I was watching the season finale of The Middle the other day. In the show, one of the characters is upset because she is graduating from high school and through a variety of incidents, she’s feeling like she has no legacy.  It’s got a happy ending where she recovers her lost yearbook in which all the pages are filled with messages from her classmates about how they noticed her and how she had impacted their lives. That got me thinking…..

We all have big dreams. I didn’t start on this journey with the intent to start a non-profit, and I definitely am not trying to become some grandiose organization that is known world-wide and has trillions of $ to spend – in fact, that terrifies me because when one gets too big, they lose sight of the reasons they started. When it becomes more about the business of things than the serving those very people you set out to help, things have gone totally wrong. I don’t know where that balance is, and we’re not near the point where I have to worry about it just yet, but it’s there looming in the back of my mind.

Then I start to think about the legacy of Tangerine Owl Project. What is it that I am going to leave behind with this organization? Sometimes its hard to seem like the “downer” because I make it a point to discuss things that aren’t bright and cheery. I am an advocate for lots of things associated with pregnancy that bring up how things can and do go terribly wrong.  I wonder if people look at me and all they think is oh, there’s the woman who lost her baby.  People have told me I’m inspiring and it’s really hard to take that compliment, not because its wrong, but because sharing my story is sharing Delilah’s story, and people should know how inspiring to ME she is. BUT she is not more deserving of recognition than that any other life lost too soon, any other parents fighting their way through life without their children. So many of us share in sadness, and many are creating their own legacy in their own way. So what is it I want from the Tangerine Owl Project?

I want to show my children that being there for people in times of uncertainty, despair, and all hell breaking loose is just as important as being there for their brighter counterparts.

I want to break barriers to discussion of “taboo” topics on a larger scale. I want people OUTSIDE of those experiencing it to allow those subjects in, even though it may be uncomfortable.

I want women who are watching their lives fall apart around them to feel empowered and ABLE enough to get the help they need, not stifle their rawness and their reality because of idiotic words from people who simply aim to dismiss them.  I want these women and the ones who love them to understand they’re not “being emotional” or “just depressed” with the situations at hand, like its something they can just snap out of.

I want honest compassion to be the norm instead of the exception when dealing with NICU or bereaved parents, across the board, from every care provider out there.

I want to provide a moment of true peace within chaos for these families, and I want them to feel supported instead of isolated.

I want a lot of things.

Most importantly I want to build a community of others who will promote and encourage all the above, because you’ve got to start somewhere if you’re going to make your mark on the world.

Just one reason…

Friends we are so excited to share another milestone!

Last week, we received our first referral from a local hospital. The crisis counselor had been working with a family who was transported there during a medical emergency and had delivered the baby at 29 weeks gestation. Sadly, the baby did not survive, and the family had indicated that they wished they could do a private burial for their daughter.  This family did not have the financial means to do this, so she reached out to us to see if this is something that is within the scope of the Tangerine Owl Project.

We were so grateful for the referral, and after looking into the specifics more, we were honored to be able to fund the entire burial for this family.  Our hearts ache for this family, and all others who have had to endure such trauma and such heartbreaking loss. This may sound morbid, or trite, but let us share why this is such a thing for us to be proud of….As a parent, you want to make sure your child is taken care of and watched over, protected like any parent would do, even in death. Other families have had to endure this same thing and because they could not afford burial costs, their child was left to the county to dispose of. While many hospitals do as much as possible to respect and honor these families, it remains that their wishes for their child’s burial can not always be provided, and some don’t even know where their child has ended up.

So the reason we are so honored to have had the opportunity to do this, even when “it’s only money”, is that it’s not only money. It goes FAR beyond that. It is just a very tiny step that will help in the grief. Instead of wondering about her daughter’s whereabouts, this mother and her family can now go visit her in the angel garden, in their hometown, whenever they would like to. It’s one small move towards restoring balance to the new world order for them. Her mother can finally feel the slightest bit of comfort (however fleeting in grief) knowing that her daughter is at rest in the way they’d wished for. THIS, is one of the reasons that the Tangerine Owl Project was created – to help families find their way towards restoring their own balance.