We incurred many unexpected expenses during our stay in the NICU with our daughter Vashti: transportation costs, meals, forgotten bill payments, etc. We also were unable to work due to the unpredictable changes in her health from hour to hour over the time we were in the NICU.
Phone bill, Funeral/loss expenses
In the short term, the assistance we received alleviated some of the stress that was on us during the worst time of our lives. As for long-term, I can see our family paying this kindness forward to another family in a similar situation once we have the means and opportunity.
If we did not receive the assistance we did, we would have had to frantically secure the funds for Vashti’s funeral service and cremation and may have had our cell phone service disconnected.
We had a normal, uncomplicated pregnancy and delivery, and Vashti was born full-term, living and breathing. The decline in her health and eventual death was a total shock to our family. The pain that we each have experienced (mom, dad, older brother and sister) during this time is truly indescribable. The journey to healing and peace after the loss of a child/sibling is extremely lonely, as most cannot relate or empathize. We are deeply grateful for organizations like The Colette Louise Tisdahl Foundation not only for the assistance they provided but for their acknowledgement of our pain. The rest of the world seems not to care.
Our family launched an investigation into Vashti’s death shortly after she died. We still do not have a definitive diagnosis, and this makes grieving and healing a little more difficult. We are attending therapy and using the creative arts to express our grief and honor Vashti. We feel a strong desire to help other families in similar situations.
To the families grieving the loss of an infant or child, PLEASE find the people who share similar experiences, talk with them, cry with them, spend time with them, and cherish them. Very few people have the experience and emotional depth necessary to be of any real comfort to you. Accept help from them and the organizations who specialize in infant and child loss support. It may seem like a lot to jump into something new while you are grieving, but finding community and people who care has been the single most comforting thing in all of this.
I wish I could have mentally prepared for the possibility of my baby not living/coming home. Pregnancy and infant loss are far more common than we thought, but because of the stigma and taboo surrounding these topics, we never knew. Even after our daughter passed, we still felt very alone until finding other families who had similar experiences.
We created a “bereavement (teddy) bear” that houses Vashti’s urn. “Bun Bun” as we call her, has been a tremendous help during our grief journey. She is cuddly and a perfect receiver of the love we gave and continue to give to Lorde Vashti. We have helped other families who have lost a loved one create bereavement bears as well.