This month, on an early and special edition of The Parent Perspective in honor of Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month, HRH staff member Angie Bresnahan shares her role in curating our Bereavement Program. As a parent who lost her child in the neonatal intensive care unit, hear her perspective of how these items were selected and why they are helping families in your community experiencing loss. For questions regarding our Bereavement Program, email us today. To make a donation to our Bereavement Program in memory of a loved one, please click here.
“On February 20th, 2016 at 28 weeks pregnant I gave birth to my twins, Beren and Adalyn. Five days later, Beren suddenly died. Adalyn remained in the NICU for 95 days. I remember walking those halls watching other new mothers leave the hospital with their beautiful healthy babies. Adalyn fought a great fight and we were able to bring her home. We felt blessed to leave the hospital with her, but carried the weight in our hearts from leaving without her other half.” – Angie Bresnahan
Before Angie Bresnahan was an HRH staff member, she was a mother mourning her son. Last month, we heard Angie’s story. This month, Angie shares how her loss became the driving force behind a new program with High Risk Hope, our Bereavement Box Program.
High Risk Hope’s Bereavement Boxes arrive when the families need it most and when they should not have to think of ways to remember their child. They need time and space to mourn. Angie shared her most coveted items and missed opportunities for those sacred moments after a loss. With that, we curated an opportunity for lifelong memories.
Teddy Bear, “It is a hospital requirement that a mother is escorted out in a wheelchair, no matter what. I remember seeing women being pushed out to their cars with the car seats in tow and their babies in their laps. They looked exhausted but happy. I also saw a few that had an empty lap. They were exhausted… and devastated. They were leaving without their baby. After Beren’s passing, we bought a bear that we include in every single family photo to this day. It is a symbol of Beren and that he is an unforgettable member of this family.”
Journal, “Life during those days were a blur. You have to be so concentrated on getting through the motions that you don’t (and shouldn’t) have to think about what you’ll need in the future to remember your baby. I write letters to Beren now and some things I don’t remember until I look back at my journal. Even now, a nurse will remind me of something small, like how his pinky toe would curl up. If I could go back, I would write down every little detail about him – so I could remember it forever. Writing my way through this journey was therapeutic for me then and it still is today.”
Handprint Kit, “I didn’t have one of these but I wish I had. Beren’s ink footprints that were taken by a Respiratory Therapist mean the world to me and I will always cherish them. Every parent counts those hands and toes once born, and with this, you can look upon something real and tangible that was theirs.”
Tin Memory Box, “I only have a few items that have Beren’s name on it, and his hospital name bracelet is one of them. I may be one of the few, but I am someone that is very sensitive to smells. To this day, I have Beren’s baby blanket in a Ziploc bag to cherish his smell. I really believe it to be the same with his hospital bracelet, or even lock of hair. This tin memory box locks in a lifetime of memories for me.”
Candle, “I know that High Risk Hope sampled so many different candles before deciding which to include in the Bereavement Boxes. It was important to have a scent that definitely had a presence but was not overwhelming. Like myself, I envisioned many families lighting this candle on their child’s birthday or anniversary of their passing in remembrance of their spirit.”
Forget Me Knot Garden Kit, “For many, it is so impactful to be able to see something, representing your loved one, grow. Plant these Forget Me Knots, nurture them, and take each day as a new opportunity to grow with them.”
Bereavement Gown, “I was ecstatic to hear that High Risk Hope receives consistent donations of Bereavement Gowns from their supporters. A few are made from vintage wedding dresses and fabrics, but all of them are made with genuine love. I think that’s comforting to know when received.”
As the years go on for many of our families experiencing loss, High Risk Hope has learned that the most important thing we can do is acknowledge their child’s existence. We hope that with our Bereavement Program, we’ve not only given helpful items to assist in creating lifelong memories, but the knowledge that they have advocates and love here at HRH and with our supporters, all of you. No longer in our arms, forever in our hearts.