Today I want to introduce you to my precious friend, Liz.
Five years ago, I had a backstage pass to document the day Liz and Trey became husband and wife.
One month ago, I drove through tears to document their last moments with their precious 9 month old son, Walt.
How could two of the kindest, most gracious people in the UNIVERSE say goodbye to their boy?
Some questions have no answers. Much of life exclaims this. But when it doesn’t have answers – it may have beauty. In this case it absolutely did: I got to watch Liz and Trey with Walt.
For 6 months, these three had invaded the hospital with hope, laughter, joy and tenacity. Walt faced multiple heart surgeries…like a BOSS. He faced more challenges than we could begin to understand and all before 10 months of age. And Liz and Trey made home in the most unlikely of places because love pulls up a chair and makes a home there. Walt charmed the entire nurse and doctor staff and melted hearts while his little heart struggled to work.
Liz and Trey? They gave him every last thing they could. Every smile. Every tear. Every bath time song. Every loving diaper change amidst cords that reminded them that they couldn’t hold their sweet man like they should, nor could they spend their nights rocking in the exquisite room Liz had so beautifully decorated. They gave up what should be to see the beauty of what was – a precious son who was teaching the world to love through his broken heart and sacred extra chromosome.
A few days after Walt passed, Liz shared this post and it shredded me to the core. My eyes let loose like a waterfall. As we gather this month and we remember our precious friends who have said goodbye to precious babies – both born and miscarried – and as we also lean into the miracle of our friends who celebrate life with Down syndrome and oftentimes teach us how to love, I wanted you to hear from her.
Twelve hours ago I didn’t even know if I could stand up and here I am. Done with the day. It wasn’t perfect, but Trey and I survived. We conquered the day and the fears that go along with new normals. I got the one question I have been fearing since the thought of Walt leaving us in the flesh was a reality. I was asked by a lady if I had a baby.
I welled up and said “my son just passed away a few weeks ago and I really do not want to talk about it.” But then a little voice inside my heart said “tell her all about Walt. Tell her how hard he fought. Tell her how much you love him. Tell her he is your guardian angel.”
And so I did. I told her how we got to take Walt home and be a family. I told her Walt had to have heart surgery and there was no other option. I told her my son fought a hard battle and that he was strong and he was patient and he was persistent. I told her we did everything for him, but that eventually everything was not enough to make him whole again. I told her I love him with all my heart and I will forever have him with me as my angel above. And I did it. I conquered one of my new normal fears.
Before I left, I looked my new friend in her eyes and with conviction told her, “Thank You for asking me about my son. Thank you for making me talk about My Walt.” And you know what she said to me, “You did it and you did very good.”
I am going to let God mold me like a potter to clay. I feel Walty cheering me on just like I cheered him on everyday of his life. So thank you to every friend, family and stranger (who has become a friend) for sharing Walt’s story and encouraging us to continue to do so. Y’all are a part of our journey. We are forever thankful for your support and for your love and for your encouragement. Your kind words, lovely flowers, meals, hugs and happies gives us comfort and motivate us to ask #WhatWouldWaltDo? And just like a sunset reflects its beauty on the water, I want to be the reflection of my #WaltTheWarrior on the world.
Today as we hold this precious family in our hearts – we open our hearts to so many of you precious readers who have walked through this ache and loss personally or with a friend. Today we hold space for you and we remember your precious ones. We invite you to tell us about YOUR precious one. It is a sacred gift and we treasure it as such.