Joseph John and Virgil John…my inspiration for Angels of Hope
After years of infertility treatments, thousands of dollars and an emotional roller coaster beyond imagination, Joseph John and Virgil John Lavezzi were born into this world on August 10, 2003. What was supposed to be the greatest day of our lives was also the most painful day of our lives. They were perfectly made and as beautiful as ever, but they were too tiny to survive. Our miracle baby boys died at birth.
I prayed that we would have a family one day. I prayed that I would become a mama. My prayers were finally answered. We finally had our little family and I was a mama. We held those beautiful baby boys, we named them, we introduced them to their grandparents, we took pictures with them, Grandma Mary held each baby and sang them a lullaby; we dressed them in gowns and had them baptized, we kissed their faces and explored every inch of their perfect little bodies; we swaddled them and held them for hours; we marveled at their very creation and being. We did all of this with our deceased babies. I was a mama, yes, but I had to leave the hospital with empty arms.
The chaos and pain that followed our loss was unimaginable. There simply are not words that can accurately describe how a parent feels after the loss of their child. As I type this, almost 15 years later, I cry.
As a Christmas gift that year, my in-laws gifted us a memorial brick in our son’s names at the Angels of Hope statue garden in Marco Island, Florida. We were beyond moved. That memorial brick wasn’t just a tangible gift, it represented Joseph and Virgil. It validated their existence in this world. It made them real to those who did not get to meet them. It provided us with comfort and solace knowing Joseph and Virgil would be remembered forever.
This feeling of comfort was the inspiration for the memorial garden. We thought, if one brick can bring us comfort, even in a small way, let’s find a way to offer this comfort to other grieving parents and families.
Although it has been almost 15 years, I think of Joseph and Virgil every day. The tears still come. Some days the tears come because I long to hold them again; I long to hear their voices and smell their hair. Some days the tears come because their younger brother and sister talk about them and ask about them. I am sad that they did not get to know their older brothers. I imagine what our lives would be today had they lived. Some days, the tears flow because I am so grateful for their existence. After all, if Joseph and Virgil had not come first, I would not have my daughters, Lola and Jocelyn, or my son, Ethan. They had to come first and the reasons and purposes of their brief existence, continue to unfurl daily. They had to come first.
I am a grieving mama, still. However, my work with Angels of Hope has helped me turn my grief into something truly positive. Daily I am able to reach out to others and let them know they are not alone. I am able to be part of helping families achieve their dreams of having families of their own. I do this because Joseph and Virgil came first. They are my reason for being here; they give me greater purpose than I evercould have imagined.
Their existence gives me happiness and peace.
Their existence made me a mama.
John and I (Genny) will be celebrating our 10th wedding anniversary in September. We are college sweethearts that have always wanted kids. John is from a family of 5 boys and I’m one of three girls.
Every time we thought we were ready to start making a family, we would hit roadblocks and hurdles: layoffs with the downturn of economy back in 08′; my diagnosis as a Hemophilia A carrier back in 11′; and then my diagnosis of infertility in 12′. Not only did we face the harsh realization that any son born to us had a 50% chance that the quality of his life would be impacted by a genetic blood disorder, we found out that the odds of even being able to conceive were stacked against us. We were given ~ 5-10% chance.
We elected to BATTLE and forged on! With these diagnoses and each failed attempt to conceive came GREAT MISERY. The feeling that the VOID in our HEARTS would never be filled was DEVASTATING! The lifetime max on our insurance allowance for infertility meds had been tapped and we nearly exhausted all of our financial resources. Then something wondrous happened: we were awarded the Angels of Hope Creating Miracles Grant in April 2013. Five months later our MIRACLE happened. On our wedding anniversary, we were able to conceive through A.R.T. We are forever grateful for the services and support that Angels of Hope has provided to OUR FAMILY! Our SON, JOHNNY, is A TRUE BLESSING!
With much LOVE,
THE MOORE FAMILY
Sawyer Erik Williams was born on June 1, 2010 – at 28 weeks gestation and exactly three months before his due date. Just two days later on June 3, 2010, Sawyer died in his mother’s arms.
Sawyer’s life was cut drastically short by a congenital heart defect. He was diagnosed with a severe form of Tetralogy of Fallot and had many complications including a large hole between his left and right ventricles called a “ventricular septal defect” and “pulmonary atresia” – an extremely rare CHD in which the pulmonary valve does not form.
Sawyer’s spirit lives on in the hearts of many who he touched so deeply in his brief life. May this blog be of comfort to other mothers, fathers, grandparents and families who have experienced the deep pain of infant loss. VISIT BLOG SITE.
Enhancing Lives…Since 2007
Since 2007, Angels of Hope has been dedicated to helping couples find the financial resources and the courage to conceive a child. The dedication of our board, volunteers and partner agencies serves as a beacon of hope to those longing to be parents. Take a look at some of the Miracles that have been created through the help of Angels of Hope and our partners… CLICK HERE FOR PHOTO GALLERY.