Three happy, healthy boys just turned one. But the triplets’ first birthday photo is a mixture of celebration and mourning, as it also marks the day they lost their mother.
In this world, you’ll find both light and darkness. And you rarely find one without the other somewhere close by.
In the photo of these triplets on their first birthday, you’ll find both joy and sadness together. There’s the joy that these three, healthy boys are turning one. But with their mom’s headstone behind them, there’s also the sadness that she isn’t here on earth to see it.
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New Zealand native Chervonne Smith met her husband Martin Magaoa while studying at Brigham Young University in Hawaii. The couple married in 2007 and a few years later, had their first son, Tanner, with the help of IVF (in-vitro fertilization).
A few years later, Martin and Chervonne turned to IVF again in an effort to give Tanner a sibling. But they wound up giving him multiple siblings when Chervonne fell pregnant with triplets.
Triplets Come Early In An Urgent Delivery
Martin and Chervonne saw the promise of triplets as a true blessing. And the loving mom eagerly awaited the arrival of three more sons.
“She was so excited for the babies to come out. She couldn’t wait. That’s all she ever talked about,” Martin recalled.
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But no one expected what was to come. At a routine check-up the week before her due date, doctors rushed Chervonne into an emergency c-section. Martin can still recall the last thing he said to her just before the delivery.
“Everything’s going to be okay,” he said. “This is the day we’ve been waiting for.”
What he didn’t realize at the time was those were the last words he’d ever speak to his wife.
Unexpected Complication Ends Mom’s Life
The three boys — Aayden, Blaise, and Carson — arrived safely on August 31, 2017.
Tragically, during their birth, Chervonne suffered an amniotic fluid embolism. It’s a rare complication where fluid, cells or other debris enters the mother's bloodstream.
Soon after her triplets made it into the world, Chervonne passed out. Though the medical team did everything they could to save her, the mom passed away soon after.
It was an unexpected and devastating blow for the family. Yet, leaving behind the gift of three newborn boys brought happiness and heartache together simultaneously.
“Just looking at them brings me joy,” said Chervonnes father Hyyan Smith. “It chases away the gloom I may otherwise feel.”
With the daunting task of raising Tanner and the triplets without their mom, church and community rallied around the family to offer support.
A fundraising page collected more than $70,000 in donations to help Martin, now a single father of four. Meanwhile, a team of more than 100 volunteers took shifts helping to care for the newborn triplets. And the incredible outpouring of support meant the world to Martin and his family.
“A heavy load made light makes a huge difference," he said.
Triplets’ First Birthday Celebrated At Mom’s Grave
A year later, as the boys hit the one-year mark, they’re doing great. It’s a huge milestone for any child and cause for celebration. But it’s impossible to celebrate the triplets’ big day without also remembering the tragic loss of their mom.
"I miss everything about her," Martin said of his late wife, Chervonne.
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And he’s not alone. The couple’s oldest son still struggles with his mother’s death, too.
"Tanner misses his mom just like any child," Martin said. "He is learning to cope with her loss. A huge part of his life is no longer present and I can see the impact that it has on him."
And so, it was important to Martin to combine the triplets’ birthday and the anniversary of Chervonne’s death together into one celebration of life.
"As hard as it was, I wanted to celebrate her life and boys' birthday on that special day, August 31st, to honor her by celebrating with her at her final resting place," he said.
And so, that’s what they did. Martin and his four sons visited Chervonne’s grave together. And while she’s no longer here physically, she will live on in her boys.
"Every day I see their mother in them," Martin said. "They are thriving, healthy and growing full of laughter and joy."
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The photo from the triplets’ first birthday is a powerful reminder that — joy and sadness, light and dark — will exist together in this world until Christ’s return.
“And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, ‘Look! God's dwelling place is now among the people, and he will dwell with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.’" Revelation 21:3-4
h/t: Yahoo News
Featured Image Credit: Yahoo News/Martin Magaoa