Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Heroes of Healing

I haven'’t thrown a post up yet today because I usually try to keep things upbeat and entertaining. Sometimes you get something that you really want to post but don'’t want to depress anyone. Everyhting I managed to cobble together seemed hollow and I realized that if I didn't fire this one off I'd be a fool. I argued with myself and eventually I won over myself and decided that it'’s my blog and I'’ll do what I want to do and if you don't want to learn about this kind fo thing that you'll likely flee in terror. Attention always needs to be drawn towards those that provide help to others. While this covers a massive umbrella of people I will narrow it right down for you. First off I need to warn you emotional types that you may want to bail out now. This is not for the faint of heart.

While bumbling around the internet as I usually do I discovered something that took my breath away. Emotions ranging from deep grief and sorrow all the way to amazement and wonder rolled over me like traffic over a highway. What I discovered was a band of people who have drawn together to make a heartbreaking task a little more bearable. Saying goodbye is an inevitable part of life. We lose pets, friends and relatives as the years go by. It never is easy but what if it was your child? More accurately, what if it was your newborn, or as yet to be born child? With the knowledge that your time together will be brief at best how do you handle it all? In the emotion and strain of the time it will all rush past and leave you with little other tthat gnawing hollow feeling and the knowledge of loss.

Cheryl Haggard and her husband were pregnant with their fourth and final child and awaited the birth as any other parents would. They had all the requisite test and all progress showed okay so when their baby Maddux was born unable to breathe it was all a bit overwhelming. While riding the emotions in the hospital Cheryl'’s husband phoned a talented photographer named Sandy Puc'’ and tried to book her for photos only to be told that the available date was beyond the life expectancy of Maddux. He began to break down and Sandy rearranged everything to bring her and her team to the hospital. Even though they expected that the pictures wodevastatingtating, the resulting photos and slideshow that were assembled for the Haggard family was so overwhelming that Cheryl teamed up with Sandy and another photographer by the name of Dave Junion to create the charitable foundation Now I Lay Me Down To Sleep. Their mandate is to provide, at absolutely no cost to the families, portraits of the baby as a keepsake of their brief time together. Regular readers know that my love of photography knows no bounds, but I can't say as I ever saw it as a possible tool for healing until now. This wonderful group of people have managed to slowly spread their message and are building an army of photographers and volunteers to serve this unfortunate need.

The sensitivity and compassion they bring can help provide a light and even a direction towards healing and recovering from such a tragedy. By growing the number of photographers and getting the word out there they will eventually be able to provide this service everywhere as a standard offering. It is a shame to think of anyone who would discover such a service when it is too late so I urge you to file this one away in the back of your mind in case you should ever encounter anyone who could benefit from this service. If you’ve got time to wander through the testimonials and the message board I strongly urge you to do so. It is heartbreaking but also enlightening. The inspiration that is present from the efforts of so many people just trying to help is undeniable. The beauty of the human spirit is runnin rampant in there and it gives us hope for the race as a whole that people such as these exist.

Sandy's story is here and baby Maddux's is here as well as the video that was made. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.

If you'’ll excuse me now I have to go hug my kids.


Blogger Oh great One said...

Wow. I imagine that photo's might be comforting. What an incredible service. I didn't even get to keep the ultrasound pictures.....

9:47:00 AM  
Blogger Rowan said...

that is the most heartbreaking thing I've experienced (as I didn't just watch it -- I felt it) in a very long time. No one should have to go thru that kind of pain.

10:57:00 AM  
Anonymous happy and blue 2 said...

Nice post. We need to be reminded that there are people who are trying to make life better..

2:50:00 PM  
Blogger Memphis Steve said...

I think that's cool that they do that. It probably helps the parents in getting over a horrible tragedy.

4:03:00 PM  
Blogger Jenn said...

damn - that's some powerful stuff and some awe-inspiring and heart-wrenching work that they're doing. I'm glad you posted it.

10:00:00 PM  
Blogger JODSTER said...

When do we sign up to help, my soft hearted, and most helpful, self-less friend?

10:40:00 AM  
Blogger katie said...

What an amazing group of people. Thank you for posting this.

4:40:00 PM  
Blogger PBS said...

Wow, that is a great service to help console and heal those who are hurting.

10:17:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

thanks for sharing with your friends ...Dave Junion

4:55:00 PM  

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