A few days ago,
I attended a Celebration of Life event
held by the Visiting Nurses Association (Hospice).
It’s an event held every 6 months to remember those who died
while in their care. I had to go alone, as Torry was working 2nd shift.
I didn’t really know what to expect.
When I first got there,
there was a little line you had to wait in to sort of ‘check in’.
I noticed right off the bat that I was surrounded by a lot of old people.
I wasn’t too surprised by this, as hospice is usually associated with an older person
going home for more comfortable care to live out their last days. But I guess I didn’t
really realize how very few younger adults/children/babies are a part of this. You
could say I was slightly uncomfortable, but when I caught sight of Stacy (Brecken’s nurse) in the
distance to my right I felt a little better. I noticed, also, as I inched my way closer to the check in table that Amy
(Brecken’s social worker) was one of the two ladies checking all of us in. At least I wasn’t completely alone.
When it was my turn, Amy got up and came around the table to give me a hug and asked how I was doing. We
chit-chated for a bit and then I made my way over to Stacey to give her a hug and say “Hi” to her as well.
It was beyond refreshing to see them. Stacey came by our house every morning to check in on us
and Amy came about every other time. They were a big part in our stay home, and they were there
when Brecken passed away in my arms.
I made my way over to where the
chairs were to sit through the program. By this time, most
of everyone had already found their spot. I glanced around and noticed that
just about every single person was old. They were accompanied by their children
and some grand children or another old person (relative or friend) Noticing this,
I almost felt like I didn’t belong there. I was also the only person there alone.
I approached an end aisle seat and noticed a pack of tissue waiting there for it’s use.
I sat down and began to look over the program of what was going to go on.
There was the opening speech and then the slideshow. The nurses and social workers
each took turns reading the names of the person associated in the picture up on the big screen.
Brecken’s name was the last on the list. I had some time to wait. Interesting enough, I was getting
nervous for when it was time to call his name. I have no idea why. It took every ounce of strength
to not burst out crying. My heart was pounding so hard in my chest and my cheeks were flaming red, I
was sure of it. As each name was read off, a favorite memory of that person was shared that the family
members had written down. Those there to remember these people also walked up to the front
to get a flower the VNA was handing out.
It seemed like it took forever to get to
Brecken’s name. After they called the name of the person
before Brecken, there were a few slides of flowers and butterflies.
Then Brecken’s sweet face showed up. It was different with him than any other name
called. When his picture showed, there was a big gasp from the room and I began to hear
people around me make comments about how he was so small, so young, so little. With
every other name that was called off, it was sort of expected and not such a surprise seeing an
old man or woman who had passed away. But Brecken was like the elephant in the room. You
couldn’t look away from his picture and not be stunned in the very seat you sat in. After a moment
of everyone letting my sweet boy’s face sink in, I stood up to walk to the front while Stacy read
off one of my favorite moment’s with him: the very first time we got to hold him in the NICU 5 days
after he was born. As I was up there, I felt every pair of eyes glued to me. I made no eye contact with
any of the crowed members as I walked back to my seat. Last words were shared by various staff
members and then it was time for refreshments.
I grabbed myself a piece of cake
(A weakness of mine) and began to mingle with Amy and Stacy.
It was nice to talk with them while not being such an emotional train wreck that
they were used to seeing when they came by the house. We were all talking so much that
by time I was ready to leave, I noticed I was the last person still there. Amy and Stacy
brought me out to the healing garden before my take off so I could see Brecken’s name on the pavement.
So simply done, but still a great thing to see his name. He’s a special little guy who got a whole
walking path all to himself out there.
Pictures of his name on the walking path.