And so we awoke, the day after Breelyn’s first birthday. Today was the day that we would make our first donation. Today was the day that we’d return to the hospital where our child was pronounced dead. We’d walk through the E.R. doors. We’d meet the people that worked so hard to save our child.
This was a family affair for us- including grandparents and my aunt and uncle. We needed to be together to get through this. And so we arrived. And so did everyone else. I’d expected to meet a couple of medical staff members who’d worked with Breelyn. I wasn’t prepared for all of the first responders. I can’t remember the exact number but 8-10 men in their uniforms arrived. They were the men who’d first cared for Breelyn- who’d diligently performed CPR, who fought so hard to save my baby. I was moved.
And then there was the medical team. I saw the doctor who told me that Breelyn had died. I wasn’t sure that I would remember anyone from that day but I remembered her. I remembered the hurt that she had in her eyes when she told me that it looked like Breelyn had taken a nap and not woken up. And the hurt was still in her eyes when we exchanged a hug.
And I met nurses who had helped Breelyn. One had covered Breelyn in the handmade blanket. He gave me a card that the staff had prepared in honor of Breelyn’s birthday. I didn’t know what sort of card one could ever provide to celebrate the birthday that wasn’t but it was perfect. The front of the card says “You outshine every candle on your cake.” Inside “Happy Birthday to a brilliant beacon of God’s love.” There’s a verse printed- “…let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in Heaven. Matthew 5:16”. And then everyone has signed it with messages of happy birthday to a beautiful angel, thinking of you, praying for you, etc. I’m moved.
I’m not a lover of the spotlight but I have a message- a purpose and so I try to get it out there. This meant that the media was also there for the donation. It wasn’t easy, I wasn’t eloquent, and I didn’t sugar coat. I was honest. This was hard- our baby had died and we struggle. BUT, how these men and women had handled the day that Breelyn died, had made a difference- it was why we were here. Their decision to cover our child in a blanket had influenced me to learn to crochet and then to invite others to do the same. And a ripple effect continued. The original person crocheted the blanket, the medical team covered Breelyn, I was moved and made blankets and invited others to do the same, those others invited others, who invited others… and in five short months, we’ve created 100 blankets. That represents 100 families who will know that they aren’t alone.
There isn’t a happily ever after to this story. These dear babies and small children will still die. But our blanket represented our baby not being alone. It helped me feel that others saw her as a baby. That she was cared for and loved. And so, we make/collect/distribute blankets. We pray for the receivers and for the medical teams and first responders. We ache for the loss that they will endure. And we pray that they will all endure- that they will be able to go on to help others. We’re not perfect and this still stinks, but the blanket made a difference to us, so we have to try to make a difference for others.