As a parent who has experienced a loss of a baby, a member of the NILMDTS staff, and now a NILMDTS volunteer photographer, I can tell you that this organization has absolutely changed my life and the lives of my family. My name is Melisa Ramsey and I hope you will take a minute to read my story and understand how NILMDTS is changing the lives of all families that have experienced the death of a baby. I think you will come to agree that a gift to Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep can have an impact even on families that have not received photography services. I volunteered to write this letter because in 2014 my family was introduced to Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep through a simple awareness post seen by a former co-worker.
My story with Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep started when a former co-worker mentioned NILMDTS to me so that I could volunteer my time as a photographer in Florida. I wrote down NILMDTS on a small sticky note and tucked it away in my purse. That little sticky traveled all the way from Florida to Colorado when my family moved in June of 2014. I eventually looked up the organization and felt such a strong pull towards volunteering, as it took my passion for photography to a whole other level. These photographs don’t capture death; they capture the love felt by families for their babies. Watching the videos with tears streaming down my face, I could relate to the parents sharing their stories.
In 2012, our family experienced an early pregnancy loss of our Baby Eddie. As I researched further, I saw that they were headquartered in Colorado and were hiring for an Executive Assistant. I applied and was offered the position. While we did not receive photographs of Baby Eddie, NILMDTS has been instrumental in providing Healing, Hope, and Honor.
NILMDTS offers Healing
The healing I received was life changing for my family. I spent the first two months of my position coordinating the Remembrance Walk in Littleton, Colorado. I met some amazing people who also had lost a baby and now dedicate countless hours to NILMDTS. They quickly became inspirational to me as they shared their stories. I learned that it is okay to talk about my loss. NILMDTS has helped me to realize that I am part of a community –that I am not alone in my journey.
NLMDTS offers Hope
With the loss of our Baby Eddie, my husband had a different experience. The loss, combined with all he experienced trying to take care of me, and the pain was just too much. I hoped that he could express this emotion so that we could remember our Baby Eddie without all of the pain. After being at the Remembrance Walk, releasing our balloons, and being surrounded by others that have felt a similar pain, it was as though he felt the healing power of community. Knowing that he is not alone in this journey has offered Hope.
NILMDTS offers Honor
When we attended the Remembrance Walk, we had our first chance in honoring our Baby Eddie (Something that was never thought of before becoming a part of NILMDTS). We had the opportunity to honor Baby Eddie by releasing our balloons together as a family. Our children took part in Drawings from the Heart, which touched my heart the most as they drew pictures in memory of Baby Eddie. It was a personal way for them to remember that day. I will have these drawings, connecting ALL of my children together, to cherish forever. We have been given so many ways to honor Baby Eddie, and for that, I am eternally grateful.
I am honored to say that I am now volunteering as a NILMDTS volunteer photographer. What I thought was going to be my first step with Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep was actually one of my latest steps. I have been able to use my time to give back directly to our NILMDTS families in honor of my baby. I can stand beside the staff, the volunteers, and the parents and say that NILMDTS is one of the greatest gifts given to my family.
Thank you for letting me share a little piece of my story and I hope you will join my family and I at one of the Remembrance Walks or the Virtual Walk online so that you too can feel Healing, Hope and Honor when remembering your baby(ies)!