Losing a loved one is one of the most devastating feelings in the world. Someone you planned your life with, spent your nights and days with, shared everything with – just gone. It takes forever to recover from that, but we try our best to keep them in our hearts and move forward because that’s what they would want us to do.
Today’s tragic story is about a couple from Kansas who share five beautiful children together. Joey and Cassi met in 2004. They worked in the same office and slowly fell in love. They decided to be together. Joey, while speaking to PEOPLE, talked about their love: “We became good friends, and she was actually the one to ask me out first. But I wasn’t really into the idea of dating someone from work.”
Even though Joey was against the idea, he still agreed to go on a date with Casi. And he fell in love with the incredible woman Casi was. He also told PEOPLE about how creative Casi was: “There isn’t one wall that doesn’t have something she painted on it.” In 2009, the amazing couple welcomed their first child – a daughter, Chloe. A couple of years later, they had another daughter, Tenley. The couple was slowly becoming a beautiful and happy family. Joey told PEOPLE about their plans to have a big family: “We were busy with those two, but we knew we wanted a big family.”
As fate would have it, Joey and Casi were going to have triplets! Joey explains how excited they were and how Casi was doing everything in her power to make sure her pregnancy went smoothly. The pregnancy was largely uneventful, and Casi temporarily moved from their country home to Wichita in the third trimester so she could get medical help faster if she needed it.
Since her pregnancy was considered high-ʀɪsᴋ, the doctors recommended an earlier induction of labor with the help of ᴍᴇᴅɪᴄᴀᴛɪᴏɴ, but the mother refused. The babies, Asher, Levi and Piper, were finally born by ᴄᴀᴇsᴀʀᴇᴀɴ sᴇᴄᴛɪᴏɴ on January 29, 2016, at 34 weeks gestation, and were kept under observation in the premature birth unit.
Casi seemed to recover quickly and was released from the hospital, but two days later things took a turn for the worse – she woke up with stabbing ᴄʜᴇsᴛ ᴘᴀɪɴs and a pounding heart, and immediately knew something was wrong. Her husband immediately took her to the hospital, where it was discovered that she had a ʙʟᴏᴏᴅ ᴄʟᴏᴛ in her lung. However, two days later, he was allowed home again, and the couple was sure that they were over their ordeal.
The parents visited their newborn triplets in the premature unit and then went home to be with their two older daughters. Casi felt good and immediately returned to her usual routine: washing, folding baby clothes and even baking cookies. Joey picked up the girls at preschool and took them home so the family could spend the rest of the day together.
Both mother and daughters were happy to see each other again, but the idyll did not last long. Casi soon complained of ᴄʜᴇsᴛ ᴘᴀɪɴs again, and when the ᴘᴀɪɴ wouldn’t go away, Joey put his wife in the car and drove her to the hospital. Casi lost consciousness on the way and never recovered.
Joey described his feelings at the time: “I was completely numb. It didn’t seem real at all. Those were the most horrible moments of my life.”
Doctors did everything they could to save Casi’s life, but they were unsuccessful. “I tried to wake her up. The doctors also tried for a long time, but they couldn’t do much,” recalled Joey.
The woman’s d.ea.th completely shattered the family. Joey adored his wife and said she was someone who was always willing to help others. Casi worked as a secretary at the local elementary school and always helped the children when they needed it.
The ʟᴏss was especially hard for the two older daughters to process, and Joey also said that one of his daughters kept talking about her mother and how she was now in heaven.
But Joey didn’t have an easy job either, since he had to raise five children alone, three of whom were still babies, so they needed constant care. Fortunately, the man’s parents, Barbara and Chuck, lived nearby and helped him with everything. Barbara, who was a nurse, thought of Casi as her own daughter, and she was also perfectly aware that her son had a very difficult task, since he had to be both father and mother in one person.
At the same time, family and friends also started fundraising, and eventually managed to raise more than $100,000 for the grieving family. Joey often wondered what Casi would do in certain situations and realized that his wife would have wanted him to grow up to the task of raising their children in his own way.
When their second child was born, Casi asked her husband that if anything were to happen to her, he would reassure the children that she loved them very much, and Joey is now doing exactly that, keeping his wife’s memory alive.