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Rhett’s Story

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 our son, Rhett Matthew Sullivan today and every day. Establishing this foundation, and running it day to day, is a constant reminder of him being gone. We’ve always talked about the importance of remembering our lost babies and saying their names…not being afraid to talk about infant loss. Rhett will always be loved and missed, but we’re proud to maintain his legacy through the work of the foundation. This is Rhett’s story….

Rhett Matthew Sullivan

July 3, 2017- September 22, 2017

“Rhett was our third child and first baby boy. Rhett was such a sweet baby.  He would love to watch and listen to his sisters, Hudson and Emory, play, sing, dance whatever they were doing he wanted to be there. He was such a healthy baby almost doubled his birth weight by 2 months and just the perfect fit for our family. On September 20th we took him to his sitter’s house and kissed him goodbye, not knowing that would be the last time we saw him as our active 2.5 month old baby boy. I got a call that morning saying Rhett had stopped breathing and he was being rushed by ambulance to the hospital. The nurses and doctors finally got his heart beating and pulse back, unfortunately it was determined he had gone 45 minutes to an 1 hour without consistent oxygen outside of the cpr efforts. Due to lasting effects of not having oxygen for so long, Rhett passed away on September 22, 2017 at 8:29 pm.

I just miss him being here and being a part our life physically.  I feel I missed out on raising Rhett, I missed out on seeing Ryan raise Rhett. I think daily of all the milestones Rhett would have reached by now, crawling, walking, talking, saying mommy….

I handle grief through any type of distraction and keeping busy.  However, there are always those triggers that come of out nowhere and then you are forced to think about the impact of losing Rhett and how our lives are different now. Even though these triggers are unwelcome at times, it is nice to also think about and let out some pent up emotions.  It is so important to give yourself the grace to grieve, as it is not only needed it is necessary. We will always love Rhett and in turn we will always grieve him.

Emotionally, it is devastating and it something you don’t fully understand until you have been faced with it.  We felt lost and didn’t know what to do.  Death is not something society wants to talk about much less talk about a baby dieing. But thankfully we found friends, family and other loss parents who would listen to us, say Rhett’s name, ask about him and ask us how we were and weren’t afraid of hearing the real answer of not doing well.    

Financially, no one is prepared or expecting to pay the costs of a funeral after just having a baby.  We were very fortunate that we had family and friends that rallied around us financially. We in turn used most of those funds to start the Rhett Sullivan Foundation.”

~Rhett’s Mommy

Charlie’s Story

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.

Today we remember Charlie, Charlie left us far too soon and is greatly missed by his family.  This is Charlie’s story….

Charles Amos Hornback – “Charlie”

12/10/12

We found out during the pregnancy that Charlie had some complications to include heart malformation and spina bifida, among others. We made the decision together to put our faith in God and to see the pregnancy through, knowing that the odds were not in Charlie’s favor. Our story is not about the “sudden” loss of a child, but a progression through a pregnancy filled with specialist after specialist, prayer after prayer, and clinging onto whatever bit of hope we could muster. In the end, we were able to hold our breathless child close to 12 hours. And for me personally, those 12 hours were the hardest hours of my life, but I would not trade them for anything. Some people only dream about Angels, I got to hold one for 12 hours.

Daily we miss simply the joy of Charlie’s presence.  Being a religious individual, I move forward with the faith that we will someday be reunited in heaven. I lost my mother at the age of 5 and I’m convinced that she is in heaven “raising” my little boy.

Emotionally the loss of Charlie has affected us profoundly.  Coping takes many different forms. A husband and wife will often find that their coping mechanisms are vastly different which can lead to anger and resentment. A friend of ours graciously paid for a year of counseling which I believe was vital to saving our marriage. Grief is not about “moving on”, it’s about “moving forward”.

Honestly, finances were the least of my concern but I know this is not the case for everyone. My employee provided good insurance. And miraculously, our hospital bill from the day of birth and subsequent days in the hospital disappeared. We are not sure if a family member anonymously paid it or if the hospital did not bill us. Either way, I know this took a lot of stress out of the situation.

I think the Rhett Sullivan Foundation is a great way to honor your child! Providing resources to families is huge and also having the ability to connect with other families that have experienced loss is vital to moving forward.

~Charlie’s Daddy

Tenley’s Story

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 featuring beautiful Tenley today. I met Tenley’s mommy, Meagan, when she reached out to learn more about the Rhett Sullivan Foundation.  Meagan and her husband are in the process of starting Tenley’s Tiny Touch in honor their sweet little girl. This is Tenley’s story….

Tenley Grae Harbison

November 19, 2018

“In late 2016 Meagan and I had been trying to get pregnant for several months and Meagan felt that something wasn’t right. After consulting with our OB/GYN, we decided to start meeting with an infertility specialist.  Meagan and I decided to proceed with in vitro fertilization. During this process, as the husband, you watch your wife get labs and ultrasounds done frequently, you give her multiple injections at home every day in the hopes that it will be successful. You pull all of your savings and retirement in hopes to bring a healthy child into this world. After our retrieval, we ended up with 3 beautiful embryos. We were so happy.  The following month we had a successful transfer and were overjoyed that we were going to start our family. Pregnancy was not easy for Meagan. She endured hyperemesis gravidarum.  We found out we were going to have a baby girl, our Tenley Grae.  Tenley continued to grow into a healthy baby girl. The Sunday of Tenley’s 36th week, Meagan was a little concerned because she wasn’t moving much, however we were told that as she continued to grow that her movements would not be as noticeable. Monday at 4 am, Meagan woke up to some signs of early labor. We made our way to the hospital with excitement to be welcoming our baby girl into our family. When we arrived to the hospital, after multiple tests we were told that she didn’t have a heartbeat. Our world stopped. Our little girl would not be returning home with us. In the following hours we cried, we were in disbelief, we were in shock. After multiple hours, Tenley was born. She was a beautiful, healthy baby girl with no heartbeat. She had a hyper coiled umbilical cord that caused her to lose blood supply. The following hours and days were spent getting to spend time as a family with our little girl.

