Hope After Loss

This letter is available for PDF Download here. 

In November of 2011, my unborn son was diagnosed with HLHS. Soon after, I received a care package from Sisters by Heart and it was and still is something I will always remember. I remember the hope that package gave me- in a time I felt so alone- so hopeless and helpless. I remember reading about some of the founders' heart warriors and found hope in knowing that even though these children had open heart surgeries and spent months in the hospital, they were making it and thriving and that gave me so much hope that my child would be ok through this too.

But….what happens when your HLHS’er dies??

Because as unthinkable as it may be, it happens- and it happened to me.

That particular hope is gone. A large piece (if not all) of your life and heart is gone with that child and you are once again left with feeling hopeless that life will ever go on for you and your heartbroken family.

Sisters by Heart wants to continue to provide those grieving families with HOPE and support- not the same hope as before- how could it be- but with a new sense of hope as you and your family try to navigate through this unbearable new journey and life you have been unwillingly thrown into.

My son has been gone since 2012- so please know it took me some time to get where I am- and please take your time- but there is hope that down the road you will survive an entire day without crying, that you will have happy days- not just happy moments. There is hope that you will smile again- really truly smile again. There will come a time when you will see some child that should be the same age as your child and not want to turn the other way sobbing in tears- but instead gaze at them with a half smile on your face imagining that is instead your child running through those sprinklers on a very hot summer day. And then the next time you see a child the same age you may need to walk away in tears- and that’s perfectly ok.  But there is hope that someday you will take a deep breath without your chest hurting as you try to inhale. You will drive pass the funeral home without breaking out in tears. You will find an old syringe under the fridge and smile. You will somehow survive this. It will be the hardest form of survival on the planet - and we are all a work in progress- but there is hope that you will somehow survive.

Because though you’ve been dealt life’s greatest tragedy that exists, your warrior left behind with you the greatest gift. Because of what you and your child went through you will never again take one day for granted. You will appreciate every single moment of your own, your other children’s’ or loved ones lives. You know what it is like to go through and experience the most unimaginable pain- and so you love and live harder than anyone you know.  

And along with this gift left for you, there is also hope that life will become bearable again someday. It will never be the same - it may never feel full or make sense - and of course will never be what you had planned it out to be - but there is hope that you will one day have more good days than bad- more smiles than tears.

Please know while you try to figure out a way to get to this point, and even once you have reached it, we are here to support one another and are here to provide love and care for your broken heart.

Ady Dorsett, Mom to Hayden




Ady Dorsett

Email: Ady@sistersbyheart.org

Ady joined the team of Sisters by Heart in 2015 to serve as support for grieving HLHS families. After losing her son Hayden in 2012, Ady, together with her husband, founded Hayden’s Heart INC and has made it her mission and priority to help other heart families and keep her sons memory alive. Through his legacy, Hayden’s Heart INC sends out care packages to recently grieving heart families as well as provides many other supportive initiatives to the heart community. Ady is also behind founding 'Healing of the Heart, a Retreat for Mamas of Heart angels. The first retreat took place in 2015. This unique annual event was created to connect and support grieving heart mamas in ways the outside world cannot. Ady is honored to take on this role and hopes to help grieving families find ways to cope and provide some hope through their tragic loss. 

Alanna Stangroom

Email: Alanna@sistersbyheart.org

Alanna lives in Massachusetts with her husband and three daughters.  Her son, Benjamin passed away in January of 2016, from complications of Hypoplastic Left Heart Syndrome and Pulmonary Vein Stenosis.  She strives to promote awareness for CHDs and help other parents find hope after loss.


Here are some pages and information we have collected to learn about hope after loss.

Reach out Information to connect with families who have lost a child with HLHS.
Hope After Loss Blog Collection of articles and blog posts for families.
Resources Some resources to explore when you are ready.
Healing of the Heart A retreat for Mamas of Heart Angels.