An Indiana couple welcomed their newborn baby girl with a beautiful gesture to remind her of the older brother she never got to meet, and keep their family together despite the circumstances.
Steven and Gloria Kimmel, both 30, staged a touching black and white photo featuring their daughter Claire resting between the wing tattoos they got in honor of their son Isaac, who died a few months after his first birthday in 2015 from Spinal Muscular Atrophy (SMA).
The couple each got a tattoo of a single wing on their backs that together served as a tribute to their late son, and now, as a way of keeping the whole family together even if Isaac is not physically with them.
A beautiful tribute: Steven and Gloria Kimmel, both 30, honored their late son Isaac with a photo of their newborn daughter Claire resting between the tattoos they got in his memory
Doting parents: The couple, from Indiana, lost Isaac (pictured) a few months after his first birthday in 2015 from Spinal Muscular Atrophy (SMA)
‘We wanted to have a beautiful, physical reminder of his life and the promise of being with him in the afterlife,’ Gloria told TODAY Parents of her and her husband’s tattoos. ‘He was half of each of us, so we each had one of his wings to hold us.’
Isaac died in July, 2015, after being diagnosed with SMA, a genetic disease that affects the nervous system, leading to debilitating and often fatal loss of muscle function.
The parents were told by doctors in 2014 to take Isaac home because the disease was terminal and there was nothing they could do to save his life; they spent the rest of his moments treasuring him and spending time together going to the beach or camping.
‘Knowing you have only a limited amount of time to make a lifetime’s worth of memories, every moment becomes so precious,” said Gloria. ‘We never took anything for granted, and our lives with our baby boy were filled with as much happiness as we could fit in.’
According to Yahoo, Isaac was accepted into a clinical trial for a new SMA drug and regained strength at first, but he eventually suffered from a collapsed lung and spent three weeks in ICU before he was sent home to spend his final two weeks.
Despite the tragedy, the couple have grieved together and got another chance at being parents in June, 2017, when they welcomed their second daughter Claire, and came up with the best way to include Isaac during her newborn photo shoot.
SMA fighter: Doctors told Isaac’s parents in 2014 to take him home because the disease was terminal. They spent the rest of his moments treasuring him
Big brother: Gloria said: ‘I just thought it would be so wonderful to have our memorial for our son be a part of Claire’s photo shoot welcoming her into the world’
‘I just thought it would be so wonderful to have our memorial for our son be a part of Claire’s photo shoot welcoming her into the world,’ said the mom, who came up with the concept.
She added that having gone through the loss of a child makes her appreciate every moment with Claire, who reminds her of little Isaac.
Gloria continued: ‘When I look at the photo, I see our entire family, with Isaac there with us.
‘It’s a beautiful keepsake that we’ll treasure for our whole lives.’
The photo gained a lot of traction and went viral when it was was first posted to Twitter by Gloria’s sister earlier this month, being shared more than 20,000 times and liked more than 67,000.
‘There are so many bittersweet moments when she reminds me of my son that I no longer get to hold in my arms,” said Gloria. “But I can feel Isaac’s love as I look at her sweet face — he must have picked out her beautiful soul and sent her to us.’