The news of Reese’s passing came as a sad surprise to all who heard it. As it was the middle of the public holiday, most of the staff and volunteers here heard the news via their cell-phones, and to be really honest, it didn’t seem real.
There was a sense of disbelief as the news was shared. A sense of “that cannot be true”. It didn’t seem right that Reese’s long, hard fight should end so suddenly.
It’s hard to understand why. Hard to understand why such an Amazing Story should have such a sad ending, when we had longed to watch Reese grow big and strong, to take him to have his trach reversed, to wave goodbye to him as he left to join his forever family…
The consolation is that, while the ending is sad for us, for Reese it is just the beginning and the sad part is over. There is still a very real need though, when facing tragedies like this, to take time to process and to grieve. We are happy for Reese, but we miss him, and it was good to be back together again after the holiday, talking and honoring his memory.
Memories of Albert’s memorial were still fresh in our minds as we gathered once again, this time to mourn for his CCU room-mate Reese.
Where do we go from here? At the end of the memorial service we stood together and pledged to keep on courageously taking risks, caring for kids who seem to have no hope. It’s not easy, when the risks of disappointment are big and hope is hard to hold on to. We will fight for Esther, believing that she will recover well from the Kasai procedure and that her liver will continue to function for a long time. We will fight for Eli, and our other babies that need heart surgery soon. And we will remember and honor Reese.
I wanted add a personal postscript to this, writing not ‘as New Day’ but as the mama of a CCU graduate. It was painfully poignant for me, sitting in Reese’s and Albert’s memorial services next to sobbing CCU nannies, because I know that if the Summer of 2012 had unfolded differently, they would have sobbed like that for my daughter too. I know that I can speak for all the parents of the many children who have received the love of these ladies when I say how incredibly and grateful I am to them. I honor them for the way they continue to pour their hearts into caring for children whose lives are so fragile, in the face of possible pain and loss. - Laura