“It’s devastating, just devastating,” Cabrera said as he was about to return to Miami after service.

On February 6, 1999, the Grants lost their son Brandon.

Chris was 8.5 months pregnant when she suffered an abnormal event – a ruptured placenta – and the baby’s heart stopped.

At that time, her health was also in danger, and subsequently the couple was unsure whether they could have children again. At the time, they only had their eldest, AJ

But eventually, the family grew with the births of Preston, then Jayda and finally Makai.

As the only daughter of the family, Jayda was, as noted in the obituary published by HH Roberts Mortuary Friday, “Daddy’s Girl.”

The obituary mentioned how she had “a strong passion for social justice” and she “advocated for marginalized communities, including LGBTQ+”.

It told of her love for dogs and how she had “a heart of gold”.

Legendary UD coach Don Donoher told me about the latter a few years ago.

Donoher coached Grant at UD in the mid-1980s, and the two have been close ever since.

When the Grants lost Brandon, Donoher immediately flew to Gainesville, where Anthony was an assistant coach for the Florida Gators, to be there for them.

When Donoher’s late wife Sonia – to whom he had been married for 66 years – was still at home battling Alzheimer’s disease, Anthony and Jayda came to visit, and the girl’s kindness helped her. raised both Sonia and Don.

Just as she could show a sensitive side, Jayda could be exuberant.

Maui Invitational fans in 2019 saw that side of her as the Flyers showed the first signs of what was to come this season 29-2 by winning their first two games in Hawaii before falling to No. 4 Kansas. in extension.

While the UD players put on a show, Grant’s four kids who were with Chris in the stands did the same and were loud and lively.

At one point in the first-round victory over Georgia, UD star Obi Toppin turned around and, with a big smile, pointed to Jayda and her siblings as he walked up the short. He seemed to say, “Yeah, we hear you! Continue like that!”

At the press conference that followed, a national writer asked Grant how it felt to have his family giving him and his team such intense love and support.

“It’s awesome,” Grant said. “For my kids, this is their first time in Hawaii, so to have the chance to enjoy this experience and support our team, it’s great to have them here.”

Since Grant took over the Flyers program in 2017, his family members have also lent their support to a few rows of the Dayton bench during games at UD Arena.

The family dynamic was also evident at Chaminade Julienne, from which Preston and Jayda — who were part of the Eagles’ 2019 state championship relay team — graduated, and where Makai now attends.

Because of how Grant is so respected and his family is so much a part of it, it makes the news of Jayda’s death all the more numbing.

The UD community mourns the same way it did when it lost two of its most popular basketball players: Steve McElvene in 2016 after his redshirt debut season, and Chris Daniels in his senior season. in 1996. Both had previously undetected heart problems.

UD President Eric Spina and Flyers Athletic Director Neil Sullivan released a joint statement:

“On behalf of the entire University of Dayton community, it is with devastating grief that we mourn the passing of Jayda Grant. We offer our deepest condolences to Anthony, Chris and their entire family. They have our love and our unconditional support. We pray for their comfort and peace, and support their need for privacy during this time of immeasurable grief.

In the obituary, the family suggested that memorial contributions could be made to the National Alliance on Mental Illness, www.nami.org.

A few years ago, Chris Grant and I spoke about losing Brandon.

She said that every year on February 6, the family honors her. Sometimes there was a cake. Often they come out and release balloons on his behalf.

As she spoke of this loss, her eyes filled with tears.

“You really appreciate the fragility of life after that,” she said. “And I was very grateful that we were lucky enough to have more children.”

Now the blessings are broken again.

Cabrera spoke for everyone on Friday when he said:

“It’s devastating, just devastating.”