That Friday was a dark day here. Here in the Foster Home office we struggled to process the news, worked on the memorial card, and braced ourselves for sharing the news. The nannies up in the CCU struggled harder, often sobbing as they continued to care for their remaining three charges.
Monday came, and we held a memorial service. Nannies, medical staff, office staff and volunteers gathered together to remember, to grieve...and to celebrate.
We watched a slideshow of pictures, snapshots of Albert's short life here.
They showed him as sick and frail...but also as incredibly joyful and brave in the face of it all.
The news about Albert's death was read by more than 14,000 people online. The staff and nannies were read some of the many messages of support and condolence that were posted (with translation into Chinese).
Karen, the director of New Day Foster Home, gave a short message.
There were many tears, especially from the CCU nannies that knew Albert best. Laura, who was also hardest hit by Benjamin's death (at almost this time last year), tenderly stroked Albert's picture on the memorial card. Her beautiful, tender heart was breaking yet again.
The memorial did not end with tears though. What could make a roomful of grieving people smile like this?
Why, this video of course! It 'just so happened' that we had already planned for this blog post to publish on the Friday that Albert died. We postponed it until later in the day, so that the sad news could become known first, but it was wonderful to have something so truly uplifting to share at such a time. Karen introduced the video by saying something like "at a time like this, we need to be reminded of why we do what we do". The nannies and staff LOVED it. The atmosphere was just like one of the highlights of our Chinese New Year party - the part where a slideshow of pictures of New Day graduates, sent in by their adoptive families, is shown - with lively exclamations of "he looks so well!" and "look how she has grown". It was just what was needed.
Albert will not be forgotten, especially not by his CCU mamas. At the memorial service, these incredible ladies were honored for their tireless, sacrificial love for our most fragile children. Such love makes them so vulnerable to heartbreak, but they keep on loving anyway. We gave them a big round of applause, and I know you would have joined in too.