Welcome Abby! Thank you for all that you do.
A Legacy for Davis
The weekend between the awful ultrasound when we found out our son had died and the day he was born, my much older cousin came to visit me. At a loss for words, he reached into our family history and told me our great aunt had given birth to a stillborn. This brought me a moment of comfort. It was quickly shattered when he said, “What was that baby’s name, again?” Right then, without knowing how, I vowed that I would never let anyone forget my baby’s name. Davis Arnold Lackey, our third child was born an angel on June 21, 2011.
We chose to forgo a large funeral and instead had a simple cremation. When I realized how expensive it was for just that, I knew then that there were mothers in our community who could never afford it. I was horrified at the thought of a bereaved mother not being able to care for her baby’s body in the way that felt right to her. Out of this, with the $500 we had in our savings account, my husband and I started a fund with the West Tennessee Healthcare Foundation called Heaven’s Cradle in memory of Davis to provide assistance and comfort to bereaved parents. We later expanded the mission statement to include grief training for local healthcare providers. We held our first fundraiser, The Twilight Run 5K and Rooftop Rendezvous Dinner Party, hoping to raise $3,000-$5,000. The event brought in $18,000, but more importantly, it brought together dozens of baby loss families from across West Tennessee and brought a great deal of awareness to stillbirth and infant loss.
Since that event, the momentum has only continued. We have, in just over a year and a half, built a bereavement room in the postpartum unit of our hospital so that grieving families have a private, comfortable place to spend time with their baby. We have constructed a private waiting room in labor and delivery as well. We have recruited and financially supported Now I Lay Me Down To Sleep photographers, and trained our nursing staff on NILMDTS services. We have created an online support group, the Heaven’s Cradle Sisterhood, and facilitate a mother-to-mother mentor program. In addition, we connect grieving parents with clinical psychologists and counselors who have agreed to partner with us in caring for them. We worked with our local media to run a front page special on grieving mothers for Mothers’ Day to raise awareness. We provide every bereaved mother with clay molds of her baby’s hands and feet, blankets, gowns and a memory box. We are in the process of working with our local hospital to host a conference entitled “When Our Children Die” for healthcare providers, first responders, school officials and others.
What began as a way for us to memorialize our son had become much more. It has brought us healing and it has provided others with comfort. We now have other bereaved parents who are planning fundraisers for Heaven’s Cradle in memory of their children. What an honor it is for us to become part of their journey! It is humbling, exciting, and brings us great peace to see what a beautiful legacy our Davis has left.
Abby Lackey is a wife, mother of four, and communication professor who holds two sons and one daughter in her arms and one sweet son in her heart. You can find more out about Abby and all the great work she does at www.heavenscradle.org.