Thank You Sussex Village!

I was so nervous as I pulled into the Fire Station parking lot.  My stomach was sick with the fear of not saying the right words.  Not saying enough.  I didn’t want to be “that” mom right then.  So often when my mouth can’t find the words, my fingers seem to find the keys on the keyboard.  That wasn’t that option this time … I had to speak.  But I was so focused on all the cooking that I didn’t have time to think everything through.

The Fire Chief, “Corky”, shook my hand right away.  He called those who were on the call forward.  A few I recognized, but others I did not.  The two gentlemen that actually worked on Owen weren’t there.  Then, he shared some thoughts on that night.  He shared what the dispatcher told him about the call.  The entire unit was all lined up around the room – almost at attention.  All looking at me and my family.  I prayed that my eyes would say what my mouth couldn’t find the words for.

I tried to tell them that we were ok.  Not to dwell on the fact that Owen didn’t make it, but rather celebrate that two other lives were saved.  I told them the story about OWENGE and why we wear the color.  I told them how I think about them each and every day.  When I see a fire truck or police car out around town, I look to see if I recognize anyone.  I wonder “were you at my house that night?”  I said Thank You … over and over.  And I really meant it.

The boys were given huge stuffed animals.  A fire fighter’s wife knit the boys hats (blue, green and orange of course!)  She’s a blog reader — if you are reading this THANK YOU!!!  Someone offered to show the boys the trucks.

Once they got in the trucks … they didn’t want to get out!

I did get a little teary eyed as Jaden sat up high, so proud and was waving at me out the window.  I flashed forward to him being an adult and being an EMT.  I pictured him waving out the same window in a parade.  Gosh I would be one proud mama if he chose that road in life.

My mom said he was giving his bear CPR when she was buckling him up.  She said he was doing it pretty accurately too.  I wonder where he learned that from … we’ve talked about Mommy giving Owen CPR but I’ve never acted it out for him.  TV maybe?

I know it gave me and my family healing being there.  Seeing the faces of those who fought so hard for us a year ago.  At this time last year, right this very minute, I would just be arriving at Children’s Hospital.  Standing outside of his door – watching the 15+ people all working on him.  Someone in a white coat stood next to us, trying to answer all of our questions.

The numbness is replaced with emotions … some of them joy for Josie and the other little girl.  Pride for how far we have come this past year.  Pain of the loss that is still blinding in our family.  Gratitude for all those who walked this journey with us last year and the days following.

My sister said it best:  My deepest thanks go out to the men and women of the Sussex police department, fire department and paramedics. Owen is a warrior because of your hard work and kindness on such a tragic night one year ago. I think of you all daily.

Thank you from the bottom of our hearts!

Love, Mel


  1. Mel,

    You and your family have been on my mind a lot recently, as the one year anniversary of Owen’s sudden cardiac arrest (SCA) and death were approaching. I checked in Sun. night and thought of you a lot all day Monday. I attended an EMS (Emergency Medical Services) conference on Monday and a young woman came and spoke about her appreciation for the responders who worked on her for over an hour after an automobile accident in Feb. She is still recovering from her innumerable injuries, but she has an amazing spirit and shared a wonderful message. I cried as she spoke, because her appreciation meant a lot, but I also cried thinking of you all. She and her husband also got to meet all the responders that cared for her in the pre-hospital setting.
    I am sure the Sussex Public Safety folks remembered you all and appreciated your visit, the meal, and the message of thanks and praise that you shared with them. How fitting that the anniversary of the call to assist Owen fell during National EMS week.
    I know I have not forgotten you though we are strangers. I believe I learned of your story from a friend who is a mother to multiples herself. I followed your blog closely for months and still check in every few weeks to see how you are doing. Also as a responder, I can attest to the fact that there are calls, scenes, incidents, and families that stick with you for years. An anniversary of sorts just passed for me. Just this last week was the 2 year anniversary of the day I coached a mother in providing CPR to her 7 year son who experienced a fainting episode and then SCA. His mom and I were the ones to hear him take his last breaths. He did not survive either. I think of that mom a lot and have wanted to reach out many times, but just don’t know what to say or how to approach her. So, it is nice that you approached the public safety folks and provided them some closure along with thanks and gratitude for what they do.
    Blessings and peace to you each day, but especially this week as you relive, recount, and remember the experiences, memories, and moments of Owen’s last days.
    You are an amazing momma to the triplets and Jaden. May Owen’s legacy carry you through your grief.

  2. Thank you so much for coming up to visit us last night. It means a lot to us to be able to talk with and see patients and their families after we have helped them or their loved ones and not many people realize it. Please stop up whenever you would like you are always welcome. And the food was all awesome by the way!

  3. This is such an awesome post. I am so glad it went well. Now I have to go redo the makeup I just put on. Love you!

  4. Mel thanks so much for sharing with us. What an amazing turnout it was huh. I’m sure they really appreciated you all going down there to thank them for everything they did that night of may 21st. You are definitely one strong momma I’ve said it many times before and I will continue to say it. Logan, Weston & Jaden are such handsome boys. Owen had to be looking down so proud of his entire family. God bless you all Mel.

  5. As the wife of a firefighter/EMT, i get a behind the scenes glimpse of how much a call can affect the people on the department. Most of the times its the call its self that makes it stick out, but some times its the people. Your entire family has touched the hearts of the entire department, and their families too. A lot of people don’t realize that once the call is over, the EMT’s usually never know what happened to that person after they have taken them to the hospital. I know that your blog and the dinner last night have helped them to find some comfort as well.

    I know how much I think of Owen, and praying that somehow, my mom (who passed away almost 3 years ago) has told him how much he is still loved, even by people who have never met him.

    You are so very welcome for the hats! I would also like to make one for Jaden, but I know what an opinion a 5 year old can have and would like to know what kind of hat he wants. BTW, did the hats fit? I was guessing on the size! Here is a link to my facebok page for my hats. I have pictures on there of some of the hats I have made.

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