Our Story and Forever Footprints
For those who know me, you are well aware that in 2016 devastation hit my family. My youngest daughter Amber gave birth to a beautiful baby boy who we watched pass away in our arms within two days due to a massive stroke. Complications during delivery, a ruptured placenta and an emergency C-Section left my daughter in critical condition and the little man below on a rapid decline due to a stroke on the back of the brain. This was the hardest thing our family has ever had to go through. My daughter and her husband found additional support from the organization Forever Footprints http://www.foreverfootprints.org/ and slowly started their recovery not only from Amber’s own near death experience but also from their broken hearts.
Walk to Remember Event
Each year in October we participate in the Forever Footprints – Walk to Remember event at Cal State San Bernardino. Many may think what a sad event but actually it is quite the opposite. This event gives family and friends the opportunity to come together and walk those steps that the babies will never take. Each family is encouraged to make posters that are then displayed along the walk and most families create shirts honoring their baby.
One of this Year’s Speakers
This is the first year since I have attended that a father spoke about his family and their loss. He explained why this group of people and Forever Footprints is such a strong support; simply put, they get it. People who have gone through a loss like this don’t make comments like; “You are still young, you can try again”, “Well you have other kids”, or “It just wasn’t meant to be”. Instead they listen to your story, provide support and a way to slowly rebuild your life with resources to help along the way. Forever Footprints truly is an amazing organization.
Baby Memorial Wall
The camaraderie of people is empowering and the love and support felt at the event is overwhelming. The event normally starts with a few speakers who have lost a baby of their own and then is followed by a presentation of a single white rose to every parent there walking for their child. Each babies name is placed on a memorial wall and their name called out as the rose is presented.
The Memory Rope
The Memory Rope represents how this community of families is intertwined together. Babies names are displayed on the rope and parents are encouraged to write messages on the back to their child. This rope is then carried by volunteers through the course taking the steps the babies never got to take.
Taking the Steps
The course around Cal State San Bernardino which is the walk we participate in, is less than 3 miles. There is also an option to take an even shorter walk which is about 1 mile and you can walk as fast or slow as you like. Strollers and wheelchairs have access throughout the course however dogs and skateboards are not allowed! Sorry Smoky and Romy, we would take you if we could! This walk takes place in rain or shine. I don’t know what it is but every year, it can be in the 60’s leading up to the event and then Whammo! The temperature soars into the 90’s every year!
Shane’s an Advocate!
This kid has been in more walks for causes before age two then any child I know. He has participated in two Walk to Remember events, Walk a Mile in Her Shoes (bringing awareness to domestic violence), American Heart Association Walks and I am sure a few others I have forgotten to mention. We believe it is important to teach children at an early age that they can make a difference by getting involved. It is also a great way for the family to come together and get some exercise! This year Shane kept us on our toes as he would take off after all the other little kids and he wanted to give them all hugs. Love this lil’ man!
After the Walk
In the past years we have brought chairs and ice chests of food and drinks to have a picnic. Cal State San Bernardino has huge shade trees that are a great place to come together after the walk and enjoy time with family and friends. It is almost like a family reunion. We exchange stories of the past year and enjoy the closeness and support of each other. This picture is of Amber and Danny with part of our group in the background at the 2016 walk.
This year however we decided to meet after at Danny and Amber’s house to enjoy a BBQ and then relax indoors in the air conditioning! With it being 95 degrees, we all welcomed the change in scenery and those that could not come to the walk, met up with us later for the BBQ. It was another great year honoring our little man Kai! Thank you to everyone who came out this year and in past years to show your support. We love you all!
Great Resources for Families
There are so many wonderful resources available not only for parents but grandparents, family and friends. Here are two that we used:
Molly Bears https://www.mollybears.org/ This organization creates stuffed bears that replicate the weight of your little angel. The organization was started in 2010 after the loss of their own daughter, Molly. Bears can weigh as little as one-half ounce or as much as 14 lbs. They have great resources as well on their site. Here is a picture of our Molly Bear that we call Kai Bear.
Forever Footprints http://www.foreverfootprints.org/ Provides resources, support groups, recommended reading and education to families, medical professionals and so much more!
I know there are several other out there so if you know of any that you have used, please feel free to comment and we will add the link to the page!