heart on path


By Tanya Tiger

I write a lot about forgiveness, acceptance, and finding the strength to overcome what appear to be insurmountable odds.

I write about these topics because I believe in them with my whole heart and soul. What I realized recently is that I need to make sure that I walk my talk.

For as long as I can remember it has been easier for me to give advice then to take it. I know that I am not alone in that realization. By writing about these topics I am basically stating that I practice what I preach—and I do, most of the time. Hey, no one is perfect and life has a funny way of presenting opportunities to test my resolve.

Let me provide a little backstory so you’re not flying blind here:

My husband and I have been pursuing legal action against the hospital, where Kristin died after complications arose from her surgery. These complications were completely preventable and led to Kristin suffocating and going into cardiac arrest, to the extent she suffered “complete brain death.” During Kristin’s time in the hospital, we were told by two staff members that the errors leading to her death occurred “during a shift change.” We were, as you can imagine, angry, devastated and determined to find out exactly what happened.

We were pursuing legal action not out of vengeance or to obtain money; it was never about the money. We chose to pursue legal action out of a sense of justice for Kristin and to hold the hospital accountable so that another family would never go through the nightmare of losing a child.

With all of this said, I would be lying if I told you that I did not experience a great deal of rage at times.

I witnessed the trauma my daughter experienced first-hand. I was there for every minute of her ordeal. I was holding her when her heart stopped and the life left her tiny body. I left the hospital that evening numb, in shock and heartbroken.

Prior to my daughter’s death, if you had told me I would someday be able to forgive what happened—that I would be stronger for living through this—I would have told you that you were out of your mind. I would have sworn vengeance and spit venom at the very sound of the hospital’s name.

And, for a time I did those things.

But, if I had continued down that road I would have drowned the light of my daughter’s love with hatred.

So, here was my lightbulb moment. My husband and I received a letter from our attorney stating that they decided not to pursue Kristin’s case because, in a nutshell, they would spend more money than they would receive, even if we won the case. You see, in the state of New York, Kristin’s life was measured against how much she contributed financially to the family. At 16-months-old she had no income. Therefore, the financial gains for the attorneys would be little to nothing.

When I first read the letter it felt like the wind was knocked out of me. The wound of losing her was reopened and there was a moment of utter defeat. I looked at Kristin’s picture and told her that I was sorry. I told her that we tried. I was teetering on the familiar edge of that dark abyss. I could give in to the negative feelings in that moment and jump headfirst into the blackness or I could take a step back and refocus my energies on what really mattered—my promise to her.

I took a step back, took a deep breath and realized that what mattered to me most was telling Kristin’s story; of making people aware of what happened so that maybe, just maybe they could be spared our pain. I knew that in order to tell her story in a voice that would be heard it had to come from a pure place—a place of peace, acceptance and above all else…forgiveness.

I had to walk my talk.

So, I’m putting this out there for all of you to read. I forgive the hospital for the mistakes they made. I forgive the person or people that mixed up Kristin’s med orders. I forgive the attorneys for putting dollar signs above Kristin’s cause.

I forgive them all.  

By forgiving them I am not condoning what happened, or saying that any of it is “right.” I just can’t let the weight of this pull me under. I have too much life left to live and I know that Kristin wouldn’t want me to focus on the hurt and pain.  She was such a happy baby with so much light in her eyes.  So, I accept with body, mind and soul what happened to Kristin. She did not deserve to die the way she did but we cannot turn back time and undo any of it.

I know that no one got up that morning and said, “Today I plan to make a mistake that will kill a child.” I know that nothing anyone says or does will ever bring her back to me, to us. All I can do is carry on in her name, live for her and experience life for her, be a good mother to her sister, and be the kind of woman I would have wanted her to be.  I am walking my talk, step by shaky step. The road may not always be easy. I may falter along the way.  All I know is that with each beat of my heart the scar is there to remind me of my promise.

With each beat of my heart my love for life grows.

I love you Krissy (aka ‘Wee-Nut’)…we all love and miss you every day.

I will keep my promise to you. No matter how deep the pain is I will continue to love. No matter how dark the night gets I will shine your light and put one foot in front of the other.  No matter how many times anger rears its ugly head I will tame it with compassion and humility. No matter how much time passes I will carry you in my heart.

You will never be forgotten.  For you I swear this.

Love will be my compass. 


Photo: (source)

Editor: Dana Gornall