It doesn’t require having children of your own to imagine the overwhelming pain of the losing a child shortly after their birth. The thought of the emptiness creates an echo in any compassionate person’s heart. Yet country star Aaron Watson and his wife Kim, along with their children, inspire hope after the loss of their baby girl, Julia Grace, six years ago.
On his Barbed Wire Halo blog, Aaron tells the story of Julia’s all-too-brief life, from the joy the couple felt after learning they were adding to their family of two boys—Jake and Jack—and little girl, Jolee Kate, to hearing the dreaded words from their doctor, “I have some serious concerns,” to the sadness of laying their baby girl to rest.
It was Trisomy 18—a chromosomal disorder that occurs in one out of 2500 pregnancies and results in a 50% mortality rate—that took Julia from the family.
“As I laid in bed that night next to Kimberly, we just held hands in the dark,” Aaron writes in his blog. “I told her something had changed in me today, something softened my heart. My unborn baby girl already has her daddy wrapped around her finger. Because of my Julia Grace, I already feel that she has made me a better husband and a better daddy. Good is good, but for Julia Grace, I will strive to be better. Not in music, but in the things that matter the most: my faith and my family. If her life is to be short and sweet, then I knew letting her go would bring our family even closer together and that would be part of her beautiful legacy.”
Now, six years later, Julia’s legacy is exhibited in their unwavering faith and in Aaron’s song, “Bluebonnets.” written about his baby girl.
The morning of Oct. 10, both Aaron and Kim shared their memories of the day of Julia’s birth and passing. And while their heartbreak is palpable, so is their peace, hope and faith.
On her Instagram page, Kim shared a photo of herself with Aaron in the delivery room on the day Julia was born. She writes, “Our journey moving forward has been beautiful and bittersweet, but experiencing such heartache allows you a special lens in which to view this thing called life. So today, I want you all to know that we hold to the truth we always have — that God is still good, even when things don’t go our way, and when life cuts us deep.”
Aaron, too, shared a photo on Instagram, but his was of their precious bundle of sunshine, Jolee, as a toddler perched on Julia’s cemetery marker. “Today is a tough day,” he writes. “Today is a reminder that life is fragile. Life is precious. Today is a reminder of the pain that so many feel every day. Today is a reminder that because of Jesus, I will someday see Julia again.”
As incredibly personal and intimate as the couple’s messages are, they are also a beacon of hope for the aching country music community. And for that, we are grateful.