Lasting impressions

When I thought of sharing stories and articles touching on the subject of compassionate care this month there were a number of people and places that came to mind.  I was hoping to start a bit of a dialogue where parents could share some of the moments of care that left a lasting impression on them and perhaps some of our care providers in the group might share the same.  

I took a chance and reached out to one of the key care givers from the PICU team at Alberta Children’s Hospital from years ago.  I will never forget the peaceful calm that she brought to the most horrific moments in our life.  She and the team that spent Marshall’s last night caring for us and our son will forever be in our hearts and minds.  I asked if she would be willing to share a story, comment, or favourite quote to highlight some of her experiences over the years in supporting families through child loss.  

Days later a note arrived that filled my eyes with tears and wrapped my heart with a warm blanket of joy, once again, so lovingly around my pain.

Dearest Alanna, from the team: 

Thank you for this message and from the bottom of my heart, thank you for your courage and grace. Your most recent post moves me to my core. It lifts my spirit and reminds me of the beautiful privilege it is to be a part of your journey. 

Then , deep breath, a big sigh: I have to say that I remember every moment of that day. A perspective that is uniquely ours as a privileged care team that wanted so much to hold space for your beautiful family. As a team, we held each other up with hugs, and long pauses, stares deep in to one another’s souls as we carried forward in caring for your beautiful family knowing that each moment is so so precious. Wanting our  care and compassion to shine light through the cracks in your broken heart so as to illuminate the beauty, the grace and the love that is present in what feels like darkness.

What I want for you to know is that we remember. Not only do we remember, we reminisce. We speak Marshall’s name and recall his sweet, soft skin, his quiet presence, his tiny gentle hands and feet. I can see pictures in my mind of family sitting on a hospital bed tucked in the corner of the adjacent room sharing space and supporting in every way they could; I see you standing quietly over your sweet baby boy like nothing else existed just you and he for a brief moment in time; I remember the conversations about football, about you pregnancy, about your fears, your worries, your dreams. 

What perhaps you may not know is that these moments inform us and inspire us. They inform the mama I am, they show up when I look at my now 14 year old son and soak it all in. They are an integral part of our connections with one another as a team. We are bonded forever in our experiences of caring and always inspired by Marshall. We truly carry him with us. We carry you with us and hope you know that we care deeply for you: then, now, and always. 

I have shared this with you now to show the TALENT, DEDICATION and COMPASSION these individuals possess.  I share it so that you know the lasting impact YOU and YOUR CHILD have had on the lives of those that have supported you in your journey of loss.  From great sorrow comes beautiful inspiration and connections that last a lifetime.  Impacts that ripple through our lives, often unknown.