Recently I was contacted by Rebecca Wright, whose sister Erin Brinkerhoff had lost a baby. When Erin left the hospital after the delivery of her son Nathan, who died at nearly 19 weeks due to multicystic dysplastic kidneys, she left the hospital with a make-shift memory box. Unfortunately the hospital had run out. Upon seeing her sister’s make-shift memory box, Rebecca immediately went out to local craft stores and bought all the boxes she could find. Then she lovingly decorated them. Rebecca says, “My sister was already devastated and while she did not care what her sons belongings were in, I did.”
Erin says she found out that her sister had been making boxes when one day she went to her house and saw 50 lids lying out to dry. “I got really emotional and realized that there wasn’t anything I could do about losing Nathan, but there was something I could do,” says Erin. “Helping my sister with decorating boxes has helped me heal–I can remember him while I’m making something beautiful.” Erin said her sister enlisted the help of friends, family and church members to help decorate the 200 boxes she purchased. She has spent $400 of her own money to be sure no parent goes without a memory box. But the expenses were getting too great, and Rebecca reached out to the OC Walk to Remember for help.
When I heard that Erin went home with a make-shift memory box and that others have had to do the same, it broke my heart. Although the OC Walk to Remember donates thousands of dollars to local hospitals, it often isn’t enough to provide the Labor and Delivery and NICU units with everything they need to help parents grieving the loss of a baby. But thanks to a donation from West Coast Detox and Ecology Tire made in memory of Aiden Kenneth Bailey, the OC Walk to Remember was able to provide Erin and Rebecca with 200 more boxes. They have committed to decorating and distributing these boxes into Orange County hospitals, as well as Long Beach Memorial Hospital.
Memory boxes moms receive after the death of their baby are invaluable. I think Erin explained it best when she told me her box “holds some of the most precious items I own.”
I am so thankful to Rebbeca Wright and Erin Brinkerhoff for their efforts in making sure no mom leaves the hospital without a beautiful memory box. I am also thankful to Angie Bailey for arranging the donation to make sure the boxes were purchased.
If you would like to make a donation to help purchase memory boxes, please contact me at email@example.com.
Kristyn von Rotz, Cofounder and Executive Director