Sunday, July 17, 2011

New Angel BFF

As you know last week would have been Grace's 1st Birthday. I know this may sound abnormal, but Holly and I started talking about what we wanted to do on this date months ago. We had already decided we were going to take the day off work. Initially we wanted to spend the day doing volunteer work. We really wanted to work with families that are dealing with a sick or deceased child. I contacted several organizations and even spoke with Kaiser about doing something. Unfortunately, our options were very limited on her actual birthday. So about a month before her birthday Holly had an idea. 

She suggested we ask our therapists to nominate any families that they thought would benefit from a toy (a.k.a. materials for my speechie friends) to help facilitate the child's communication. The program was to be called Gracie's Gift. After reviewing the nominations we selected five families as recipients for Gracie's Gift. What makes this unique is we're able to have our therapists work with the families on how to use the toy with their child and not just hand it to them as a gift. For us it's all about fostering communication. We were able to communicate with Gracie via music. And we feel any child should be given the tools needed to be a better communicator too.

One of the things we decided to do on Grace's birthday was start going through her room and packing things up for our move and putting memorable items into her Hope chest. It needed to be done and her birthday seemed like an appropriate day to do it. I think we were a little hesitant at first knowing our emotions would be running high. But I think it was rather therapeutic and gave me a certain sense of closure... or at least order. The feeling of accomplishment by being able to narrow all of her items down to those that fit in her Hope chest was nice. We boxed up the rest of her belongings and plan on keeping them as well. However, some of the items didn't really qualify as storage worthy. There were tons of diapers, baby wipes and misc. baby items we didn't need to keep. We weren't exactly sure what we were going to do with them, we just knew we didn't need to keep them.

Then yesterday while reading the paper I saw an ad for a diaper drive at the Rivercats game today. The diapers were going to the Sacramento Crisis Nursery, which offers emergency drop-off care for infants if the parents are too stressed to take care for them. So today on our way to see Grace we stopped off at the Crisis Nursery to drop off all our diapers and baby wipes. As you can image they were very grateful for our donation.

On our drive up to see Grace we knew things were going to be different. You see on Wednesday when we went to see her there was a gravesite dug out next to Grace's. At first I was shocked and incensed. I know it's irrational, but why did they have to squeeze in between Grace and the sidewalk when there are plenty of other spaces available. But later I thought maybe they choose that gravesite because of Grace. She is the greeter you know.

Meanwhile Holly knelt down next to the empty grave and started to cry. It's so sad to see another baby die and know what that family is going through. The service was to take place on Friday so this was our first time back since Wednesday. We were stunned by how many flowers and gifts were left at the gravesite. We couldn't make out the name, but it appears to be a baby girl. 

We said a prayer and asked all the other babies, including Grace, to welcome her and take care of her. She will be next to Grace for the rest of our lives. We will come to know her birthday and when she passed just like Grace's. It's so sad to see such little lives taken from us so soon. We hope her family will survive this difficult time and find solace in knowing their daughter is in the hands of angels. 

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