Celebration of Life

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.




3 thoughts on “Celebration of Life

  1. I would have went with you if you ever need someone by your side please remember I’m not far away, and I’ll be there!

    • It totally didn’t even occur to me to ask anyone else. I’ll keep you in mind for future things, should they come up. I’m glad to have someone like you not too far away =)

  2. If I had enough notice, I would have tried my best to come and celebrate Brecken. Don’t ever think you are alone. Please let me know of any future events.

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