...an encouraging word cheers a person up. (Proverbs 12:25)Last week I received a thank-you note from someone who slept in Anna's Room two years ago. For those of you who don't know, Anna's Room is part of the Ronald McDonald Family Room at OU Children's Hospital. Three years ago we raised $12,000 to fund the room which is used by parents whose children are being treated in the hospital. (You can see pictures of the room at http://annajanesroom.blogspot.com/) Many of you donated money towards the room and I wanted you to see what it meant to one person. Then think about the hundreds of people who have used that room. Your donation made a difference.
Anna made a difference.
I just can't tell you how much Anna's Room means to me and my husband. I've been wanting to write you to let you know for nearly two years now, so I'm so glad to get in touch with you.
When I was 27 weeks pregnant with my twin girls, my ob/gyn sent me to Children's Hospital to see a specialist. I had a placental chorioangioma that was restricting the blood supply of one of the babies. Two days after we arrived in OKC, our baby girls were delivered. We had only packed a bag with clothes and things in it to last for a couple of days... We ended up staying in OKC for three months until my girls were able to leave the NICU.
About three days after my girls were born, it was time for me to leave the hospital. The Ronald McDonald House was full, so we expected we would have to stay in a hotel for awhile. Our doctor had heard of some special rooms in the hospital and inquired about us being able to stay there until a room at the McDonald House opened up. I was skeptical about staying in a room at the hospital. Not knowing what to expect, we opened the door to Anna's Room. I felt so much peace in that beautiful room. We were far away from home and had just been thrown into this new world of the NICU, doctors, etc., but for those first three days we stayed there, I felt peace that everything was going to be okay. We had Anna's Room packed with tons of flower arrangements, cookie bouquets, etc. We were made to feel like we could relax...that this would be our temporary home. I will never forget those first few days of my girls' lives... I would get up a few times in the night to pump breastmilk for the girls, then my husband would carry it down to the NICU. While I was pumping, I would pray for my girls and also think about Anna. I knew she was a special girl and that she was deeply loved by her family. I didn't know you, but I also thought about you, Marlo, and wondered what you would think about total strangers being so touched by Anna's legacy.
When a room became available at the McDonald House, we moved in. But, the last month our girls were in the NICU, they had been transferred to an area they call The Village, where parents can room in with their babies. It's a nice idea in theory, but it was a difficult time for us. Most other parents were at least able go home to take a shower and change clothes. Since we weren't able to do so, we again began staying in Anna's Room, using it as a respite for days when we needed to rest or take a shower. Again, I felt such peace everytime we walked through the door. Those days will always be in my heart and mind. I remember all the little details, like the pretty stationery on the desk, the coat hooks, the shabby chic basket beside the sink with nice lotion and soap, the sweet little books on the bookshelf and butterflies. Butterflies everywhere.
Shortly before we went back home to Tulsa, I asked the Family Room manager about Anna. We were actually standing in Anna's Room when she told me about Anna's life. She told me that you were a remarkable mother, a mom who loved her daughter so passionately. We both cried, and I felt so blessed to hear part of Anna's story. I prayed that day, right there in Anna's Room, that Anna would know how grateful we were to have been touched by her life.
Marlo, I want you to know how grateful we are to your family that you provided such a comfortable, calming and inspirational place for parents to stay. I know many, many other families have also been touched by Anna's Room and, more importantly, by Anna's life. My girls will be 2 next month, and they're doing very well. When they are older, I plan on showing them Anna's Room and telling them about your sweet girl.
Lots of love to you and your family.
What a blessing to receive this note. What an encouragement to know that Anna's life continues to touch people.
Who can you send an encouraging word to this week? Who do you need to thank? It's never too late.