A Stray Bullet Killed Her Husband Just Days After Their Son Was Born
At 33 years old, Jessica Ayers describes herself as “much sadder but wiser.” That’s because, just days after her son was born, her husband was killed by a stray bullet in a freak accident. Two years later, she opened up about the horrifying experience. And her heart-wrenching essay about overcoming such a tragedy is truly inspirational!
Falling In Love
Jessica met and fell in love with her husband, Justin, when she was just 14 years old.
“He could play the guitar like Jimi Hendrix and crack a joke like Jerry Seinfeld,” she said. “He was a smart, talented, adorable, funny, passionate boy, and I took notice.”
Their love proved to be more than just teenage hormones, and the couple tied the knot shortly after Jessica graduated high school.
The lovebirds opted to wait to start a family. They had a shared passion for music, and spent the next decade focusing on that. But the day finally came where they were ready to be parents.
The Next Step
Soon, God blessed Jessica and Justin with a beautiful baby boy. They named him Jax.
“Beyond a shadow of a doubt, bringing a child into this world has to be one of the most incredible feelings a woman can experience in life,” Jessica recalled.
After enjoying so many years as husband and wife, the two were ecstatic about starting a new chapter in their lives as a family. However, the excitement was short lived.
There had been some complications during the delivery, so Jessica, Justin and Jax spent an extra day in the hospital. Then, finally it was time to head home with their bundle of joy.
How A Stray Bullet Changed It All
Jessica refers to the day after they came home from the hospital as “the day the music died.” Justin just so happened to be getting up from the sofa at the exact moment a stray bullet crashed through the window. It’s the kind of freak occurrence where you can’t help but ask, why? And it’s a question that will never be answered here on Earth.
It was the couple’s next door neighbor, who fired the stray bullet that killed Justin. He was a troubled man who made several poor choices that day, the worst of which being the decision to handle a firearm while intoxicated. The gun went off, and despite it being against all odds, the bullet travelled more than 200 feet, missing a slew of trees before crashing through the Ayer’s window and hitting the back of Justin’s head as he stood up.
“The odds, I’d guess, are one in infinity,” said the Sheriff at the time. “This was just tragic.”
The police arrested and charged the reckless man. He faces 19 years behind bars.
A Harsh Reality
Jessica could have never prepared for such a traumatic event.
“I had a 3-day-old baby and now a dead husband,” she said. “I was a brand-new mother and now a widow at only 31 years old. . . It seems incomprehensible to try to portray the level of darkness I slipped into.”
Just one week after coming into this world, Jax was at his father’s funeral. And Jessica was trying to juggle the demands of a new mom with the overwhelming grief of having her husband killed days after their son’s birth.
We’ll never understand exactly how Justin’s death fits into God’s plan. But there’s no doubt that Jax’s birth fits in perfectly.
Jessica’s family and friends swooped in right away to help. While her support group was minding Jax, Jessica snuck off to the bathroom. It was the first time Jessica was “allowed to be alone” after Justin’s death. She lay on the cold, tile floor, covered in tears.
Noticing her extended absence, worried friends and family banged on the bathroom door, begging Jessica to open up. But she’d decided she was ready to completely give up. She wanted to die. That is, until a special angel changed her mind.
“I could hear multiple voices in the hallway, all pleading for me to open the door. But in the distance I could hear a tiny voice that resonated in my heart,” she said. “It was Jax, he was hungry, and I knew I was his source for food. . . I realized that even though the life I’d worked so hard for was gone, I could try and start a new one. My son needed me to survive, and I needed him. . . Life is a series of choices, and this choice to live started with my decision to get up off the bathroom floor and feed my infant son.”
Jessica still had a long road of grieving ahead of her. But she also had all the motivation she needed to keep going bundled up in the perfect, little body of her baby boy. His precious face is what got her through the darkest times. It’s what helped her push past all of the fear and pain.
A New Start
Since making the choice to live, Jessica has rekindled her love of music by joining a traveling band.
“I say I’m a stay at home mom during the week and on the weekends I get to play rock star,” she said.
The band not only provides an outlet for Jessica, but also a way to reconnect with a passion she once shared with Justin. And she’s hoping her story of overcoming can be the light in someone else’s time of darkness.
“I just hope other people that have bad things happen to them can realize that you can have happiness again,” Jessica says.
Grief can be isolating and completely overwhelming. But we are never alone. God is by our side, and He always wants us to make the choice to keep going.
Here are a few tips for dealing with grief:
- Realize that grief is normal, and allow yourself to fully experience your emotions, which may include shock, disbelief, anger, sadness, regret and anxiety. Have patience with yourself as you go through the grieving process, which lasts a different amount of time for each person.
- Don’t be afraid to cry. Tears can be therapeutic.
- Invite the Holy Spirit to help you heal by transforming your pain into personal growth. Know that you can adjust to your loss and step into a positive future by accepting God’s grace and investing your energy in new pursuits.
- Be honest about your struggles with grief when talking with others, and accept support others offer you.
- Keep a journal of your thoughts and feelings, and pray specifically about them, asking God to unleash His healing power in your life.
You can find more suggestions on dealing with grief HERE.
Here are 5 verses of comfort to read during grief:
- "He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds." Ps. 147:3
- "Do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, I will help you, yes, I will uphold you with My righteous right hand." Is. 41:10
- "I believe I will see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living. Wait on the Lord; be strong, and let your heart take courage; wait on the Lord." Ps. 27:13-14
- "Blessed be God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies, and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort those who are in any trouble by the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God." 2 Cor. 1:3-4
- "The Lord is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit." Ps. 34:18
This woman celebrates overcoming the challenges of being abandoned as a baby!