We miss everything about our baby girl. It’s often the little things, like her smell, the color of her hair. We feel like we are missing out on getting to know her personality, her baby coos, her smile, her cry. The things that most parents take for granted are the things we are missing.  Some days are easier than others. Doing things in our daughter’s name helps us find happiness. We started an organization to provide comfort items and resources to other parents who go through infant loss.

Emotionally, she changed us, the loss of our child changed us to the core.  We not only had to pay for her funeral and headstone, but we chose to purchase a burial plot for us to be buried next to her. Between funeral and medical expenses, this has been extremely taxing on us financially despite having a good income.

I think it is outstanding that there are organizations like The Rhett Sullivan Foundation out there to truly help families by relieving the financial stress so the family can focus on the grieving process.”

~Tenley’s Daddy & Mommy


Issac’s Story

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.

Today we are remembering precious Issac.  Issac’s Mommy Brittany, has recently launched the East Texas Hope Mommies Chapter.  Brittany has the biggest heart helping other loss mommies in East Texas area.

Issac Kole Cleveland

July 11, 2017-July 14, 2017

“At 33 weeks and 5 days (July 10, 2017), I went into the hospital just feeling weird, and wanting to get checked on. Issac’s heart rate would go down occasionally so the doctor kept us hooked up to the monitor. They ended up taking me in for an emergency c-section, and at 1:51 am, on July 11, 2017 Issac Kole Cleveland was born. He was blue and not breathing on his own, thankfully the neonatologist was able to get medicine to him that helped. He was transferred to the NICU in Odessa, and we were left in the hospital room without him. We got updates daily from the doctors at the hospital and doctors at the NICU, sometimes they would be good, sometimes they would say certain things needed to happen to make other levels look better. When I was finally released, we went to Odessa and were finally together as a family. He was hooked up to all kinds of machines and wires were everywhere, making it impossible for either of us to just pick him up and hold him. A day later, the doctor told us that there was no coming back from what had happened. Issac had gone too long without oxygen getting to his brain, and the machines were the only thing keeping him alive. Together, with our parents and my brother, we went in, held our boy for what would be the first and the last time, took pictures with him and tearfully said our good-byes. At 11:27 p.m. on Friday July 14, 2017, our boy opened his eyes for the first time and saw Jesus. He never had to experience hurt or heartbreak on this earth, but oh how our hearts long for him to be here with us. What a wonderful day it will be when we get to see him again in eternity.

I miss not getting to see him grow up. I wonder what he would be interested in, his favorite foods, what his personality would be like; everything. I wish I was getting to go through the everyday life with him….even the hard days.  I handle my grief through prayer and trust that God is good, always, even if there are tears. I’m thankful that because of Issac, I can still carry his memory on, and that I can show others who have experienced a loss what God’s love looks like.

Emotionally, we were at our lowest point. Everything that we were expecting instantly changed, and it felt as if it were all just a bad dream. My husband and I grew closer and stronger than ever before, through the tears and devastation. There were so many big expenses having to be paid immediately, while we were still even trying to process what had just happened. It blew my mind at how much things cost (I had never had to look into things like this, before our loss), and it really seemed to make things that much worse. Not only was our son gone, but so was money we had set aside for him as well.

The Rhett Sullivan Foundation helped our family by providing the full payment for Issac’s headstone. We had waited 2 years before ordering it, because not only did we not know exactly what we wanted on it, but because we knew it was going to be an expensive purchase. When we found out that they were covering the full price, tears filled my eyes. I never imagined they’d fully fund it for us, but it was such a huge blessing. We truly can’t thank them enough.”

~Issac’s Mommy

Cullin’s Story

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 Cullin today, his mommy, Ginny, has been helping others grieve through creative grief initiatives. Her organization Scared Sidless helps to support bereaved families.  Every time she posts a creative grief saying it gives me a moment to reflect and I am sure it does for others. This is Cullin’s story…. 

Cullin Darden Limer

March 28, 2012- October 1, 2012

“Cullin was such a special baby, he said “I love you” without words.  Cullin died from SIDS on October 1, 2012.  Cullin is deeply missed by all his family and especially by his brothers and sisters. I wonder what he would be like today as a seven year old boy.  Emotionally, we were a mess after we lost Cullin.  We went to The Warm Place numerous times and all of us liked the punching bag room the most. Our family also channels our pain into passion by helping others.  Financially, if it weren’t for the help of others, we would not have had a proper burial, casket or headstone for Cullin. Generous donations allowed me to miss work for a few weeks, but without their financial support, it wouldn’t have been impossible. 

I think the Rhett Sullivan Foundation can help families when financial help is needed the most.  When you lose a child, the last thing you want to worry about is the expense of it all.” 

~Cullin’s Mommy