One of the ways in which we continue to honor Kyleigh is through her gift of life. Last we checked, one of her heart valves had been sent to a hospital on the West Coast. It is about time to follow up again, but we are hopeful that since a valve was sent someplace that means it was able to be used. Read Giving In Life and In Death and Picnics in Heaven for more of Kyleigh’s story regarding her gift of life.
I have always loved parades. I can remember watching the Thanksgiving Day parade on T.V. as a child and always wanting to attend one of these years. I enjoy other parades as well, both on T.V. and in person; the local American Royal Parade, the Rose Bowl Parade, homecoming parades, etc. In high school and college, I was in the marching band so I got to participate in many, many parades. Some were a lot of fun; others, not so much. Being a spectator at the American Royal Parade is fun. Being told to keep step and march through horse poop at the American Royal Parade is not fun. I don’t know what it is that draws me to them, but if I have the opportunity to watch a parade on T.V. or attend in person, I’m there.
A few months ago, I was made aware of the Donate Life Rose Parade Float . I got excited before I even knew what it was. After reading about it, I discovered that you can donate a rose to be placed on the float in memory of someone who has given the gift of life, in honor of someone who has received the gift of life or in honor of someone who is waiting for the gift of life. How perfect. I became so excited to learn that for $30, we could donate a rose in Kyleigh’s name. A rose that would be lovingly placed on the float. A float that will be in a nationally televised parade on New Year’s Day. All of the dedications from the roses can be read here: Donate Life Dedication Garden
At the same time that I learned of the opportunity to donate a rose, I also learned that one of the float riders was someone that we have become connected with since Kyleigh’s passing. Michele Shanahan DeMoss will be riding the float this year to honor her daughter, Blair. I have been able to follow Michele’s journey to Pasadena, CA, where she has been over the past few days working on the float. What an amazing experience it would be, although bittersweet, for sure. Someday, I hope to be able to travel to Pasadena and volunteer on the Donate Life float.
Just a few weeks after we placed Kyleigh’s rose dedication, we received a letter from the hospital where Kyleigh was born. The hospital, along with Midwest Transplant Network, was going to have a service to honor all of those who had given the gift of life during the past year. Family and friends were invited to attend the service and place rose ornaments on a Christmas tree that would be on display throughout the holiday season in the hospital lobby. The hospital also let each family know that a rose would be placed on the Donate Life Rose Parade Float in memory of our loved one. We were honored that out of everyone at the service, twelve people were there in memory of Kyleigh. Everyone had the opportunity to hang a rose on the tree; we hung Kyleigh’s rose and those who attended with us hung roses for others who gave the gift of life whose family members could not attend. What a blessing it was to be surrounded by loving family, my doctor and one of my nurses during such a special occasion in our journey of grief.
Kyleigh will have three roses on the Donate Life float tomorrow. I will be watching the parade and waiting to catch a glimpse of not only Kyleigh’s roses, but all of the roses that honor somebody who gave, received or is waiting for the gift of life.