Family Shares Hope

Recently, John and Donna Kabakijan made a donation in memory of their son John. Read on to discover the story of how his parents found purpose in his life and encouragement while grieving his unexpected death…

Feel free to share their story with someone who needs encouragement today!


Our son John was born 8 weeks early on April 5, 1993. We had just completed our first Lamaze birthing class that day and had no warning that he was coming. His birth weight was only 4 lb. 3 oz. and it dropped down to 3 lb. 11 oz. before he started to grow and gain weight. He had to stay in the hospital for 3 weeks in an incubator before he gained enough for his doctors to allow him go home at 5 lb. 1 oz. For him to be breastfed, his mother had to go to the hospital three times a day. He was too weak to feed from the breast at first, so she had to express the milk and bottle feed him. It was a very stressful and uncertain time for us both, and we did not know if he would survive those first few weeks. 

Fortunately, the Lord blessed, and he did survive. In fact, other than his being on the small side for his age throughout his life, John was a healthy child and grew into adulthood. There were times in his life growing up that things were scary, frustrating, maddening, disappointing, and sad: This is true of all children’s lives, but it also true that there were times of happiness, pride, laughter, joy, and love. 

On July 19, 2017, John died suddenly and unexpectedly at 24 years of age. Despite medical examiners performing an autopsy and every possible test they knew; John’s cause of death could not be determined. He was perfectly healthy and had no signs of any condition to cause his death. The Lord had just seen fit to call him home. John left this world just as suddenly as he had arrived. 

In our initial grief over John’s death, the thought briefly came across our minds that everything we had poured into John’s life was wasted, that it was for nothing. We wondered if it had been worth bringing him in to this world and raising him just to have his life cut so short. Of course, this was the grief talking. But you may have pondered the same question about the baby inside of you. Is it worth it all bringing this child you carry into this world to raise up? 

We wondered if it had been worth bringing him in to this world…But nothing could replace the joy and love that he brought into our lives.

Let us answer that for you. Unequivocally and without a shred of doubt, the answer is yes! As we look back, we would not trade one moment of John’s life that we spent on him for anything else this world has to offer. Yes, at times it was a struggle; emotionally, financially, and physically. But nothing could replace the joy and love that he brought into our lives from the day John came in until the day he went out. Yes, it was worth it. 

God has a plan for each human life; when they start life, when they end life, and everything that happens in between. God also picks and plans for the family that He entrusts each little baby to. He has specially picked you for the life that you carry because He knows that you are the perfect parent for your little child. It does not mean you are a perfect person, but just that you are just the right one to have and raise this precious life. 

I hope and pray that John’s life would be an encouragement to you as you go through your pregnancy, birth and raising of your child. The money placed in this baby bottle was money that we found in John’s belongings… it is money from our child’s life passed forward to help start your child’s life. May God help you and bless you as continue on this wonderful path of parenthood! 

– John and Donna Kabakijan

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