The Jansen Family

Earlier this month I gifted a session to a very strong Family. My Father in law called me and told me about this Family and tears came right to my eyes after hearing their story. Soon after I got in contact with Annette. We talked on the phone for about a half hour. She shared with me her story and how grateful she would be to have this Family session. After hearing her voice and listening to her tears my heart knew that I wanted this session to be absolutely perfect for their Family.

Annette shares her story here:
My story really has no beginning or an end. My name is Annette. I met my husband, Grant Jansen, and best friend while working at St. Charles Police Department. He was a Police Officer and I was a 911 Dispatcher. You can ask anyone that worked with us, we were about as perfect of a match as you could get. After 3 years of dating, he finally asked me to marry him. We were married April 8, 2000. Within 6 weeks we were expecting our first baby. Grant wanted nothing more than to be a father, and I wanted nothing more than to give that to him. It was a fairly normal pregnancy, but we unfortunately lost our sweet “Cole” when I was 8 months pregnant. This was a turning point in our relationship, and we used this pain to get stronger and closer. In 2002, our oldest son Tyler was born. Grant and I were overjoyed that through everything we had been through together, we were finally going to be parents. Two years later we were blessed with a daughter named Paige. It seemed our family was complete...or so we thought. It was around this time that our oldest son Tyler was diagnosed with Autism. We had no idea how trying these obstacles were going to be on our family at the time, but we treaded through every tantrum, every time he left the house in the middle of the night, and the countless hours of speech, language, occupational, and physical therapies because we had NO CHOICE. For the next four years, we carried on like most families. We fought like most couples, we struggled to pay some of our bills, we worked too much and felt exhausted most of the time.

But we also had some amazing times playing as a family outside, going apple picking, and going on short family get aways. It took some convincing on my part, but Grant wanted another child. We were on the “older” side of parenting, so I decided if we were going to have another baby, it needed to be be soon. So in August of 2008 I found out we were expecting our third (and final) baby. I will never forget his reaction. I had privately taken a pregnancy test on a hunch. He was still sleeping. I crawled up next to him, and whispered in his ear “I’m pregnant”. Grant’s eyes immediately opened and he got the biggest grin on his face, and that look has forever been imbedded in my brain because 2 short weeks later my best friend... my children’s daddy was killed in an on duty automobile accident. The dreaded knock on the door by a fellow co-worker is something that most cops wives have probably thought about but pray never happens. I can still hear the pitter patter of little feet running through the halls of my house filled with uniformed men and women those early morning hours as I paced the floor crying out to God “Please don’t take him!!!” “How am I going to tell them?” “How am I going to survive without him?” “How am I going to give birth to this little one growing inside me without him by my side?” “God, I’m not ready to say good-bye!!!!” I became a widow that day, a Wednesday, September, 10, 2008. I was 36 with a 6 year old boy, a 4 year old daughter, 6 weeks pregnant, and my husband was dead! That day grew into night, which blurred into the next several days of sleepless nights, laying in bed looking at the empty space next to me, clinching tightly to the shirt he last wore as I prayed his smell would never disappear. That time felt like an eternity then. Each day felt like three weeks. Today, it feels like a total blur. Tyler is now 15, Paige is now 13, and little Grant Jr. is a healthy, happy 8 year old. I have raised my kids as a single parent...but not alone. I have had so much help from so many people. My family, Grant’s family including his parents, sister and brother, my very special friends, and my extended family through the Officers at St. Charles Police Department, Backstoppers and Missouri Concerns of Police Survivors. I want Grant to be remembered through helping others who have, who are, and who will travel a similar path as myself. The Jansen story did not end with Grant’s death. It opened up a new beginning for us. It’s taken us a long time to get to a good place, and while some days can still be hard, I’m confident Grant is very proud of his family. As the 9th anniversary of Grant’s death nears, I hope my story is one of Hope, Gratitude, Love and Legacy. That’s what I want for my family, and quite honestly that is what I want and pray for this Country.

The Jansen Family ❤
Annette Behrens Jansen
Thank you to Saint Charles City Police Departmen for allowing us to use a police car and to capture some pictures at the department!