Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Angel Baskets: A Story of Giving in the Midst of Heartbreak

As the Year of Mercy draws to an end, I felt that I should share a story that I think is so admirable and the essence of what the Year of Mercy is all about. I honestly believe that we  are put into people's lives and people are put into our lives by God to be good examples, to make us better and to teach us about life, loss and suffering. I have many people like that in my life and I consider myself to be blessed beyond measure. The family I am about to introduce you, I believe, were put into my life for a special purpose and they have taught me so much and I feel that their story can serve as inspiration for many and a beacon of light to those who have found themselves in their same position.

This is Shannon and Chris. They are an amazing couple, outstanding friends and loving parents. I have known Chris since I was in high school. We met during Confirmation and attended the same Catholic youth group through our church. He is such a hilarious person that can light up a room and can be friends with anyone. His wife Shannon, I had the pleasure to meet after a meeting I hosted in my home about five years ago. I instantly fell in love with this woman and knew we would be friends. She is one of those people that lights up the room with her smile and she emits happiness, love and friendship. These two amazing people are more incredible than words can describe and they have an even more extraordinary story to share.

Shannon and Chris are parents to three children. Two here on Earth, Ethan and Sydney and one in heaven, Sean. This is their story of love, loss and mercy. 

On November 13, 2014 Shannon went in to the hospital for contractions. She was 38 weeks pregnant but was sent home thinking everything was good with her and her soon to be born son. The next day Shannon and Chris were walking around the store and when she came home to relax and take a bath, she noticed Sean wasn't moving. At the time they had an at home fetal monitor that they used frequently and when they tried to find Sean's heartbeat... it was beating extremely slow. So slow that they panicked, knowing that something was not right, they called the doctor and rushed back to the hospital.

When they finally arrived at the hospital, the nurse couldn't find a heartbeat. They sent for Shannon's doctor to bring the ultrasound machine to examen Sean more closely. When they came in with the machine, he turned it around and showed Shannon, Chris and their oldest son, Ethan, where Sean's heart had stopped. They were completely devastated. Sean was delivered via C-section on November 15, 2014. 

Shannon and Chris agreed to allow a photographer take pictures of their family with Sean before he was taken away. This is one of the beautiful pictures they have allowed me to share. This beautiful baby boy looks as if he were just sleeping. In one day they went from joyously waiting for their baby to be born to learning that he had become an angel with no warning. Everyone was able to spend some time with Sean and I am sure these photos are worth more to this family than any material item they own. 

Here for a Moment. Felt for a Lifetime. No truer words can be said. Shannon, Chris and their son Ethan have endured a terrible loss. One that was completely unexpected. Their family's world was turned upside down, yet their love for each other and the love they had for people around them became stronger than the pain in their suffering and grieving. This does not mean they overcame their loss, in fact, it's quite the opposite. They still grieve and their hearts still ache for their child. But they did not give up hope or love.

A few months after their enormous loss, they found that God had blessed them with another pregnancy. I could not imagine the mix of emotions that poured from them during this time; Anxiety, happiness, fear and confusion. A child that is conceived after a loss is called a Rainbow Baby. A beautiful and bright rainbow follows a storm and is a sign of hope. They embraced this pregnancy with grace and they prayed fervently and they gave birth to a happy, healthy baby girl. She was born November 24, 2015. 

If you looked at the time frame than you can see that their miracle baby was born only nine days after the first anniversary of Sean's passing. Although there were still tears, heartache and pain, Shannon and Chris thought that a great way to honor Sean would be to bless another family. This was the beginning of the Angel Baskets.

"In honor of Sean's first birthday this year we put together a gift basket and dropped it off at the hospital where we had him to be given to the first family whose baby is born near the time Sean was born (November 15th at 11:26 am) we didn't realize how hard it would be to have to go back up there after all this time but we hope this basket is a blessing to someone's little angel like Sean was to us:)" --Shannon Boswell

How many of us can say that in times of suffering that we think of others? I can honestly say that I have not. I often allow my sufferings to control myself and the way I live my life. I think that this act of pure love is something that we all can learn something from. Let's all take a look into our lives and realize that we need to take care of each other, no matter the circumstances. 

Thank you Shannon and Chris for allowing me to share your truly amazing story with the world. I hope that anyone reading this that has suffered loss in similiar ways will be touched by your story and know that they are not alone in their pain and sufferings.

Today is November 15, 2016. Today is the second anniversary of Sean's passing and there is already an Angel Basket ready to be given to a family in Sean's honor. 

This post is in honor of Sean Boswell. Here for a Moment. Felt for a Lifetime. Would you honor this amazing family today by lighting a candle in their son's honor? Please keep them in your prayers today as I am sure it will be a hard one. 


  1. What a beautiful story! I love how they allowed God to make their sadness a blessing to their family and to others.

    1. I completely agree! They are truly an inspiration and I feel so lucky to know such loving people. I hope their story helps more grieving families and inspires others to choose love.

  2. Oh, this story brought me to tears. What an inspiring story of turning outward instead of inward. Thank you for sharing, and thank you to Shannon and Chris for you beautiful witness of Sean's life!

    1. Thank you! I hope I can learn to be as giving as my amazing friends, especially in times of suffering.

  3. Wow. I just can't imagine the heartache. God Bless their family. I absolutely love how you said, "Let's all take a look into our lives and realize that we need to take care of each other, no matter the circumstances. " Amen

  4. What a beautiful way to give tribute to such a little saint - their family's personal saint, able to intercede for them in a special way before God! Amazing how they were able to put their grief into action, and in such a wonderful way. Great reminder, as Christians, to think of others, even in the midst of our grief.