This week I shared an article on my Facebook page via a few friends about the Heartfelt Organisation.
Heartfelt gives the gift of photos as lifelong memories to families like mine. Families whose baby or child has died or is critically ill. I thought I’d share our story on Heartfelt.
The day after Charlize died a social worker came to visit us. She told us to avoid difficult situations when we left hospital we should utilise our social media and tell all our friends and family about our devastating tragedy.
I remember Saxon and I sitting in my hospital room only 24 hours after Charlize died drafting a message to post on Facebook. We both cried when we read people’s outpouring of love for our family and for our beautiful daughter.
Within hours of that going live I received close to ten messages about Heartfelt explaining what they did. Time and time again we kept saying we weren’t interested in it. We were concerned about how our beautiful baby would ‘look’ in the photos.
The following day I told Sacon I wanted the photos taken but we agreed only of her feet and hands. We wanted tasteful pictures we could hang in our home and not have people feel uncomfortable around them.
It still amazes me today how concerned we were for other people’s feelings.
I called my friend who arranged for her boss to come to the hospital and take Charlize’s pics. I knew what time she would be there but I couldn’t be there watching it. Afterwards my friend came to see me and told me Charlize was beautiful and the photos were great.
When she left my room I broke down. I couldn’t let my baby go back down to the morgue I needed to see her. Poor Saxon had gone for a walk and came back to an inconsolable wife. We called our nurse and asked to see our baby.
The social worker came to see us to explain how she may look. The three of us walked to the quiet room together. Saxon and I sat on those same chairs that three days earlier we sat as our baby took her final breath.
The nurse that was looking after Lucia that day asked to go and get Charlize. She wrapped her in a bunny rug and put her in a pram and walked her into our room.
She gently picked my baby girl up out of the pram and placed a kiss on her head and said ‘Here’s your Mummy and Daddy’. She passed my daughter to me and I my heart broke all over again.
Unlike the night we lost her where she fought till the end, today she looked like she was peacefully sleeping. Her face was beautiful. Every part of her was beautifully perfect and very small. I traced the lines of her face with my finger and covered her in kisses and tears. Her Daddy did the same.
In that room on that day I now know is where our Heartfelt Photo session should’ve taken place.
We poured the love for her whole beautiful life into that moment. I remember every detail like it happened today.
That was the last time we saw her beautiful, delicate face. Her perfectly tiny hands.
That was the last time I could whisper ‘I love you’ into her ear, into her heart.
Many weeks later on a day where I felt like I couldn’t take another breath or my heart would literally break in two, I received a parcel. A parcel with a CD of photos of Charlize’s hands and feet. They are exquisitely perfect just as I imagined.
Although I love these photos dearly I wish I’d said to the photographer ‘Do what you normally do’. I wish we had photos of her face. I wish we had photos of us on that special day when it was just the three of us.
Our home has pictures everywhere of Charlize’s perfect little feet and because of Heartfelt I cannot walk past those photos without a smile and tickling her toes.
I hope to one day be able to join Heartfelt and using our own loss, be able to give other families a smile years after their loss with this amazing gift.