Today was a special day. Today, in the company of the nursing staff and members of the Labor & Delivery Department from Allegheny Health Networks Forbes Hospital, we planted a tree outside the entrance to the hospital, in memory of Toby and all the infants in our community who have died.
On August 24, 2016, we stood inside the walls of the Emergency Department of Forbes Hospital feeling completely broken. Our perfect world as we knew it had been broken the moment that Toby took his last breath that afternoon.
We never could have imagined how our lives would change when we got up for work that morning.
We never could have imagined that we would enter our home that evening without one of our sons.
We never could of imagined that Toby would only live with us on Earth for 12 weeks and five days.
We also could have never imagined that our little boy would change our lives through his work from Heaven.
Toby placed people in our path that have helped us grow his Foundation into a place that can educate families on Safe Sleep, provide parents peace of mind through donations of Smart Sock Monitors, and connected us with parents who are also walking this journey of grief because of the death of their son or daughter.
We continue to place our faith at the feet of Toby’s angels and pray every day that by talking about our family’s story and Toby’s life, we make a difference in other family’s lives and make others more aware of the importance of Safe Sleep and that SIDS still happens and can happen to anyone.
We also continue to work to be a voice for every infant that has died. We say their names and talk about their families, because every life matters. No matter how long they lived, their life made a difference in the world and their memory will live on through their moms, dads, brothers, sisters, grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, extended family and dear friends.
This tree that was planted today is taking root on the campus of a Pittsburgh Hospital where thousands of people will pass by annually.
Families will come to welcome a new baby.
Parents will go to doctors appointments during a pregnancy.
Children will come to see their grandparents after a surgery.
And one thing is certain, all of these visitors will have a connection to a family who has lost a child. A miscarriage, a stillbirth, an infant death. There are so many families living with children that you cannot see. They have already gone to Heaven and their parents carry that pain each day.
This tree was planted in memory of every infant in our community who has died. We hope that it will become a place where parents can stop and enjoy happy memories of your babies, as we will do in memory of Toby.
We are proud to be able to plant this tree in honor of the Nursery of Hope Project during October’s SIDS Awareness month.
In the month of November, we will host a dedication ceremony at the tree on Forbes campus and place a plaque in memory of Toby and all the babies who have died. We will announce this date at the beginning of November and invite any family who has experienced the death of a child to join us in this dedication and remembrance of your baby.
Thank you for helping us honor these babies in October and for continuing to say their names.
Thank you to Dr. Mark Rubino and the entire staff at Forbes Hospital for your support, encouragement, and honoring Toby and all the infants who have died.
For every parent who has lost a child, we stand beside you in honoring their memory and carrying this grief, daily. You are continually in our hearts.
Toby, we love you and continue to be amazed at your guidance from Heaven and the impact you are making. Continue to hold our hearts as we work to have your memory live on and impact families in Pittsburgh and beyond.