On Monday I received news when I arrived to work that a friend from college, who is now one of my co-workers, had lost her baby. Her precious son lived for three days and filled their hearts and their families' hearts with joy in those short moments. My heart is aching for them right now.

I experienced something today that I will never forget, yet am hesitant to share because I have a sister-in-law who is pregnant, friends who are expecting as well and friends who have recently had a child. So a warning ahead of time if you need to stop reading right now. I chose to share the story of today because without ever meeting him, he has touched me.

The mother called me yesterday and I spoke with her for awhile. We had talked several times about me taking photos of their new family once the baby arrived. I had all kinds of ideas for their cute photos. The phone call yesterday was to ask me to take photographs today of their son. They had only been able to get photos with him hooked up to all of the tubes, and not in a peaceful state. She wanted to have me take some photos so they could remember the way he looked, without the medical devices hooked up to him.
I could hear her crying on the other end. She told me I could say no because she knew as a mother it would be a hard thing to do. I told her that if this somehow brought comfort to her and her husband that I would be more than willing to do that for her.

After I hung up the phone I talked to Pat and was sobbing. How could I ever photograph a child who has passed on? It seems weird, but there are photographers who volunteer their time all over the country to do this for families in similar situations. Normally they come to the hospital in the final moments or just there after but sometimes the family isn't told of them till later. The organization is called
Now I Lay Me Down To Sleep. You can see them featured on the Today Show here. I highly recommend watching this, but if you are pregnant I would maybe wait to watch it.

After talking to Pat and encouragement from some others I realized this had nothing to do with me. That God had just set in front of me a way to use my gift to comfort someone in deep, unexplainable pain. I woke up this morning and felt confident that I was supposed to do this for them. I met them at the church and joined them and their family after they had some moments with him alone. I hugged the mother and as she whispered into my ear how much she was thankful that I was doing this. I told her we were praying for them and that I couldn't find words that would comfort her. She spoke of how the pain was so sharp and how their lives would never be the same. She stood with a soft, silky stuffed animal in her hand, clutching to the idea of her little boy doing just that. She then told me that she knew God would get them through this and that it would get better and the pain wouldn't be has harsh, but that it would take time.

She then showed me over to this tiny casket where her son lay. I somehow kept it together and talked to her about what little features she wanted me to take a photos of. As her family sat in the pews, the paster off to the side and the mother and father behind me, I captured the small beautiful features of this child who had just touched all of these lives in only three days.

It is slightly a blur as to what my mind was thinking as I did this. I was concentrating so hard and double checking each photo to make sure exposure, focus, etc. were just right. They will have only these photos to help them grieve and know that this child did bless them, even if for just a short period of time.

After taking the photos I hung around for a bit with some of my coworkers. After talking to the mother again she kept telling me that I needed to go get something to eat. This is what a sweet person she is, in such a painful state she was worrying about others. I did leave, more to get fresh air than anything, and sat in a chair with a lunch all by myself, just numb of what to think.

It makes me angry that a young life can come and go like that. That we work at a hospital that has story after story of tiny successes and yet their child couldn't be one of those success stories. Not because the doctors didn't fight hard enough or the nurses weren't there for every need but because God called him to leave after just that short time.

I returned and read through some stories they had written to let everyone know some of the funny traits their son had in just the few days he was here. I looked through a scrapbook that was made to include all the photos of their precious boy with pages in the front filled with nursery photos, showers, and then followed by pages that had been designed to have photos placed in them as their child grew but no photos will fill those pages. The service was beautiful and the paster could barely make it through his words, pausing several times to keep his composure.

I spent tonight laughing with Zane on the bed as we read a book called Just in Case You Ever Wonder. As Zane totally didn't pay attention to me and instead played with Truman sorrow filled me completely. I ache for them and for how that feeling in her throat, that tighting with pain, probably won't go away for a very long time. I attempted to rock Zane to sleep a bit and he just kept reaching for his bed wanting to go to sleep. The poor kid had no clue why Mommy was clutching onto him with tears coming down her face. After I got him to give me sloppy, wet kisses I laid him down, shut the door, and paused.

It's not fair and it doesn't make sense. It angers me that such a young life can come and go so quickly. But somehow his parents, family and the lives he has touched without so many of us having ever known him, somehow he has challenged us to look at our lives in a different way.

Please pray for this family as their pain is so real and raw.

If you feel compelled please make a donation to
Now I Lay Me Down To Sleep to help other families have the comfort of the memory that their child was here and did bless them.