Earlier this week, a tiny, six pound baby girl received her angel wings. As I have written before, it will never get any easier to lose a child in one of our programs. When the news comes in, it is always heartbreaking, as of course it is always so painful to think of any baby in this world dying without parents who love her.
When we first saw her photo, she was bundled up in an orphanage crib, and we knew that with their limited resources, she needed to be moved immediately. One of our volunteers christened her with the name Khaleesi, because she loved the Game of Thrones book series and wanted this tiny little girl to have the strength of her namesake. It was a very big name for a very little baby.
When we first posted about Khaleesi on Facebook, we couldn’t believe how many people wrote in with wishes of healing for her. We of course post photos of so many children each week, and we never know which ones will really resonate with people. But there was something about Khaleesi that drew people in. Perhaps it was how vulnerable and small she looked, or perhaps it was those solemn, soulful eyes….but we received email after email from people asking for updates on her progress.
Khaleesi had several heart attacks while in the hospital, and the surgeons kept telling us that surgery was just too risky. She was too weak, too fragile, and trying to put her under anesthesia could end her life immediately. These are always the most difficult decisions for our medical team, as some would say open heart surgery should be done no matter what, even if she would die on the operating table. Others would say that it would be cruel to knowingly put a baby that weak through surgery, only to have her pass away with her chest cut open and filled with tubes. There is of course no right answer as it is a precious child’s life. We can only pray and discuss and hopefully do what is best for the baby.
Earlier this week, doctors told us one final time that she was just too sick to survive surgery. She was born with a heart defect where the walls separating the chambers of her heart were missing. The very fact that she had survived for 7 months as an orphan was a testament to just how strong her spirit was, but we had to face the reality that Khaleesi had struggled long enough. She was brought back to our Heartbridge Healing Home from the hospital, and a few hours later she took her final breaths. She went peacefully while being held – and in that we take some comfort. She did not die in an orphanage, unknown, and while she wasn’t able to be held in our supporters’ arms, we know she was most definitely held closely in their hearts.
Today we are giving thanks for Khaleesi’s life – no matter how short. We grieve that she will never take her first steps, hold tightly to a daddy’s hand on her first day of school, or even have the chance to simply laugh and giggle with friends. We grieve for the possibilities that were lost. Little one – be at peace, and know that you impacted us in such a huge way. You reminded us once more what really matters in life. You taught us again that we should hold those we love tighter and do our very best to remember just how precious each day that we are given is. You will not be forgotten.