Written by Stacey Garner
Friday, February 27, 2015
On the Flip Side of Things - 2105
If you asked me nine years ago what Heart and Sole meant... I would tell you it was about family.
For me, it meant having Bowen’s memory live on through helping other children. My family had become part of the Children’s Hospital family through Bowen’s life and we were forever grateful.
Facing your fears is as tough as it sounds and for me, this happened this past September. Walking into the Children’s Hospital and down the hallways with my own daughter to be treated was a huge fear of mine... This is not because I feared her treatment or the outcome of her simple tests, but because I feared the emotions that I had tucked away deep inside after losing my niece, Bowen. Almost 10 years ago, I made the long walk down the same hallways to collect Bowen’s blanket and remaining items after she passed away. I can remember my dear friend, who was Bowen’s nurse in the NICU holding me as I sobbed. I remember the pain like it was yesterday. I feared this pain and I asked for Him to give me peace within.
The morning had come for me to take Baby Caroline in for a few simple tests that her pediatrician had ordered. On the way to the Children's Hospital, I could feel the emotions starting to rise within me so I called my friend Catherine Stewart and asked her to meet me in the lobby so we could walk this hallway together. Catherine knew about this fear of mine and as the glass doors opened in the lobby – there she was waiting. We didn’t say much as we walked together but having her beside me was exactly what I needed.
Baby Caroline’s name was called and to the back I went. The nurse gave me a tiny little gown and asked me to undress her into it. The very minute the nurse walked out of the room my tears began to slowly flow down my face. I tried SO hard to fight them but looking at my daughter in the tiny gown and with all of the big machines around... my deep down emotions began to surface and my tears started to pour out. We had such a kind nurse that kept assuring me that everything was going to be ok.... I felt so lost and alone but I couldn’t explain to her that it wasn’t Caroline that I was crying for. As we were wrapping up her tests, I heard a familiar voice. Around the corner Dr. Robyn Hatley appeared. He had come to check in on us.
He could see I had been crying and I am sure that he knew I was hurting. It was quite visible. He whispered to me that I wasn’t alone and he waited for me to get Caroline dressed and in her carrier. He leaned down, picked up Caroline and together we walked down that LONG, grey hallway.
As I got into my car in the Children’s Hospital parking deck... Baby Caroline had fallen asleep and I literally fell apart. I sat in my car and cried as hard at that moment, as when I had collected Bowen’s belongings. I faced my fear on the flip side ~ not as Bowen’s aunt but as Caroline’s mommy. And most importantly, I didn’t do this alone. I did it with my CMC family. Nine years later, I can tell you that Heart and Sole has the same meaning to me... family.
As an aunt to precious Benjamin and Hughes, I ask you to join us... in their sister, Bowen’s memory.
As a mommy to a healthy baby, I ask you to join us... to honor OUR Children’s Hospital. (Yes Baby Caroline will be there & ready)
As a friend to those that have lost their children, I ask you to join us... in the memory of their sweet angels.
As a person that faced her fears head on, I ask you to join us... At Heart and Sole, you are not alone... We are family.
I hope to see you on March 7th