A grieving woman who lost both her husband and brother in tragic circumstances discovered she was pregnant hours before her brother’s funeral – with the baby due on her late husband’s birthday.
Jessica Anderson, 34, lost her husband Jesse (corr) to cystic fibrosis and her brother Kyle in a light aircraft crash.
She believes her daughter Piper Kyle is a gift from the the two dead men – her late husband Jesse, 33, and brother Kyle Longerbeam, 25.
Jesse died in 2015 and Kyle in 2016, but following a brief relationship with an old school pal, Jessica discovered she was pregnant the night before her brother’s funeral.
A scan revealed she was due on Jesse’s birthday and little Piper Kyle arrived a few hours after what would have been his 36th birthday.
Jessica named her precious daughter Piper Kyle – after her brother – and the Piper Cherokee plane he was piloting – when he crashed.
Personal banker Jesse, from Fairfield, Iowa, USA, said: “Finding out that Piper was due on Jesse’s birthday was emotional.
“I felt like Jesse knew that my little brother was joining him in heaven and he sent little Miss Piper Kyle to get me through.
“Piper fills in where Kyle left us, and I don’t think she’ll ever feel like she’s filling a void, but she certainly has filled some type of void. She was sent from above.”
Jessica met Jesse while she was working as a waitress in a cocktail bar he visited with friends in November 2008.
He suffered from cystic fibrosis – a genetic condition which causes a build-up of thick, sticky mucus in the body’s tubes and passageways – particularly the lungs.
He was admitted for treatment the day after they met – and they had their first date in the hospital, playing board games and chatting.
Jessica said: “I noticed Jesse and his smile and my heart skipped a beat.
“He actually stole my towel from my apron when I walked past. I turned around and he was smiling and that was history.
“I had no idea what cystic fibrosis was when I met Jesse. I was 20 years old, I’d never heard of it so I went home and googled it which was the worst thing I could do.
“I cried and thought, am I really going to do this? I fly by the seat of my pants so I thought about it, went forward with it and just never looked back.”
Jesse’s lung function got worse and he had a double lung transplant in November 2011.
The couple got engaged a few months later at a fireworks party – and while he was worried about his future, Jessica reassured him
“He was afraid of breaking my heart,” she said.
“I had to convince him that I didn’t care, I just knew that I loved him and I wanted to be with him for as long as we could be together.
The couple found out his body was rejecting his lung transplant, and by the time they walked down the aisle in June 2014, Jesse was exhausted.
After just 20 days in hospital, Jesse sadly passed away after a lifelong battle with the condition on January 21, 2015.
Jessica said: “I never, ever pictured myself walking out of that hospital without him.”
Grieving Jessica turned to her younger brother Kyle for support – and he made sure she took care of herself, as well as providing a shoulder to cry on.
But devastatingly he died in a plane crash in December 2016, in Alaska, where he lived.
At the time, Jessica had briefly reunited with an ex boyfriend from high school and was shocked to discover she was pregnant the night before Kyle’s funeral.
Jessica: “Kyle held me up throughout my grief over Jesse.
“He was the glue that held me together. When I found out about his accident, I felt my heart crack – my world just shattered. I knew life was never going to be the same.
“Finding out I was pregnant the night before Kyle’s celebration of life was crazy.
“I took my pregnancy test with my mum and my aunt, and when we saw it was positive, we all stood around thinking is this a good thing or a bad thing.
“We were all sitting there in silence in a triangle before my mum finally said it was a good thing, and we all just took it on board.
“My pregnancy news is basically what carried us through the next day. We focused on Kyle and the celebration of his life, but it was certainly what kept us afloat.”
A later scan revealed that Jessica’s baby’s due date was July 26 – Jesse’s birthday – and she thinks her baby was his gift to keep her going.
She gave birth to Piper, now three, the day after Jesse’s birthday on July 27, 2017.
Jessica said: “She is the best. She’s quirky and funny and she has the best personality.
“I don’t want her to ever feel this on her shoulders but she does make all of our lives so much better just because she exists.
“Piper is very bright, she has a great memory and there’s photos of Kyle and Jesse everywhere that she points out as Uncle Kyle and my friend Jesse.
“She doesn’t know yet quite what her name means but someday she’ll know just how special Kyle was to us.
“Piper fills in where Kyle left out, and I don’t think she’ll ever feel like she’s filling a void but she certainly has filled some type of void. She was sent from above.”