Volunteers of NICU Helping Hands are giving comfort to grieving parents all around the nation with tiny little gifts with a huge meaning.
These women are transforming wedding gowns into “Angel Gowns” for little babies that had to go meet Jesus in heaven sooner than their loved ones would have liked. Since wedding gowns are centered around an occasion of hope and joy, volunteer seamstresses hope to give grieving parents a glimpse of those wonderful feelings.
Angel Gowns gives parents the dignity of saying goodbye to their babies in something nice, instead of being wrapped in the usual blanket or towel.
Volunteer Michelle Matthew works near the entrance to the neonatal intensive care unit where she sees dedicated parents visiting their babies as they fight for life every day.
Michelle says, “It’s tiring and draining for them, also coping with the rest of life, having to go work, other children at home.”
In the event that a precious baby is called to heaven, Michelle wants to give parents something small that’s greatly needed. She says, “There are times when what is a small act to one person is such a huge gift to the other.”
Michelle sews Angel Gowns in her own home, all from donated gowns. Her first project was in 2011 using her own wedding gown. The wedding gowns have lovely fabric that “is soft and sweet and pretty, and delicate with the lace.”
“I didn’t see any reason to hang onto it forever in my closet,” she says.
As word spread, women around the country were contacting her to donate their gowns.
Matthews has some 60 wedding dresses waiting to be transformed into Angel Gowns. She has gotten so good at it that she can now sew a baby gown in an hour. She makes her Angel Gowns in three sizes. The smallest is a delicate wrap for the tiniest of babies.
A grandmother donated her gown and wrote a note that said, “Here is my wedding gown and veil. I know you will make good use of them, in memory of my grandson…”
Emily, a mom and dress donor writes about her now-healthy son who was prematurely born at 33 weeks. “If my dress can provide any kind of comfort to someone when they need it the most it’d mean the world to me…”
Volunteers like Michelle are putting a dent in the world with their kindness and dedication to families all over the nation. We would say that they themselves are angels sent from heaven to do such a special work.
Credit: Seattle Times