After some deliberation, Brian and I have decided to return to the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. Last month, we received an invitation to attend a memorial at the hospital to honor the infants and children they have lost. This is a time to remember her and give thanks to the medical teams who cared for Aria during our time at CHOP.
When I first received the invitation, my initial response was that we are absolutely not going. We’re on a path to healing, and going back to the place where our daughter’s life ended did not seem like a very good idea. Once Brian got home from work, I showed him the invitation and was shocked by his strong desire to attend the service.
I just didn’t get it. How could he possibly want to go back? As much as I love CHOP and our team of doctors, those walls are painted with the greatest pain I’ve ever experienced. I couldn’t see past the heartbreak and trauma we experienced in those halls.
“But that is where she lived.”
Hearing Brian explain it that way completely changed my perspective. The entire span of Aria’s life outside the womb occurred in the operating room, the Special Delivery Unit hallway, and in my hospital room. That hospital is not painted in pain, it’s hallowed ground. For a brief moment, her life filled those places.
So we’re going back in a few weeks, and I truly believe this is a good thing. We don’t get many big, public opportunities to share Aria’s life, and I’m looking forward to that. I also can’t tell you how badly I want to wrap my arms around all of the people who cared for us. I didn’t have the emotional stability to truly explain my gratitude a little over two months ago, but I do now. I can honestly say my heart and spirit would not have survived this without them.