Everyone's story of loss is different. The beginning and middle of the story will vary, but the end will always be the same. We have suffered a loss. Though the journey may be long or short, it will always be heart breaking. Relationships are put to the test in a journey like this.
During Corbin's 81 day stay in the hospital I would have to say relationships were made stronger. I honestly don't have a story of someone who acted horrible or treated us badly. Support was given at all angles and there were many friends that really stepped up and showed their true, beautiful colors.
The Hubby works with a man whose daughter has cardiomyopathy and who understood our journey better then any other immediate family and friends. The Little family really went the extra mile to show their support.
While I was staying at the Ronald McDonald house the Little family gathered together supplies they knew we would need and probable forgot to bring with us. Which they were right! During the hustle and emotional shock of hearing our son would have to be transported to Morgantown, we weren't thinking of bringing deodorant or shampoo. So one day, Mrs. Little showed up at the McDonald house bearing a bag full of supplies and a big hug. We were so touched that they had taken the time to bring us supplies but their kindness didn't stop there. A couple weeks later, they made the four hour drive, with two kids, to come visit and take us out to dinner. We will never forget their kindness in our time of need. They have been a big support to me and my husband by lending a shoulder to cry on or to give advice on doctors and nurses. They are truly great friends.
Not only were relationships with friends made stronger, but with coworkers as well. Hubby's workplace stepped up and showed that they cared about him more as a father then an employee. They were very lenient if he had to call in for an emergency or if he needed to work more hours; they did their best to help him out. His workplace was so supportive by setting out donation jars around the building, having a hot dog sale to help raise money, and they also participated in Corbin's balloon release the day of his burial. They took the time to ask about updates when I or he would call. They sent a package of food so we wouldn't have to buy groceries, they sent cards, they called to check in. They really went the extra mile to show they cared.
Then the support from the online community! Wow is all I can say. After finding out Corbin had heart defects caused by Williams Syndrome (WS) I had the support from the heart defect groups, the mothers-of-kids-in-the-hospital groups, and the WS groups. It was amazing. After I set up a Caring Bridge page to update everyone on Corbin's progress, the comments poured in. As his progress got worse, the word spread for prayers. I had friend requests on Facebook constantly. After I set up a Facebook page for Corbin, I couldn't keep up with the notifications. There were fundraisers started and many people chipped in to help. Everyone wanted to share their love, concern, and prayers. I had people from Australia, the UK, Germany, Canada, New Zealand, Malaysia, Sweden, the Netherlands, the Phillipines, and all over the US rooting for Corbin. The traffic to my blog shot through the roof. He was showered daily in thoughts and prayers from his new extended family. It was inspiring how many people cared. I will never forget the kindness we were shown through Corbin's fight. He is loved by many people all over the world.
We were not the only ones within our families to lose a child.
My parents lost a son when I was about seven or eight. His name is Elijah and he was considered a miscarriage. My parents told me that he was about 4 months along, developed but still tiny. He fit in the palm of my mother's hand and looked exactly like my younger brother. My father-in-law lost a daughter to lupus, and my mother-in-law lost her middle aged son in a car accident. Hubby's aunt lost a child, as well as my step-grandmother who lost a girl and my mother's best friend lost her daughter shortly after she was born. Some of these stories we knew, but others were a surprise to find out. You never hear these things until they happen to you. We all are a tighter family because of it.
Though we suffered a tragedy, the whole family carries the scar of child loss. It is not something just me or just my husband show, but all of us together. A grandparent lost a grandchild. A cousin lost a baby cousin. Parents lost a newborn, and a brother lost his little brother. We are all in this together and for that I am thankful. Thankful that we don't have to go on alone. Corbin will never be forgotten.