Now I lay me down to sleep

by thoughtfulconservative

In Sunday’s Milewaukee Journal Sentinel, in the midst of political news, improperly prescribed medicines, is an article title “Portraits of Love,”

Maddux Achilles Haggard died in February 2005 of a condition that left him unable to breathe, swallow or move on his own.

Before removing Maddux from life support, Cheryl and Michael Haggard arranged for photographer Sandy Puc’ of Littleton, Colo., to take portraits of them with their newborn son.

“We wanted images of him as he was, as we knew him” with the wires and the tubes that connected him to life, Cheryl Haggard said. “But we asked if she would stay until after he’d passed, and she couldn’t say no.”

Cheryl Haggard recalls Maddux’s death as the worst day of her life.

“But when I look at those pictures, I don’t feel that. I feel the love we have for him and the blessing he continues to be in our lives,” she said.

Two months later, Cheryl Haggard and Puc’ founded Now I Lay Me Down To Sleep, which connects families with photographers in their communities and educates hospitals and medical professionals about its services.

A visit to the nonprofit’s Web site is a glimpse into the wonder and frailty of life. These aren’t snapshots but luminous portraits of families that capture not just the unfathomable loss, but also the deep love of a parent for a child, no matter how brief his or her life.

Tears stream down my cheeks as I remember our own little stillborn granddaughter RaeLynn Rose. RaeLynn would have been 4 years old at the beginning of February. I never got to meet little RaeLynn. Fortunately my wife arrived in time to hold her before they cremated her little body.

Some may think holding onto pictures or urns are odd, but it’s our one link with a little baby we will never hold or feed or rock to sleep.

Even writing about it is therapeutic.

I’m thankful for our other three grand babies, and perhaps they are the more precious because of the one that is no longer here.

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3 Comments to “Now I lay me down to sleep”

  1. I too read that story and teared up. I can’t imagine…

  2. Because of Cheryl and Michael Haggard, I have beautiful pictures of my sweet baby Elaine. She was trisomy 18. On our four month checkup we found out our baby would live 15 minutes to four months, and she would surely be dead by one year. She died 32 days later. She was born at 26.5 weeks and lived 10 seconds, (June 2006). I am thankful to these wonderful people who have gone beyond their own grief and have touched others; and, in that tearful path they have helped our broken heart. Our life is changed, and God is always good, always. We are thankful to Him for Elaine, for giving her to us, and taking her from us. We are ever grateful to these wonderful people who can look into the face of frail death and call it lovely.
    Jennie Bender

  3. Thanks for sharing that Jennie. These folks sure do great work to help parents remember their little ones that pass.

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