This last weekend we packed our bags, loaded up the car and headed north to Idaho. We were there to celebrate my sweet grandma's 90th birthday on Saturday. The party wasn't until later in the afternoon so we had some time to kill that morning. Several weeks before this trip I had been feeling guilty that we hadn't delivered Michael's memory boxes for stillborns yet (something we had hoped to do back in NOVEMBER!). They sat in our bedroom all packaged up and ready to go for months, but with morning sickness, regular sickness and just life in general we hadn't found a window of opportunity to deliver them to our local hospital. However, it all ended up working out perfectly as we still had them and were able to bring them with us on our trip. This meant we were able to take them to the hospital where Michael was born, which made it all that more meaningful to us.
As we pulled up to the hospital the boys were anxious to go inside. We had explained to them that it was not only the hospital where Michael was born, but where the two of them were also born. When we walked through the doorway the familiar smell of that hospital hit me hard. How strange is it that I would remember the smell? I'm convinced that when something life changing happens in our lives, our senses are heightened and we remember things that we probably wouldn't have otherwise. In this case, it was the scent of that hospital.
We made our way to the Women's Center (only after a small detour at the gift shop as our littlest was distracted by a stuffed puppy). As we walked through the doors of the Women's Center I could tell the nurses were a bit concerned. After all, we had children with us and they are banned in that area of the hospital during cold and flu season. I quickly explained that we were just there to deliver special packages for families with stillborns. Their expressions immediately changed and you could see the gratitude and love. We shared with them a short version of Michael's story and they were so sweet to us! They told us that unfortunately they were in great need of supplies, burial clothes, blankets etc. for stillbirths. I held back the tears as I understood and as I look back on it now I wish I had given them a big hug. Nurses are simply amazing people!
My heart was full as we left the Women's Center. Memories of Michael's delivery, the nurses that cared for us with so much love during that time and my sweet doctor who handled it all with such reverence were vivid in my mind. I looked at my little family walking in front of me and felt so much gratitude.
I believe that hard things happen to us to allow us to learn and to grow, but also to gain an understanding of what others are going through. I know that the reason we received such great care and a beautiful memory box of our own was because of families before us who had gone through a similar experience. They chose to reach out to others to help them in their time of need. We, in turn, were inspired to do the same. I'm so grateful for the opportunity to honor Michael each year on his birthday by finding small acts of service for families who have also lost their sweet little ones. I'm grateful for a loving Heavenly Father who knew this would benefit our little family and help us to continue to grow even 6 years down the road!
Words can't express how thankful we are to those of you who donated and helped make this project possible this year. For those interested in knowing, our gift bags included:
- a wooden memory box
- two stuffed elephants with instructions for the family to keep one and to bury the other one with their little one. We chose elephants because "an elephant never forgets".
- a foot and hand mold kit
- an ink pad and special paper for hand and foot prints
- a letter to the family from us
- a letter to the nurses with some chocolates, thanking them for their service
I know that these boxes will bring so much comfort to so many families! Once again, thank you, thank you!