This a bitter sweet moment to watch from a far. As Jackson's family just celebrated the birth of a baby brother last week, his parents are now suddenly preparing for Jackson to go to hospice. It's beyond special to see the baby laying on Jackson's stomach and seeing that they got to touch and meet physically. Some families witness and experience the circle of life first hand with pediatric cancer and we were one of them. I was pregnant with my daughter, Ocean, when Mac went to heaven. She was born three months later.
This is one of the many reasons that I am so passionate about Brave Gowns and connecting with every single family that receives a gown. When I see a child in a gown, it brings me back to a time in my life I remember to clearly. I know first hand the fear and moments they're living through. You see so many pictures of children with cancer and their families smiling and making the most of the unknown. There is an adrenaline that is fueling these parents to bury their fears and wear their hope on their sleeves. Children's Hospitals are as magical as all the staff that fills them. The nurses, social workers and Child Life staff try to make these kids feel like they're in Disneyland, while doctors and practitioners are working diligently in the background trying to figure out the best treatment to get these children home. Behind these smiling faces are machines beeping, medicines being pushed, nurses and doctors in and out when the child has just finally fallen asleep, pain, mouth sores, hunger and sleepless nights.
When looking at Jackson's family in the black and white picture above, I see so many emotions. It's the look of sadness, defeat and peace all at once. One day soon they will be home with their new baby that they will share stories about his big brother Jackson that is up in heaven and find their new normal, a term we all become familiar with. Every occurrence is life will now be calculated by "before cancer or after." It's that simple. They will find laughter, hope and smile once again, but a huge piece of their heart will be in heaven with Jackson. It's safe for me to say that when I see a child in a Brave Gown, I am looking at the piece of my heart that was left in that Children's Hospital with my brother that day. The more children I see wearing a Brave Gown, the more at peace my heart is. Please say a prayer for Jackson, his family and their hearts. Brave Gowns pulled together an amazing community that I am forever grateful for. Thank you.