It’a a strange feeling to be thankful for an opportunity, but at the same time wish that the situation at hand never existed. I had intense mixed emotions today as I did my first personal dropoff of one of our Grief Care Packages to a family at Riverside Methodist Hospital. I felt so overwhelmingly thankful to be in a position to give any measure of comfort to this family that was feeling so much pain. And yet I wish more than anything they didn’t know this pain, and that I had never know it myself.
When dropping off feminine hygiene products and a grocery gift card to a bereaved family today, I struggled to offer the right words, even though just over two years ago I was in a similar position. Except when I faced the intense grief of unexpectedly losing my child, I had all the resources I could need at my disposal. It is so meaningful to me to, through Alive In My Heart and in Jacob’s honor, be able to shoulder some of the financial burden for this family in hopes that they could spend fewer moments worrying about money and more remembering their precious daughter and processing their grief.
I wasn’t expecting the level of gratitude this family expressed to me. I met this baby’s parents, older brother, and grandmother in a very personal and difficult time, so I really didn’t expect them to engage with me much. To the contrary, the warmth with which they received not only the material items I brought, but even more, my presence, made me so thankful I get to do this work. They shared about their daughter and I shared about my son. I expressed my sorrow for them, and they equally back to me. They asked about how I cope, and what life looks like going forward, and I shared what wisdom I could. We exchanged hugs and tears, and words of support, and I felt so thankful for these beautiful moments of uplifting human connection, though they were born out of a tragedy I so wish no one had to face.
Connection and legacy
A blessed moment of connection made possible by the most unlikely of circumstances and the most tragic of common experiences. I returned to my car and released the heaving sobs I had held back in front of the family. For a moment, my sorrow that any parent has to know this pain took over. Then, more quickly than expected, gratitude returned. This family touched my heart perhaps even more than I or Alive In My Heart touched theirs. And just like that, our children’s legacies grew a bit more as Jacob and baby L will always be alive in our hearts.