When their hearts feel empty, bereaved parents find comfort at the Loving Arms Parent Support Group’s monument on Christiana Hospital campus.
But, despite the notes, balloons and stuffed animals that festoon the monument, which depicts a tree with a leaf for every lost child, some visitors had difficulty finding their baby’s leaf among the many. Melanie Chichester, RN II, in Labor & Delivery, and Terre Gilchrist, MSW, of Social Work, came up with the idea that there should be a map to assist visitors.
Christiana Care’s Maternal/Child Bereavement committee and the unit-based Labor and Delivery bereavement committee took up the issue and quickly recalled that a Boy Scout last year helped complete a decorative tile project to highlight room numbers on all of the inpatient rooms in Women’s Health.
“The project counted as part of the scout’s community service requirement for attaining the rank of Eagle,” Kim Petrella, RN, said. “We figured, why not look for another scout in need of a project?”
Petrella, a council member, said “When I told a group of people on 3B/3C that we needed another fabulous scout to work on another project, Christina Kupsick, RN, from L&D, was standing next to me. She told me that she had a nominee: her son, Eddy.”
Petrella became the committee’s point person to work with Kupsick’s son, a member of Boy Scout Troop 204, Odessa, for a year on the project, which counted toward his requirements to reach Life Scout — the rank just below Eagle.
“From the first moment I talked with him, I knew we picked the right scout,” Petrella said. “Having listened to his mother talk about grieving families, he knew something of the pain involved when a baby dies. And he has skill with computers and a family and group of friends that rallied around him to support and help him.”
Eddy was able to translate his feelings into loving care for the project — a reference map for families to find their leaf.
“Now Terre and chaplain Sheryl Allston, whose work involves helping grieving families, use what Eddy created to show visitors to the monument how to find the leaf they are looking for,” Petrella said. “When he finished, he told me that he was deeply touched by being involved in the project.”
The Loving Arms Parents Support Group meets at Christiana Hospital on the third Monday of each month. For information, call 302-733-4367.