Most of us look forward to birthdays. They’re often happy occasions marked by cake, balloons, presents and smiling faces. Justin and Jessica Quigley are celebrating their son Nash’s golden birthday. The gift they’re giving is bringing so much joy, so you might be surprised to find out it’s wrapped in memories of the happiest and most heartbreaking day they’ve faced.
Jessica and Justin Quigley are holding something special in their arms. These boxes are full of school supplies for Amy Dreke.
“They had us bring you your special delivery,” Jessica said.
These gracious gifts are how the Quigleys are celebrating their son Nash’s 6th birthday. They’re at Pettigrew Elementary to surprise the kindergarten teachers. Nash would’ve started kindergarten this year.
“You just kind of wonder who he’d be into. Maybe what kind of backpack he’d want to have,” Jessica said. “In the fall, when they send the messages about kindergarten registration, it hit me the district was going to be minus a registration this year and he’d be going into kindergarten.”
The family has a drawing that uses age technology to show a glimpse of what Nash would’ve looked like today. Sadly, he didn’t make it out of the hospital because he was stillborn.
“They couldn’t find a heartbeat,” Jessica said. “You don’t anticipate as a kid or growing up through life, planning your child’s funeral.”
That’s why every year, for Nash’s birthday, the Quigleys do something nice in the community.
“Giving to others and helping others is really what gets us through it,” Justin said.
Donating school supplies and gift cards to the people who would’ve taught their little boy feels like the best way to celebrate his golden birthday this year.
“Every time we either use one of the products or we buy something, my classroom will do something really fun to remember him and his family,” Amy Dreke, teacher, said.
This mom and dad of four other children hope their story helps other families dealing with this type of loss.
‘You can’t fill that void. You never will be able to. A lot of it comes back to remembering, making that spot in your life and highlighting that by helping others,” Justin said.
Jessica and Justin Quigley held someone special in their arms for far too short of a time. Rather than hang on to their pain, they’re carrying the joy Nash brought them, and giving it to others.
“Although he’s not physically here, this is his kindergarten class and his going to make an impact. He’s changing it,” Jessica said.