At our tournament this year we will have a baby remembrance of babies that our foundation has helped, or that we have met along our journey of establishing and running the foundation. We believe it is important to share their stories and say their names.
We are remembering Mercy today. I met Mercy when I met her mommy, Allison, while researching child loss resources in the Denton County area. Allison and her family established Team Mercy in memory of Mercy, in which they help to assist grieving child loss families, specifically the siblings, through one of life’s most difficult tragedies, by providing funding for an existing activity for those siblings through Mercy’s Gift. This is Mercy’s Story….
Mercy Elizabeth Whitfield
September 8, 2011 – September 21, 2011
“At 16 weeks I was sent to the Maternal Fetal Medicine Doctor to have everything checked out… This ultrasound started out as all the others, and then took a turn. We were whisked down the hall to the Pediatric Cardiologist and given another ultrasound. After what seemed like an eternity of silence on the part of the technician and doctor, probably 25 minutes, a doctor came in with a chart of the heart and explained the heart defect our daughter has and how she was planning on fixing it after her birth. Then back to the maternal fetal doc. He says he would like to see us again, and was encourage an amniocentesis to rule out genetic disorders such as trisomy 13, 18, and 21. The results came back with trisomy 13. We are told the survival rate to term and after are more than poor. We are given three options to terminate, induce labor or carry as far to term as possible and deliver. We chose option 3. Mercy was successfully carried to term, and born via c-section September 8, 2011. She lived for 13 days. Like many parents given a fatal diagnosis I became fixated on what I could do. I could not change her DNA but I could decide how I would value her life. We planned for Mercy but we also planned for our other children. We chose to carry the pregnancy like it was any other and to find joy in each opportunity, #MercyEverywhere.
I miss having Mercy here. I miss the time at the kitchen table with all 4 kids. I miss discovering if she and her sister would be more alike or more different. I miss her presence. I allow myself to be sad. I move forward by embracing the sad and celebrating the good. We strive to acknowledge our children’s grief for their sister in each age and stage of their lives. We also want them to feel equally valued, loved, and cared for.
Emotionally, each of us is different and each of us process grief in our individual ways. There is not one way to define how our grief can be seen, physically or emotionally. But it is there. We acknowledge it, embrace it, and move forward with it.
We were gifted the advice and financial ability to keep our other children’s lives as normal as possible while they learned their new normal of life with and then without a sibling. That normalcy was of the greatest value. We hope and desire that for all children who experience the death of a sibling. In our journey and through the experiences of our children, we formed Team Mercy. Team Mercy provides Grief Packets for families as well as funding healthy grieving activities for the children while learning their new “normal” through Mercy’s Gift.
I am thankful for the presence of the Rhett Sullivan Foundation.”