Where to begin? Sometimes the words just don’t come, and this is one of those times. I’ve been thinking about how to start this in a special way, but I guess there is really no special way. This weekend I had the incredible privilege of going on a retreat. This retreat, however, was different from most retreats. This retreat was exclusively for a very special group of moms. Every mom there had lost a child to Congenital Heart Disease. This retreat was started in memory of a sweet baby named Hayden Jeter Dorsett. His mom started Hayden’s Heart (http://www.haydensheart.org/) as a way to honor his memory and reach out to cardiac and angel families.
I know as the days come I will process more but for now the most important thing that stands out is the beauty that was there. Beauty in these moms who continue to go on without their babies. Beauty in the stories of the babies, fighting for life from before they were even born. Each mom there loves her baby (or child, or teen) no matter how long they have been gone. Some of us were so lucky to have years. Some didn’t even have hours. There were so many differences in our stories- in our backgrounds, ages, families, experiences, and the conditions our children have. But the one thing that tied us together- the death of our children- is far more important than all of those differences. That one thing is so horribly sad and creates a very strong bond. There is unbelievable power in being in one room with so many other women who know. They know what it’s like to hear that their child is sick and needs surgery. They know what it’s like to have to worry if their child will make it. They know what it’s like to see things that no one would ever want to see. And they know what it’s like to have to continue to carry on without their child.
This retreat was a gift to each one of us. The picture above is from our art therapy session. We were each given the same materials and the same instructions, yet each painting tuned out so differently. I think this is much like our journeys. We were each given the worst thing that can happen. The deaths of our children. And each of us will continue to carry on and live in different ways. We will make something beautiful out of this sad thing we have been given, but for each of us the results will be different. I’m thankful to know these women and look forward to staying in touch and seeing where each of our journeys takes us.
***Ady, Hayden’s mom, has a dream to create a house specifically for families who have lost a child. Information can be found here if you would like to make a donation to this mission of Hayden’s Heart:
If you would like to donate to Hayden’s Heart to support the organization please click here: