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Heartbreak wasn't part of the plan

Valencia woman discovers she's pregnant a week after her husband's death

Posted: March 10, 2009 12:22 a.m.
Updated: March 10, 2009 4:55 a.m.

Shannon Braden, who recently lost her husband Aaron Braden in a motorcycle accident, embraces her wedding album. A week after her husband's death, Braden found out she was pregnant with her first child.

 

For Shannon and Aaron Braden, everything was going according to plan.

The couple, married in October 2005, bought their first house three years later in Valencia.

The first blow came the day escrow closed - Shannon Braden, 25, was laid off from a commercial real estate firm that same day.
But Aaron, who always stuck to "the plan," assured her he would provide.

"He was a good provider," Shannon said last week at her home. "He wanted to make sure we did it right. Good community, good home, and so the kids had every reason to succeed."

The kids were the next step in the couple's American dream.

Aaron believed fervently in "the plan," but he also had an adventurous side, Shannon said. That side included his love for bikes.

"He'd been dirt bike riding ever since I've known him," Shannon said of Aaron, whom she met in an aviation college class eight years ago. "He even expected to get our kids little bikes."

Then came Feb. 11, 2009.

Aaron Braden, 29, was heading north on Interstate 5 south of Interstate 210 when another vehicle pulled into his path, throwing him from his 2007 Suzuki motorcycle and into the rear bumper of a 2007 Chevrolet Avalanche, according to a California Highway Patrol report.

He was declared dead at the scene by paramedics from the Los Angeles County Fire Department.

"The Monday following (his death) we were going to start taking pregnancy tests," Shannon said. "He was really into kids. The only reason why we waited was because of ‘the plan' - get married, pay off the wedding, save for the house, buy the house and then have children."

A week after her husband's death, Shannon discovered she was pregnant.

"I took the test and I started crying. I was so happy and so sad at the same time," she said. "Aaron's never going to be there when the baby starts kicking, he's not going to be there for the Lamaze classes, when the baby is born, for the first day of school."

Aaron, who was a surveyor for the city of Los Angeles, had been riding a street bike to work for more than a year.

Full reports are not yet out confirming all the details of Aaron's collision, but investigations are ongoing concerning whether the Mercedes driver made "an unpermitted and unsafe lane change out of the carpool lane," according to Attorney Eric I. Rosenberg of Woodland Hills, who is representing Shannon in a wrongful-death claim.

The collision with the Mercedes threw Aaron from his 2007 Suzuki motorcycle and into the rear of a 2007 Chevrolet Avalanche.

"People need to watch, people need to look out," Shannon said. "It is legal (for motorcyclists) to split lanes in California - people need to get off their cell phones, to stop crossing double yellow lines."

One mistake can change a lot, she said.

"All the people (Aaron) would have touched or situations he would have made better - none of them are going to happen," she added.

"Everything still feels detached," Shannon said. "I think Aaron is at work, off-roading with friends. ... It still doesn't feel real. I can think of several excuses (why) he's not at home."

Now that Aaron is gone, Shannon is searching for whatever work she can find and is "willing to do anything under the sun."

Shannon leans on her friends, family, members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, faith, neighbors and new pup Louie.

"Our job is to support Shannon in every possible way we can," said Shannon's father, David Doremus, who has spent numerous nights at Shannon's house since Aaron's death.

Shannon said she knows the point will come when she has to confront the loss of her husband when she gets some alone time - but for now, she doesn't want that time to come.

"I would have to say my grieving process hasn't really begun yet. I'm more in denial. ... I don't want to have that chance to come to grips with reality," Shannon said. "I still feel I have a piece of him, and I do. I don't feel like he's completely gone."

Shannon plans to give birth to her baby at the hospital where Aaron was born.

A fund is set up for Shannon. Anyone who would like to help financially can e-mail her at shan.braden@gmail.com.

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