A mother’s love.

By: Erin Crooks

V Teamer Erin Crooks shares the love and heartache that comes with caring for and losing a child.

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Nine years ago, my life split into before and after.

Doing this video reminded me of those details, some painful, but with the benefit of time, the sharp edges were somehow smoothed. Some humor even crept into my memories when thinking back to the insanity of living in a hospital with an active two year old and his twin at home. It opened me up to reread almost every journal entry I wrote at the time. This blessed me with memories of so many moments that took my breath away - many of them small things people did for us without asking. As the worst thing anyone could imagine was happening, my world became so big. People showed up for us over and over again, in incredibly big and small ways.

It also reminded me of what it was really like to be a caregiver. How many times I had to hold my son down with all my strength while a nurse administered medication to him, and just how strong a mad two year old could be. How I learned to be an advocate on every single level. As trivial as it sounds, I had to fight for my son to get uninterrupted sleep in the hospital. How after rounds of chemo I can feel a fever with my hands. Till this day, I don’t need a thermometer for either of my kids. How I had to step out of my comfort zone, time after time, to try to save him. How when we neared the end, we wanted him at home for his happiness, even though the hospital would have been easier. How time had to be balanced between the healthy twin and the sick twin. How empty I felt when it was over. It was as if I lost my purpose.

Today is National Caregivers Day, by definition a day that honors individuals who selflessly provide personal care, and physical and emotional support to those who need it most. Thinking back, taking care of Connor was the most important thing I have ever done and likely will ever do in my life. He was truly amazing and inspires how I live every single day. To all the caregivers out there, I am here to tell you, I see you, you are not alone. The work you are doing is incredible, it matters, and people want to help.

So many people ran to my family's crisis from all parts of my life, including my colleagues here at work. I have always been struck by the line in our Verizon credo that says “We run to a crisis.” What I have found is that we also run to people’s personal crisis. There are so many layers of support at Verizon, but one of my favorites is a new Employee Resource Group we created just over a year ago, PACT. This is just for us, the parents, the caregivers. Let’s continue to shape the future, and more importantly, be there for each other. Life is hard. Let’s make it easier and take a moment to celebrate us all today.

PACT employee resource group

Click here to learn more about the PACT Employee Resource Group and all of the events they have organized around National Caregivers Day. In partnership with Verizon Health & Wellness, PACT is offering a self-care power hour event on February 17 from 1:00pm-2:15pm ET.  Some of the focuses will be yoga basics, skin care pampering and healthy power snacks. Add to calendar here.

Employee Assistance Program resources

Verizon provides resources to help you cope through the Anthem Employee Assistance Program (EAP). The EAP is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week at 1-888-441-8674. You can also access the EAP online at http://www.anthem.com/eap/verizon. For International support, go to our EAP site: http://www.anthem.com/eap/global or go here to access your country specific support number.

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