Reminders of a family tragedy like the loss of a baby can be gut-wrenching. Parting with items like clothing, toys, or furniture is understandably difficult, and many parents struggle with grief and letting go.
Sometimes they can, and sometimes they can’t, and that’s okay. When Valarie Watts was pregnant, she shopped for her baby boy’s nursery and layette. She never imagined she would give birth to a stillborn baby and be faced with a home full of reminders.
Valarie was in her third trimester when she noticed her baby wasn’t moving that much. A cesarean section was performed after doctors couldn’t find a heartbeat for Noah. They believed there was a complication with his umbilical cord that resulted in loss of oxygen.
Almost a year after losing Noah, Valarie felt a little bit ready to part with some of his belongings at a garage sale she was hosting. One thing that was within view but not for sale was Noah’s crib. A gentleman noticed it and was interested in buying it, but Valarie was hesitant.
But she learned that the man, Gerald Kumpala, 75, was a woodworker who made small pieces of furniture in his home workshop. She felt that Mr. Kumpala would be able to transform the crib into something beautiful for someone, so she sold it to him for a mere $2.
In a conversation with his wife about the other baby items for sale, Valarie shared her heartbreaking story about Noah. She felt the crib would be in good hands with the Kumpalas and perhaps it would help her to move on.
On the way home, Mrs. Kumpala told her husband the crib’s background story and they decided they wanted to do something for Valarie. Just one week later, the Kumpalas returned to Valarie’s house with the crib. The talented craftsman repurposed the crib into something new.
Refusing to accept payment, Mr. Kumpala wanted it to be a gift to the grieving mom. The Kumpalas, grandparents to 15, had also experienced the pain of losing a grandchild, as their first granddaughter was also stillborn. Both families were moved to tears by the sweet gesture.
Valarie placed the gift in her living room where it can be seen every day, and be a source of comfort. The gift was a sweet way for her and her family to remember Noah, and it is surrounded by mementos of the baby boy, including photos, footprint marks, and ashes. Click on the clip below to see the beautiful piece!
Though there isn’t a cure for the pain that this mother is feeling, this is a lovely memorial that will surely be treasured forever. And it’s sitting in a space that is dedicated to the memory of Valarie’s son. Kind strangers like Mr. Kumpala are proof of the goodness that exists in this world.
What do you think of this heartwarming story? Have you ever encountered a kind stranger that’s helped you in a time of grief? If you’ve suffered a painful tragedy, how did you cope with the reminders in your life?