This week we are featuring Whitney Thomas! She is a friend that is so dear to our hearts. Her insights into loosing a child have strengthened us and we are so excited to share them you. ♥️
•Whitney & Reese:
My name is Whitney Thomas or Whit. I am the mom of three with another on the way. Our house is ruled by boys. Reese is our second child and only girl. At 24 weeks in our pregnancy we found out that Reese would be born with half a heart (Hypoplastic Left Heart Syndrome, or HLHS). At three days old Reese had open heart bypass surgery. Can you imagine operating on something the size of a walnut?! It was a nine hour operation and she did beautifully. She was able to come home a few weeks later and make us a family of four for a whole week before being readmitted to the hospital. Another hospital stay and a few days form coming home again we got a call in the middle of the night, code blue. She had gone into cardiac arrest. Reese was put on life support. Unfortunately she had too much trauma to recover from. We had to make the call to take her off of life support. Our little girl had lived a miraculous five weeks.
•What helped Whitney the most after her lost:
After losing Reese the thing that kept me going every day was our son Cruz. I didn’t have a choice to stay in bed and wallow. Although I sure wanted to. I also found going to her “special spot” comforting. We would go every Sunday to visit her gravesite. Another thing that has really helped was faith in God and Jesus Christ and the belief and knowledge that there is life after death. That I will get to see Reese again. If I didn’t believe this or have faith in it, it would make it all so much harder for me. In the three years since Reese passed I’ve also tried to stay in the light. To remember all the good we had with her and will have. To remember that she wants me, us, to be happy. However, I do allow myself to go into that deep despair from time to time. I know my husband is there to help me out of it and know that it’s healthy to feel that disparity. I love to share about Reese. I feel like sharing her is remembering her and letting her to continue to live.
•What has helped Whitney to remember Reese:
It’s so easy to find all the reminders of ways Reese isn’t physically here with us, but it’s important to find the reminders and ways that she is here. A wise friend told me after Reese passed that I would find certain things that would make me feel her. I look forward to soft snowflakes falling on my face every year. It’s little kisses from Reese. I also look forward to the butterflies of summer. I swear that every year there is one that hangs around with us everywhere we go. We’ve also put together care packages for other heart warriors and their families the past several years. We include all of our favorite things in the bags.
• Advice Whitney wants to give to others that lose someone:
To those of you who have lost a loved one or might some day know there is no right or wrong way to grieve. Allow your self grace throughout the process. It never gets easier, you just learn how to show and handle your grief better with time. You will always feel like someone whose lost a leg or an arm. The body part isn’t physically there but the sensation will always remain. You will learn to adapt your life around that missing part. Lastly know you are so loved.