A few weekends ago, AJ and I had the honor and pleasure of attending the inaugural Save the Heartbeat Gala benefiting the Hopeful Hearts Foundation. This event was put on by another heart mom, Danielle, who’s son Remington, only 10 months old, has undergone two open heart surgeries and four brain surgeries, as a result of his first heart surgery. You read that right. Over $100,000 was raised!
This was our first “heart event” since Luca passed away, and I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t hesitant to attend. Sometimes it’s hard to know where I fit in and, quite frankly, it doesn’t always feel like the heart community is it. My reality no longer includes heart surgeries, oxygen sats, coagulations, hospital talk, and the like. And I think it scares people who are living with sick children, just like Luca, to hear about their worst nightmare being realized, which happens to be our new reality. I can’t blame them. However, Danielle did an outstanding job of honoring both children who have passed away as well as children who are thriving.
These are all the heart parents in attendance. We were given pins with a little red ribbons to identify us as such, and other attendees were encouraged to talk with us and ask us about our children. Do you know how many people asked us about Luca? I got to talk about him the entire night and didn’t have to feel awkward for one second because I wasn’t the one who brought him up.
Meghan and Josslyn, two other heart moms I talked with multiple times before Luca was born and finally got to meet. Josslyn is Charlie’s mom. I reached out to her because I found out she delivered at the same hospital as I was going to and therefore had a similar birth experience. You might remember that I was not fond of my experience and I was pretty anxious about the hospital. Charlie has completed two of the three staged surgeries, and is doing well. Meghan is Lawson’s mom, and she actually reached out to me after hearing of Luca’s story. I got to share everything with her. Lawson has completed the first of the three staged surgeries and is also doing well.
Each table was named after a child who was honored at the event. Here we are at Table Luca. Each place setting had a 5×7 card with all of Luca’s facts on the front, like what his condition, the surgeries, whether or not diagnosed prenatally, etc. The back included his story. So many people got to read his story and see his face. I cannot explain how wonderful this was for us.
Would ya look at this?! We never get to attend anything together because of AJ’s soccer schedule. We were excited to spend the evening together at such a wonderful event, supporting a wonderful cause, and talking about Luca.
If you know someone who has lost a child, I would encourage you to reach out to that person. If you find yourself thinking of that child, let his or her parents know. Mention the child by name. Doing so will not be some shocking reminder that their child is no longer here; they didn’t forget their child died. What you’re reminding them of is that someone remembers that their child lived, and that is a great, great gift.
We spent the entire night talking about Luca, sharing his story, having people ask us about him, seeing his face everywhere, and connecting with other people who have shared the same or similar journeys. That alone was incredibly healing.
So, Danielle, if you’re reading this, thanks for the work you did. Not only did you help raise a ton of money and awareness for children like ours, you provided a source of healing for my husband and me. For that, we are thankful, and we are excited to be apart of this in the future!
Check out the Hopeful Hearts Foundation when you get a chance. Adam and Terra have a wonderful story to share about their three children with serious CHDs. What they’re doing for families like ours is special.