After losing 5 babies in 11 months, Utah family teaches others to grieve through gifting

Courtesy of | by Erin Goff | 07.21.2017 | Posted 07.25.2017
The Osborn family is teaching others how to gift through grief after losing five daughters. (KSL TV)
SPANISH FORK — Jason and Clarissa Osborn love children and always dreamed of having a large family.

“Children bring so much happiness, and life is nothing without children,” Clarissa Osborn said.

They first had Carter. He’s now a playful 4-year-old who loves it when his mom reads to him. Last year, they had little Shanna. She was born with a genetic heart defect and died just three months after birth.

“That day goes on over and over in our heads that morning, both of us. It just replays, cause it’s just a nightmare really,” Jason Osborn said.

“I told Jason in the parking lot, I can’t go home. I can’t go home and see all of her things and know she’s not here,” Clarissa Osborn said.

Family and friends helped pull them through this dark time.

“We wouldn’t have been able to get through it I don’t think without them,” Clarissa Osborn said.

With the help of infertility treatments, the Osborns soon found they were expecting again, and this time it was joy times four — four little girls.

“Oh, I cried. I did. I was like, I can’t be a mom to four babies at the same time,” she said.

The Osborns started reaching out via social media to other parents of multiples, hoping for suggestions, not realizing that community of support would be a lifeline.

BYU-TV featured the couple on its “Random Acts” program, throwing them a surprise shower.

In June, Clarissa went into early labor at just 23 weeks, much too early for Kylie, Savannah, Ellie and Lexi.

Their babies only lived a few days. In 11 months, the Osborns had lost five daughters.

“There’s no way that we could have gone through the experiences that we’ve had without trusting in God and our faith,” Jason Osborn said.

Neighbors, friends and family once again stepped in to lift the Osborns, leaving messages of love and just being there, physically and emotionally.

“What I’ve learned from this amazing family is, we try to lift them with physical things but it seems like we’re always lifted from them,” said Greg Johnson, the couple’s church bishop.

The Osborns received messages on their Facebook page from people all over the country. Some from people they don’t even know.

“Having those people reach out who had no idea who we were and you think of social media and the impact that it can have for me that was very helpful,” Jason Osborn said.

Also, cards and letters helped the healing.

And when you don’t know what to say or do?

“It’s always a good rule of thumb to just ask how they’re doing. What can you do for them and remember to make it about them, because their suffering is about them and not about you,” said Utah Valley Women’s and Children’s social worker Kerri Abney.

The Osborn family is teaching others how to gift through grief. (KSL TV)
Abney also suggests not avoiding the situation.

“Don’t be scared by that, if all you can do is go up and put your arm around them, that’s enough,” she said.

The Osborns hold on to their mementos of their five little girls, but also find giving to others very healing. They’ve donated their shower gifts from Random Acts and created a foundation in memory of Shanna.

“We awarded two $500 scholarships to some youth that have the same condition and are going to colleges so that brings a lot of joy,” Jason Osborn said.

“It’s hard to think about having more children right now. We just need to focus on what we have now, and we will just take things as they come,” Clarissa Osborn said.

To follow the Osborn’s or make a donation to their foundation, you can find them on Facebook at One in a Million – The Osborns.

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