After losing their firstborn son, Isaac, in July 2015, Steven and Gloria Kimmel wanted to do something special as a tribute to their sweet boy.
Isaac was diagnosed with (spinal muscular atrophy) SMA Type 1 when he was sixmonths old. It was right after Thanksgiving, Gloria says. We were told to take him home and love him as much as we could, as the disease, at that time, was terminal.
The couple was able to get Isaac into a clinical trial for a new SMA drug, which initially proved to help, but the tiny patient eventually suffered from a collapsed lung. He spent three weeks in the ICU before his final two beautiful weeks at home with his parents. He was 14 months old.
The grief that comes with losing a child is unimaginable, Gloria says. I dont know how we made it through the drive home from the hospital without him, but we did. I dont know how I made it through the viewing and funeral without my broken heart ceasing to beat in my chest, but I did.
Just a week and a half after Isaacs funeral,Steven and Gloria got angel wing tattoosone spanning across each of their backsin memory of their angel son.
Its been two years since Isaac passed away, and in June, the couple gave birth to their daughter, Claire.
This week, Glorias sister, Grace Arend, tweeted a photo of the couple and their new daughter. She was tightly nestled between the wings of her brother, Isaac.
The poignant black and white photo was part of Claires newborn shoot when she was just a week old. It quickly went viral, and stole the hearts of Twitter users everywhere.
Gloria says she and Steven both grieved the loss of Isaac in different ways, but going through it together has strengthened their relationship.
Even now, two years after his passing, I am still learning new ways to deal with my grief, Gloria says. I kept a grief journal to write all the thoughts that were bouncing around in my head down on paper. It helped to clear my head so that I was able to sleep. We have a loving support system with friends, family and our church community.
Since her sister shared the photo on August 8, Gloria says the widespread reaction has totally taken her by surprise.
To quote what [my sister] said, I am so proud of the Internet. There are so many wonderful people out there who can send their heartfelt condolences and congratulations in waves. And we can feel it!
The tattoo is a combination of heartbreak and hope for the Kimmels, who plan to keep Isaacs memory alive forever in their little familys hearts.