LIMA — For the first time in 23 years, Rachel is facing life without her husband, who died earlier this year. At the same time, she is now a single parent, raising the couple’s nearly 2-year-old son, who is facing challenges of his own.
Rachel first met Jake in middle school and the two had remained connected ever since. Finally, after more than a decade of marriage and resigning themselves to the fact that they would never have children of their own, Joe was born premature.
“I say he’s God’s miracle,” Rachel said. “He was the size of an iPhone.”
Joe and Rachel were able to leave the hospital after a nearly three-month stay, but Jake’s health soon started to decline, forcing him to spend two weeks in the hospital with pneumonia. One day, while Rachel was at work, Jake was found in his home on the floor suffering a heart attack.
“He was dead before the ambulance got there,” Rachel said.
Now raising Joe on her own, Rachel took a different position with lower pay so her schedule could accommodate being with her son, now nearly 2. While Rachel has had help from Jake’s extended family, including Jake’s daughter from a previous relationship, things have still been difficult for this newly single mom. Joe’s premature birth has left him with some breathing issues, possibly cystic fibrosis. Because of this, Rachel has to take him regularly to a clinic in Toledo. The expense of those trips, coupled with now being responsible for her mortgage and other bills, has taken a toll financially on Rachel.
“We have good days and we have bad days,” she said.
Despite that, Rachel is still hoping to give Joe a good Christmas. She is grateful for the help of the Salvation Army, but she says she could use help with gas cards to help offset the expense of traveling to doctor’s appointments. With Joe continuing to grow, he could also use some additional clothes in 18-month to 2T sizes.
Reach Craig Kelly at 567-242-0390 or on Twitter @Lima_CKelly.