DeLanee's Story

10 years ago, Becky and Tommy, were blessed to be pregnant with their second child. Shortly thereafter they learned that they were going to be parents to a little girl, but the probability of their daughter living for very long was extremely low. Their daughter was diagnosed with a condition called Dandy-Walker Cyst. The doctors believed that their baby girl would deteriorate and pass away during pregnancy, but much to their surprise DeLanee developed until 28 weeks gestation when she was delivered and lived for three hours. As you can imagine, these 3 hours was precious time that they spent as a family with their daughter taking pictures, bathing, dressing and holding her until she passed away in their arms. Upon DeLanee's passing, the nurses brought the family a box to put their daughter’s belongings in to take home with them. Because DeLanee was born in January the nurses were able to find a leftover Christmas box. That Christmas box became extremely special to them and they clung to it and the contents inside that held their daughter’s precious belongings as they left the hospital without their baby. It was because of this box that the inspiration for Lanee’s Legacy began. . .

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

By small and simple things. . .

Alright you guys, we are on the final countdown - 10 days to be exact! We have had some amazing things happen recently, including our story being written in the East Valley Tribune. If by some chance you weren't able to catch it, you can find it here:

Because we are on our final countdown, we have come up with another contest that we will announce very soon that will be sure to please! You won't want to miss this, so be sure and check back as we will post ALL of the details real soon!!

The picture above is a picture of Rayel Smith, a member of our Lanee's Legacy team. She and I have been friends since Jr. high and could definitely tell you some crazy stories that go way back - we'll keep those dirty little secrets to ourselves though! What we are sharing is a story from our lives as moms and the loss of our children. Little did Rayel and I know that this would be something that we would have in common as mothers. I know this story was not an easy one for Rayel to tell. Some things are just so personal that they are difficult to talk about at times. She is such a wonderful mother (to 6 children - yes 6!) and that includes the wonderful job she is doing at mothering her angel baby, Garrett. She has been a source of strength for me as she too joined this club that neither of us wanted to be in, but thankful for each other as it has brought us closer together as we've shared in this grief.

Although many boxes had been donated to many grieving moms, most of them I did not know personally. When I heard of Rayel's loss, it really hit home for me as she was someone I had grown up with and loved. I think that many of us upon hearing of a loved one's tragedy immediately ask ourselves "what can we do to help?". It is such an empty helpless feeling to know that someone you love is hurting and to feel useless in helping to ease their pain. I'm not just talking about the loss of a baby, but any sort of personal tragedy or challenge that a friend or family member is facing. We take cards, flowers and even meals into grieving families offering our love and support during difficult times. . .and then we search for more that we can do. As hard as we all try to help, it is so difficult to watch our loved ones grieve while we watch from the sidelines. . .helpless. Sometimes, simply being there is as much as we can do. This is how I felt when I heard of Rayel's loss. Helpless. I had personally experienced the loss of a baby just as she had and yet I still felt this way. Aside from my love and support, the box was all I had to offer.

I knew of how simple my Christmas box was, but yet so special and significant to me at the same time. I know the boxes we donate can never completely take away the pain of losing a child. We've heard from many mom's telling us that the boxes they have received are significant to them as well. Honestly, when I began making the boxes I felt like they were more for me and my own way of dealing with my grief. I really did not know how much they would help until I began hearing from others. I just thought it was something simple for a mom to hold onto as they leave the hospital. Sometimes it is the small and simple things that mean so much.

So, in the LONG round about way of this post, the point in this. We have had so many people contact us asking this same question: "what can I do to help". It really is just the small things that we need. Simply buy a ticket to the breakfast. We have close to 550 members on facebook. Can you imagine the difference it would make if each person would buy just 1 ticket at $5.00 each (or donate $5.00 if you can't make it)? We are hoping to put as much as we can from the profits that we make right back into the donating of the boxes. We don't want any mother to not receive a box as they leave the hospital. They are just a small and simple way of helping a grieving parent that will be made possible by your small and simple donation.

Other ways for you to help are coming. We will have a volunteer sign-up sheet at the breakfast and hope to have many of you sign up to help with the actual assembly of the boxes. This will give us such a great opportunity to connect as parents, offering support to each other while giving back. I can't wait to meet many of you and work on this together. Thanks to all of you who are so willing to get involved and want to help out. I truly hope that this hasn't sounded trivial or too simple of a resolution of how you can help. Sometimes it really is just the small stuff.


taraplus3 said...

Today I received my postcard in the mail for the pancake breakfast next saturday. I was so grateful to finally know how and who had provided such a loving, kind gift to me at the hardest time of my life. My name is Tara Dove, and on June 17th, 2009, my husband and I went in for a routine ultrasound and saw that our beautiful baby boy had no heartbeat. The next day was a blur as I was sent to Banner Desert to deliver. On June 18th,our baby boy Shawn, named after his daddy, was born not alive at close to 24 weeks gestation. There has never been a diagnosis or reason for his death, other than "miscellaneous chromisomal abnormalities." You will never, ever know what that beautiful box of my beautiful; baby's things and the beautiful pictures meant to me. It has only been 3 months and right now is the hardest time for me because he is due soon. I look at other pregnant mommies in envy and cannot yet think of my baby or look at his pictures without having a complete meltdown. I know he is safe with his Heavenly Father and that there was a reason for this and I hope to be with him in the afterlife. This was my 4th child. but my first child with my new husband. It has been extremely hard for him, as he is scared to ever have another baby because of this horrible experience. But when I look at that beautiful box, made with such love, I know how much my Heavenly Father loves me and my family and that my baby is better off than being in this world right now. I still wonder, "Why me?" "It isnt fair" " I dont understand!!!!" But without you and your wonderful volunteers, I wouldnt have such special memories to hold onto. I thank you from the bottom of my heart, you will never, ever understand how much that meant to me. Please let me help. I, like you, know how horrible it is to lose a child, an innocent, beautiful life. I will be there next Saturday with my children and would love to help make boxes, anything I can do. A little FYI, two years ago I was Mrs. Gilbert AZ and 1st runner up in the Mrs. Arizona America pageant. I plan on competing again in the pageant next year and I have a new charity I'd like to work with since my experience 3 months ago. Lanee's Legacy. Please let me know anything I can do to participate and help. You are wonderful, amazing women and I thank you from the bottom of my heart. Sincerely, Tara Dove

Alicia said...

Since we lost our son, Gavin, in '07 I have been making boxes for his birthday... they can get expensive (as I include the cameras, journals, etc.) so this is wonderful that you've put together such a wonderful way to accomplish so much good. I would love to pool my resources and help with your projects. We've started purchasing for our boxes this year to be donated Dec. 6th. The postcard is beautiful. I release doves at weddings and funerals and would like to donate single dove releases to bereaved moms for their memorial services. It's a shame so many have been touched by this kind of loss, but so wonderful to be able to support each other. We're looking forward to the breakfast.