Carolina Hurricanes captain Jordan Staal has suffered an unspeakable tragedy, losing his beloved infant daughter
Dear Carolina Hurricanes captain Jordan Staal,
My heart belongs to the Philadelphia Flyers, but some things transcend sports and rivalries. When I read that you and your lovely wife had lost your infant daughter Hannah, my heart broke for you both. The heart that bleeds Orange and Black today bleeds for you.
I will not say that I know your specific pain because I don’t. I do know the pain of losing a daughter, and a daughter named Hannah at that. My Hannah Rose Hunter, whose initials were chosen as Her Royal Highness, my princess would be almost grown now. She was so perfect, but she never took a breath outside my womb.
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I would like to tell you that the pain you feel now is going to fade, but I can’t lie to you. Every dark-haired little girl I see makes me wonder “Is that what she would look like?” I mourn her loss still, nearly every day.
I will tell you, Jordan, that people are going to say things in the days and weeks to come that may anger you. You will hear “God has special plans for her.” They don’t understand that you had plans for her. Her first day of kindergarten. Walking her down the aisle. Forgive these people.
You will hear “She is in a better place.” They don’t understand the pain of walking past the place you had made for her, the nursery that you had prepared for her. The crib, the bassinet, and decorations all painstakingly picked out, arranged one way, and then another. Forgive these people as well.
You may hear “She is safe in God’s arms now”. They don’t understand the ache in your empty arms. You might also hear “You can try again.” Forgive these folks as well, they don’t know that the last thing you can think about is taking that chance again. They don’t know how raw your heart is, how broken you are at the moment.
All these people mean no harm, all they are trying to say is that they are sorry, that they can’t imagine your pain. Again, I am a Flyers fan, but some things transcend that, and this moment is one of them. Please know that this Thursday, when your team plays mine, my loyalty will be with the Flyers. My heart, however, will still be broken for you and your family.