“We must find time to stop and thank the people
who make a difference in our lives.”
-John F. Kennedy
I’m still attempting to process what we experienced while Eisley was in the hospital. My husband and I realized early on that we couldn’t handle this monumental burden on our own. Asking for help was not something we were comfortable with; it certainly wasn’t our first inclination. We did occasionally call for help, but more often than not, we didn’t even have to ask—so many people volunteered to help us and provide for our needs. We felt incredibly supported by family, friends, and even strangers. For that, we will always be grateful and unable to fully articulate our deepest thanks.
The actions demonstrated by others have caused me to reflect on gratitude. Robert Emmons in his Greater Good essay, “Why Gratitude is Good,” writes this about gratitude, “… it’s an affirmation of goodness. We affirm that there are good things in this world, gifts and benefits we’ve received.” He describes the importance of this “relationship-strengthening emotion” as it “requires us to see how we’ve been supported and affirmed by other people.”
I’d like to share some examples of the many ways that people supported us during this difficult time. I hope that you will see the goodness in other people and your faith in humanity may be restored as mine was.
- Eisley required a lot of blood transfusions—so many that I lost count. My sister relayed to our Facebook group the suggestion that people donate blood. It wasn’t long before we had more than 40 people contact us to be added to the donation list.
- When doctors began allowing Eisley to resume feeds, they told me she wasn’t a candidate for donor breast milk because of her age. However, some of the awesome staff on the PCICU floor went to bat for our girl and allowed her to have breast milk for two weeks. Near the end of the two-week period, I mentioned on our Facebook group that we were running out of donor breast milk. Within six hours I had eight people volunteer to bring more.
- To maintain some sense of normalcy in the midst of all of the chaos, I decided it was essential to eat at least one meal a day with my husband and daughter. My sister spread the word, and we ultimately had more than 70 meals delivered to either the hospital or our home. Sitting down as a family to a warm meal—that we didn’t have to worry about cooking—was a huge blessing to us. Not to mention the fact that the meals were absolutely delicious! Many sent gift cards for restaurants, which was also a tremendous help since grocery shopping was the last thing we wanted to think about or had time to do.
- In addition to worrying about Eisley, I missed my 5-year-old. A sweet friend invited anyone who was interested to send a care package to our big girl to let her know people were thinking of her, too, during this time. The outpouring of love symbolized by these packages brought me to tears—and made our 5-year-old deliriously happy!
- On one of Eisley’s sickest days, a friend from Facebook shared with me that 240 children at her school were praying for Eisley. They have continued to do so.
- Shortly before Eisley passed away, a kind friend communicated a prayer request to his band. That night, 20,000 people joined together in prayer at a David Crowder concert to lift up our baby girl.
- Shortly after Eisley’s passing, we began to receive anonymous pieces of art at our house. I finally discovered that someone had informed a “Free Art Movement” group of our loss. The group dropped off pieces of art that were reflections of Eisley, bringing us beauty during our time of grief.
- The number of cards, notes, texts, messages on Facebook, and prayers sent on our behalf are more than I can quantify. Each message and note touched my heart deeply. What a gift to know that we were held so close by so many.
- A kind friend set up an account that let people make monetary donations to help offset Eisley’s medical expenses. To this day, the generosity extended to us by so many people renders me speechless. We are humbled and grateful that you would give so freely to help in our time of need.
You extended light to us in so many ways during our darkest hours. You brought hope when it seemed hopeless. You held us at times when I didn’t think we could hold on any longer. You loved on us when we were weary, broken, and worn. You encouraged us to find ways to help others, just as this help was so graciously extended to us.
Grace and peace to you today.
“Go out into the world today and love the people you meet.
Let your presence light new light in the hearts of others.”