Friday, June 17, 2016

The Impact of One Life - June 8, 2016

When I started this blog, I named it The Impact of One Life because I knew that even though not many people ever 'met' Joan, her life would have an immeasurable impact on the world. It already had. 

By the time Joan died and was born she had already changed me and her Daddy in profound ways that I can't even begin to explain. And we saw how she touched everyone who shared in her life. It was magical. I don't know how else to describe it. After her passing, Joan's way of touching the world did not stop. We watched the ripples continue.

We saw it in the amazing new people that Joan 'introduced' us to, and continues to today. We saw it in her extended family, friends, and strangers alike.

Last week I was reminded yet again how extraordinary Joan's reach is. Five years since Joan's heart beat beneath mine and her ripples amaze me more each day.

On June 8, 2016, I was a guest speaker at a conference titled The Human Journey: Lessons in Neonatal Palliative Care. I shared Joan's story -- Joan's life -- and the benefits of perinatal hospice care to a room full of healthcare professionals.

By the end of my presentation the emotion in the room was palpable. Many people approached me after to say how much Joan's story touched them. Some even shared their own heartfelt stories.

Days later I received the following feedback and comments on my presentation, provided by attendees on the conference evaluation forms.

In addition to the 100% Excellent rating, many took the time to write additional comments such as:

“amazing speaker”

“great +++”

“changed the way I will interact with families facing similar situations”

“very touching presentation” 

and the list goes on and on.

I'm still floating on this most recent large wave of ripples created by my little Joan. And find it hard to wrap my head around.

My Joan. The tiny baby that professionals told us, before she was even born, would never walk, talk, or (fill in the blank)... 

In so many words, their message to us was that they believed our daughter would not be a 'productive' member of society. That her life had less value, or was not worth their or our time, because she was imperfect.

Each new life, no matter how fragile or brief, forever changes the world.

This is the impact of one little life.

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