Have your tissues ready.
A little over five years ago, Los Angeles Dodgers pitcher Rich Hill and his family suffered one of the worst tragedies that could possibly befall a parent: the loss of a child.
Hill and his wife Caitlin gave birth to their son Brooks shortly after Christmas Day in 2013. Less than three months later, Brook's life was cut short by a rare brain malfunction and kidney issues. The loss shattered the Hill family's world, and needless to say it's a subject matter that Hill has not discussed publicly many times over the past few years.
However, back in 2017, I interviewed Hill and discussed the loss of his son on an episode of "Discover Your Dodgers."
"Everybody is going to go through tough times in their life, and loss, especially of a loved one, is something that you can never replace," said Hill. "Every day he's in our memory and he's with us."
Hill revealed that the loss of Brooks not only changed the prism in which he and his wife view the precious gift of life, but noted that it has also affected him on the field; especially in high-pressure moments like pitching in the playoffs and the World Series.
"It was something that for us, we look at life differently, through a different glass," said Hill. "Just because the time that we have here is so precious, and being able to utilize that time to the best of our advantage is something that we have certainly not taken for granted since the loss of our son Brooks."
For the first time in a public forum, Hill shared intimate details about those heartbreaking moments from Brooks birth on Dec. 26, 2013 to his death on February 24, 2014, in a touching essay entitled, "I Want to Talk About my Son Brooks," published Tuesday on the Players' Tribune.
In the piece, Hill speaks openly about the medical problems Brooks faced, remembering that his son had contracted thumbs, and difficulty feeding in the days following his birth at MassGeneral Hospital for Children.
Originally believed to be an orthopedic issue, a team of doctors and a neurosurgeon were able to diagnose Brooks with the rare genetic brain malformation known as "Lissencephaly." Hill immediately searched Google for everything he could find and read on the disorder, hoping that like any parent, he could help fix his son.
In the days that followed, Brooks began experiencing kidney failure and the family decided to take their baby home so that they could spend as much time together as they could.
In one of the most tear-jerking moments of the essay, Hill intimately describes holding his son as he quietly sings to him, "Take Me Out to the Ball Game."
The 39-year-old Boston native has spent the last three and a half seasons with the Dodgers, going 26-15 with a 3.27 ERA in 56 starts. Hill has been tremendous for the Boys in Blue in the last two World Series, allowing just three runs in 15 innings over three starts in the Fall Classic.
Hill and his family have launched a campaign on kickstarter called "The Field of Genes" campaign, in order to raise $1 million dollars for MassGeneral Hospital for Children and their research. Hill personally donated $575,000 himself, and is hoping by speaking publicly about his son, it can bring attention to all parents and children going through something similar.
If you're interested in donating to the Field of Genes campaign, you can do so here.