Grief is a difficult thing to navigate. Everyone grieves differently, and people respond to tragedy in different ways.
For Nicura Thompson, the only way to swim through the grief of losing her six-week-old son was to give back what she wasn’t able to give to him.
The Utah mom gave birth to her fourth son, Colton, on October 21, 2016. The fiery red-haired boy was born with seven heart defects, and tragically passed away in Nicura’s arms just weeks after being born.
“There are no words to explain holding your child as they struggle to breathe and they take their last breath,” Nicura told TODAY. “There’s no greater pain.”
Though she knew Colton had heart problems, his tragic passing still came as a complete shock.
“He was perfect,” said Nicura. “They said treat him like a normal baby. He was supposed to come home and grow and gain some weight.”
But after suffering a cardiac arrest on November 12, Colton’s health rapidly declined.
“When he became sick, it was a huge shock to us,” Nicura added, having expected him to live until his teen years.“We knew his life would be short. We just didn’t expect it to be that short.”
Since his death on December 2, she has been pumping her breast milk and donating it to other babies, in Colton’s honor.
“I wanted to do something in his name, considering this was his milk; it felt like I was keeping his memory alive through breast-milk donation and helping others.”
The 28-year-old has been pumping four times every day, donating more than 4,600 ounces since her son’s death.
The milk is sent to Colorado for pasteurization and processing before being distributed to mothers in need.
Even though the milk was supposed to be for her son, and he isn’t here anymore, Nicura found comfort in knowing that the milk was not going to waste.
“I thought it would bring sadness, but it really doesn’t. It gives me a sense of relief knowing that it’s going to other children who really really need it.”
She knew how valuable breast milk is to babies who are sick—including her son.
“It’s liquid gold, and these babies need it so desperately.”
Her hope is that other parents who have suffered the loss of a child will know how much good can come from even the worst tragedies. After seeing the incredible ways it has helped her grieve, while also helping others, Nicura encourages other mothers to consider donating their own breast milk.
“As hard as it is to imagine, some good can come out of it.”