not dwelling on your past or mistakes. By having lived life with no regrets.

Jenna’s Foundation was created in her name to honor her love of life and all living things. To help others in need as my little girl always wanted to do.

Jim Becker & The Becker Family

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