Our lives forever changed on Tuesday, February 5, 2013. That is the day, forever engrained, with the ultrasound technician saying, “I am sorry. There is no heartbeat.” My legs shake and my heart and stomach drop just thinking about it. There was a whirlwind of decisions that had to be made, quickly. I was still back at the shock of it all, “Wait, there’s no heartbeat. Are you sure?” But, we had to proceed forward. We have been very blessed with healthy pregnancies up to this point. No complications with baby or me. To this day no reason is to be found with our baby. Though, if given, it would never truly answer the “why”. With all of the unknowns, there was one thing I knew for sure in that moment. That our sweet baby was with God in Heaven. And was and is filled with and knows an incredible love that we can only imagine. Our faith was, and has been our rock. I did not know what was to come in the days ahead. I did know that the following day, I a) wanted to go to church and pray, and b) meet with our priest. That felt good to know something, at a time when nothing made sense.
Friday, February 8, 2013, at 11:50pm, our sweet Emily Anne arrived, silently. Without a cry, or a glimpse of this world as we know it. As sad and hard of a time it was, it was amazing. Seeing her body, her nostrils, arms, her fingers, were so delicate and beautiful. I just wanted to take it all in, and remember forever. I started to write and continue my pregnancy journal, writing down all of the details of her body. We spent as much time as we could, just being with her. Loving her. Crying with her. Remembering her. Always.
We buried our sweet Emily, the following Friday, February 15, 2013. This was our first funeral we had ever planned, never thinking that our first one, would be our child’s. Just as there were many decisions to be made the week before, there were many decisions to be made with our baby’s ceremony. It was and always will be, a special day, and we wanted to put our whole heart and soul into the day. What color should we wear? Not all black. Let’s do green. We are Irish. Life, rebirth. Spring is on its way. What flowers should we have? We found our wedding florist by chance, and she was able to incorporate my bridal bouquet flowers into our daughter’s funeral flowers. We had a balloon release with white balloons that Emily’s brothers, Matthew and Ryan, loved. Their smiles were priceless as they sent the balloons (their kisses) up to Heaven to their sister, Emily. And the difficult days that followed, as we had our sweet Emily laid to rest – Where do we go from here? Support groups. Ways to remember Emily. Always.
We started our non-profit, emily’s gift of hope, in memory, honor, and love of our sweet Emily. There was support for us during our difficult days. But, we also felt there could always be more. Hence, the birth of our non-profit, emily’s gift of hope. Emily is, was, and will always be a gift to us. Our hope is that Emily’s life and death will bring you hope in the darkness. We wanted hope in that moment, when we learned that she died. Hope for today. And we wanted hope in the days to come. Hope for tomorrow. We hope that we can bring you hope in your moments and days.
Our thoughts and prayers are with you.
Love and God bless,
Anne and Chris Morrison
This is an update to what we have already written above about the loss of our daughter, Emily. Sadly, we lost our baby boy, Michael, about a year later almost to the day. It has been a very hard time as we have gone down this road already. It is more bearable in that, we know what to expect ahead, and have more support and resources to help us get through these sad days. But still, very hard.
We found out that Michael had no heartbeat on Wednesday, February 6, 2014. This time around, I, Anne was not alone. I had my husband, Chris, with me, and it made such a difference in that devastating day, again. We went into that ultrasound appointment, with our baby at 14 1/2 weeks. We had already seen Michael in two ultrasounds. Everything was going great. He was growing, had a beautiful heartbeat, and there were no concerns. When my husband and I walked into that appointment, we did not get to see him move again. It was heart-breaking all over again. Again, no real reason given as to why our baby died.
A lot of what we did, and how we proceeded with Emily, we did the same with Michael. From delivering him at the hospital, to having a ceremony. He is buried right next to his sister, Emily, at a beautiful cemetery.
I was not sure what God wanted from me, from us. We lost again. How could we give others hope? But, we have still been told what a wonderful resource we have created online here for grieving couples and their families. I believe that Michael helped me create the final touches on our website. I finished this website a week before we found out that he had died. After he died, I realized that we did not have anything on subsequent losses or multiple losses. So, I believe that we have been given another task to do. To create this section in the coming days. Sadly, sometimes it does happen again. I have been inspired to do something with Michael’s life and death which will be shared in the coming year. I also changed the name of “emily’s blog” to include her brother. For they both are a part of my grieving, and the reason for having a blog on here.
We still desire to give others hope. And to share stories of others that have gone down this painful road. Our hope again is to give others hope in their darkest of days.
Love and God bless,
Anne and Chris Morrison
An update to what I felt inspired to do with Michael’s life and death. As we were planting our dogwoods in memory of Emily and Michael in our backyard last year, I thought of all of the people in this world that may not have the money to plant a tree in memory of their baby or babies. It developed into more thoughts and ideas, and eventually “Michael’s Tree Project” was born as of October 2015. Our local landscaping company, The Rock Pile, in Avon OH, has joined us in our idea and efforts to make this happen. Year-round, they will graciously discount their trees at 20% off retail price, and includes free delivery locally. If you are interested in planting a remembrance tree for your baby or babies, please contact our nonprofit, emily’s gift of hope directly at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
So appreciative of such kind and giving businesses in this world wanting to make a difference. Thank you Rock Pile.
It’s been now about four years since our first loss of Emily, and three years since our loss of Michael. Sometimes it feels like a long four or three years, and other times, it feels like yesterday. I continue to read and look at material to add to our website to help even more. I still have a desire to keep writing to tell our story, and to reach out to others that sadly have to walk on this journey. emily’s gift of hope still holds our monthly, Hope and Loss Group, meeting, and have an established group of bereaved mothers that are wonderful and supportive of one another. I plan on going to the PLIDA conference in October 2018 in St. Louis to network with others that want to help bereaved parents. And I also have some pretty cool plans in the next few years that I hope to embark on with our new Board that came into effect last year. I look forward to sharing this all with you soon.
I decided to attach an updated and recent photograph of our “earthly” family. This was taken at a family wedding. This was the picture I used for the front of our Christmas cards this past year. It was the first time that I have been able to write, Chris, Anne, Matthew, and Ryan Morrison. I used to just write, “The Morrison Family” since the death of Emily. I know that Emily and Michael know that they are in our family and with us.
I, again, hope that you find resources and support on here to help you in your difficult days. And perhaps feel some love.
Our Mission & Purpose
Established in April 2013, we are a 501(c)(3) non-profit committed to helping bereaved families cope with the loss of a baby during pregnancy or infancy. Our goal is to raise the public’s awareness of the difficulties families face when enduring this kind of loss, and to improve the support these families receive. We seek to provide financial assistance to projects, activities, and organizations that are devoted to helping those experiencing the death of a baby.
Emily’s Gift of Hope Board of Trustees meets at least twice a year, and is aware of all financial aspects of the organization. Our Board of Trustees are a part of the overall decision-making and strategic planning for the non-profit, which includes any fundraising events.