The first anniversary of a child’s death brings with it myriad emotions. For many families, it is an opportunity to honor and remember their child’s life -- to ensure that their unique light in the world is not forgotten. This is perhaps especially true for one family in Santa Clara County who lost their precious daughter at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic last March.
At just twelve, SN was a bright, talented pre-teen who despite a cancer diagnosis at age four and difficult relapse at age ten, shared creativity and generosity of heart with everything, and everyone, she knew. She was a talented artist, enjoyed playing the piano and excelled at sports, especially basketball. In early 2020 when it became clear that she was in decline, her parents brought their beautiful daughter home under the close watch of Coastal Kids Home Care’s compassionate team of nurses, social workers and therapists.
During those last precious weeks, her parents formed a lasting connection to their daughter’s caregivers. “Coastal Kids is the only pediatric organization in the Bay Area that offers these services and the medical expertise they bring, along with the counseling services, are exceptional. ” says SN’s mother. “The team helped us navigate through the unimaginable situations no parent should ever have to face and they took care of everything while we were focused on spending time with our beautiful girl.” To read her full story click here.
Not long after her death, her family sought ways to honor her memory. In June 2020, SN’s family rallied friends and colleagues to collect diapers, wipes and other essential items for other families caring for medically fragile children who were isolated at home during the pandemic and affected by the fires. Later, in September, SN’s artwork was highlighted in a campaign to raise more than $500 for Children’s Cancer Awareness month. Her words, “Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle,” echo the experience and the wisdom of so many children coping with illness and disability. To purchase an item click here.
Again, in November to honor her birthday, some of SN’s classmates reached out to find ways to remember their friend and support other children going through similar experiences. With the help of Ruth Shapiro, Coastal Kids Director of Palliative Care and Bereavement, they designed greeting cards with beautiful messages based on her art. Today, these cards are delivered weekly to other pediatric patients in need of some joy and inspiration.
This March, at the one year anniversary of SN’s passing, her family is still finding ways to help Coastal Kids Home Care. Through a network of family and friends who loved SN, they are collecting Amazon and Costco gift cards, as well as baby diapers, baby wipes, bath soap, laundry detergent and dish washer soap. These acts of generosity mean so much to both those who are giving and the Coastal Kids families who benefit.
SN’s family continues to utilize bereavement counseling through Coastal Kids Home Care. One special gift of this lasting relationship is the opportunity to remember SN’s special light and share it’s glow with other hurting children and our whole community of followers. This week we ask that you please take a moment to remember her too.