Thursday, September 18, 2014

Helping Hands

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We decided to clean out Noah's closet over the weekend.  It was a task I'd had been putting off for a long while.  Noah's closet isn't like a typical child's.  In it contains pieces of small therapy equipment, his hope chest which I've filled with so many things since his birth, adaptive switches, therapy games, speech devices, splints, orthotics, and miscellaneous handicapped accessories that I'd often like to pretend don't exist.   His clothes always pushed to the front to camouflage what all really rests in that closet.  But nudges from Chris to purge items that Noah has simply outgrown to make way for the new rather forced me into closet exploration.

Most parents have locks of hair and baby books with first memories.   And while I have those things too, my sentimental baby memories come in forms of a first arm brace, a belly band and thumb splints so small they'd fit a three month old.  I can't rid of them, stashed in a box they stay.  They held such promise for me once upon a time.  Well meaning therapists handing these things out like water with the assurance that with a little work and effort they'd fix every problem Noah would ever have.  While I've been able to part with lots of other assistive devices that Noah has outgrown there is something about the first anything that your child used that makes you cling to all those precious baby moments, even if those moments were so very different from what parents usually experience.

Then I came upon a special envelope from another mother.  It was how I stored two tiny Benik hand splints that were sent to Noah.  They belonged to a little boy named Brayden who passed away suddenly in the fall of 2012.  The loss of Brayden was and still is very hard for me to think about.  Knowing a mother's heart aches each and every single second of the day.   When Brayden's mother learned Noah was having difficulties turning his thumbs inward again and getting his hands stuck in a fisted position, she sent me Brayden's hand splints knowing that insurance likely wouldn't help me for many months, if at all.   She gave me the biggest gift.  You might think we'll they are just hand splints, but they are not - obviously if I'm still clinging to Noah's first thumb splints as a baby.  She sent me a piece of helping hands.   She selflessly sent them to me, without hesitation or pause.

Noah used them for about a year, before he outgrew them.  And in that time Noah fully learned to flex his hand open on a regular basis.  Not only did Noah learn that skill but he's learned to turn pages in books with both thumbs.  Something that is often evident with his paper cuts on both thumbs.  And every time I placed those little green braces on Noah's hands, I said a prayer to a little boy that I begged to hear me in heaven.  To look after Noah -  to look after him and bless him with love and help.  I'd like to believe Brayden heard all those pleas for help because Noah's hands have made such tremendous progress. 

Brayden's mom never knew if she'd see them again when she sent them to me, we never really discussed it.  She simply sent them to me because Noah needed help.  But it's time they find another set of hands to heal, and have that mom be able to touch a piece of a memory of her child once again.  There was no question what I was supposed to do when I held them in my hands after they came out of the closet.  It was as if a tiny voice spoke to me, and said, "I'm ready to go home."   I couldn't part with them any other way.  

Brayden's mom is the founder of  The Global Hydranencephaly Foundation. Her hopes are to start a lending library where pieces of therapy devices that assisted our children along the way with be shared with each other.  It is such a beautiful idea that so many children stand to benefit from.  After all sometimes at the end of the day when the system fails us, government services aren't there to help,  insurance declines our child's needs... another special needs parent reaching their hand out in the dark is sometimes the only place you have to turn to. 


Noah's Miracle by Stacy Warden is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License.