Michelle Worthington is an award-winning children's author and international guest speaker on the power of storytelling. Michelle is dedicated to encouraging a strong love of reading and writing in young children and supports the vision of empowering youth through education and working on books that are purposeful, innovative and inspirational.
Friday, 2 October 2020
Guest Blog - Leo's Story by Megan Firster
Everyone who knows me is aware of my love for and connection to
Queensland’s only children’s hospice. I wear my hummingbird tattoo
proudly, in memory of my beautiful boy but also as a living tribute to
the place that supported him and our family throughout some of the
happiest and darkest times.
So, of course, when it was put to Hummingbird House families to create a
picture that could possibly be used as a token for the Coles fundraising
campaign I jumped at the chance. We did have a logistical issue with the
brief though. We were asked to create a hummingbird that represented our
child, perhaps by using their hand and footprints, but of course my child
wasn’t here to squish his little hand into the paint. To trace around his
perfect foot with a felt pen. After some discussion regarding the brief
we were supported to do as much of the picture digitally as we needed to
to include Leo in the way we wished to.
After some assessment we realised Leo’s best footprint was one that was
taken by Leo’s kindy teacher as part of my last mother’s day gift, and
his best handprints were the ones taken by a caring staff member, at
Hummingbird House after his passing. Leo liked to curl his fingers into
the palm of his hand so they were the first really nice ones we
Leo’s prints were monochrome, so my son Sam, who is my tech support for
everything, coloured Leo’s prints digitally to make it look like he had
applied the paint to the paper directly. I printed a bunch of them and we
all sat down as a family to paint and draw hummingbird bodies in between
the handprint wings. Frances, my daughter, is the artist in my family and
her hummingbird came more and more to life with every brushstroke. I
can’t tell you how elated I was that our picture was chosen, and how
proud I am that Leo is continuing on in a way that not only helps raise
money for the house, but also represents the bereaved families that are a
part of this special service.
Nobody likes to talk about children that have passed or
will pass before their time. It’s a sad subject, but one that is so real
and so raw for the families that use this place as a sanctuary. It is so
important that this facility remains, and keeps providing all the
wonderful services it provides, and to do that fundraisers like the Coles
one are so very important.
For many families Hummingbird House gives them air – allows them to take a
breath when they are living a life that allows no time and space for one.
For other families it is a place to remember their child or to make
memories with them in their final days. We were blessed to be able to
appreciate all of these aspects of the house. We had so many wonderful
family memories, laughs over home cooked meals and time engaging with
other families going through similar trials and challenges. Hummingbird
House was also the place where Leo had his last bath. Devoured his last
mouthful of chocolate mousse. Enjoyed his last swim. Was wrapped in my
arms for his last cuddle.
Hummingbird House is a unique space for families of palliative children.
There’s no other place in Queensland that offers the range of services
that they do and they need your help. Please go to Coles between the 16th
of September and the 13th of October and buy a token. I promise it will
make all the difference to a family just like ours.