A father’s grief

Scott Hogan

Scott and Shari lost their beautiful little boy Porter York Hogan at just 23 days old. This is Scott’s story.

On 18th April 2016 while at home just living life, our son Porter started crying and we couldn’t get him to stop.

Newborns cry so at first we were not stressed. But as it went on we became more concerned and at about 9am we drove him to the hospital to get checked.

We truly thought they were going to say he has a tummy pain, you can go home now.

Upon arrival at John Hunter Hospital triage they whisked him away. There were doctors and nurses surrounding him with oxygen, needles and the list goes on.

By 5pm he was on full life support in the NICU with no diagnosis – they just didn’t know what was happening with our boy.

It wasn’t until day 2 in hospital and his first surgery that they finally worked out what was wrong.

Porter had a blood clot blocking his small bowel and it had died from lack of oxygen.

The following days were a living nightmare full of drips, buzzers, another surgery and confronting medical conversations. Porter was on life support the whole time.

On Friday morning on the 22nd of April 2016, Porter took his last breath and went to heaven.

In the blur of the days following our boy going to heaven, Red Nose offered some special services we would not have thought of or managed without them.

They did a cast of his hands and feet and also collected some hand and footprints as well as some of his amazing hair.

These memories of Porter are so treasured and we are forever grateful as once he was buried this would not have been possible.

We also later sent his fingerprints away and got a necklace pendant and cufflinks made for Shari and I to keep him close.

Red Nose also helped us by providing face to face ongoing counselling which was invaluable and helped us with our journey.

They also helped us with additional resources like books and playgroup. Access to their library of books helped us guide our oldest boy through his grieving too.

It was nice to know even if we were having a bad day, we could also just call in to the Red Nose office.

There have been so many challenges to overcome – losing Porter has been life changing.

The year following the loss of Porter was a very dark and hard place to be.

It got to a point where we had to make a decision whether this was going to ruin our life, or accept this is the life we have been given.

We can make the most of what we have or be miserable for what we don’t have. This was huge and not easy.

It doesn’t take away the pain, hurt or loss but it released us to go back to living our good life - just with sad and painful moments, instead of a sad and painful life.

It made us question what is important in life but also challenged us to whether we keep having babies or not (we chose to have more babies).

There are many ways we remember and honour Porter.

For a year after he passed, Shari posted a photo of him on Facebook and Instagram every day with a caption or grief ramblings. We have photos all around the house too.

Each year we celebrate Porter’s birthday and the day he passed away with family and close friends. We go to his forever bed (at the cemetery) regularly and take flowers and gifts.

Christmas time has always been such an exciting happy time in our family so after losing Porter this was very painful. We have a few special things we do to make sure he is a part of our Christmas.

When we get Santa photos, we always have a portrait photo of him with his siblings Milan and Easton.

On our Christmas tree at home he is our angel on top of our tree and there are a few decorations and baubles with his photo on them.

Once our Christmas tree is up at home we also go and decorate his forever bed with Christmas decorations.

One of our local churches hold a “blue” Christmas service for those have experienced loss and we attend each year to honour and remember our boy.

We often talk about him and what he would look like today.

If you have a family member or a friend that has experienced loss, it is often not what you say that makes a difference.

Something as simple as sitting with them and talking about their child could make the most difference.

This Red Nose Day we’ll be buying a red nose in memory of Porter, and using the opportunity to raise awareness in our workplaces and through our friends.

After losing a child, Red Nose was a vital link to helping us navigate the unknown.

The simple act of donating makes all the difference to families like ours, in their time of need.

Last reviewed: 13/6/24