I’ve said before that in the days and weeks immediately after we lost Leo, I didn’t want to drown myself in tears. I HAD to transform the pain into something useful, something that would make Leo proud. Something that would keep his memory alive.
I couldn’t cope with the idea that nothing good could come from his short and tragic life - there HAD to be a positive.
In the immediate aftermath of losing him, I thought about what we’d been through and undoubtedly one of the scariest moments was being told that we’d need to be evacuated to Miami to seek medical care that wasn’t available in Cayman. For starters, just the mere fact that the situation was so bad that it could not longer be handled by the incredible facilities we have on island, was a difficult truth to bear. Then facing the reality and trying to organise ourselves to leave the country in a matter of hours, while our baby lay in intensive care…it was a lot to deal with!
Once we’d been accepted at the hospital in Miami, Rich and our friends buzzed into action sorting out insurance referrals, getting a passport for Leo, booking flights and finally taking us home to pack. Our friend Janelle was on hand to talk us through what would happen when the plane and the evacuation team arrived, and what we should pack. It was information we would have been lost, and even more terrified, without.
Information I knew I had to share.
So one of the things I knew I wanted to do in Leo’s memory was make sure that other families moving abroad for emergency care, felt at least 1% less scared and confused than we did on that day. So I set about putting together evacuation packs for parents of babies and infants who have to go the US for treatment. And today we delivered the first batch to the hospital!
Each box contains:
A letter from Rich and I
A packing list
A note pad and pen (for writing down questions for doctors as well as test results and medications)
Some basic toiletries
Granola bars and snacks
Uber eats vouchers (for yummy food delivery to the hospital!)
A reusable water bottle
An extension cable (essential for charging devices in a hospital room)
A tote bag
Britcay, our insurance providers who were amazing at making sure that our evacuation and medical care in the US were fully covered so didn’t have to worry about the financial burden of Leo’s condition, kindly agreed to sponsor the packs and provide most of the items in the box, which is incredible.
I really hope the boxes help families who have to go through the angst of leaving everything that’s familiar behind to save their child’s life. Nicola Gaskin in her fabulous book about baby loss says that “you have to take your emotions and turn them into something good - use them to motivate you to do something that will save other families from a similar fate. Then you can climb into bed at night say “look what you’re doing little one, you’re making a difference.”
Delivering the boxes to the hospital today was absolutely incredible - it was so nice seeing the fantastic staff who delivered and looked after Leo, it felt like we were catching up with family and it’s such an honor to being giving something back in Leo’s memory.
Leo’s life was short. But it’s making a difference.