For the 1 in 4 mothers that do not get the chance to experience holding their baby due to still birth, miscarriage or infant death, child birth is anything but a joyous time. This is the story of Noelle Moore, who had the unfortunate opportunity to become a member of this non-selected, exclusive club when at just 23 days after giving birth to her daughter Finley Elizabeth, the doctors informed her that Finley was brain dead and there was nothing more they could do.
At the end of 3 weeks, sitting bedside every day, praying and believing for a miracle, Noelle had to make the worst decision of her life, to remove Finley from life support. She took her last breath and her eyes opened for the very first time. The blue that filled them was the most beautiful blue Noelle has ever seen. Fortunately, Finley’s story doesn’t end there. She has come to symbolize the hope that it’s possible for grieving moms to pick up the pieces and start leading a meaningful life again after leaving the hospital with empty arms.
“I can remember, after we took her off life support, walking down the hallway, then going down the elevator and feeling like, ‘Where do I go now?’” is how Noelle recalls the first hours after Finley’s death. It only got worse when her husband left her soon after. Noelle was fortunate to have a network of friends and family to support her emotionally and physically.
However, she sensed the support of loved ones wasn’t enough. “I knew I had to get help. I looked for support groups and realized there were few in the area—and no holistic grief programs specializing in helping mothers who had lost an infant. Realizing this was a real need, Noelle started The Finely Project, a non-profit organization that is aimed at providing the type of support Moore wished she had when she lost Finley—support that begins before the mother leaves the hospital and continues as long as it is needed.
The Finley Project follows a seven-part holistic program, among others supporting moms with funeral planning, meal and gift cards, professional house cleaning, professional massage therapy, support group placement and licensed mental health counseling.
Her work on The Finley Project has contributed to Noelle’s own healing. “It keeps me connected to Finley but in a really healthy way, because I’m helping people through her.” Currently there are 26 mothers receiving help from the Finley Project. Although Noelle started this program in Florida her reach and impact is being felt on a national level, with mothers being helped in North Carolina, Colorado, Texas, Louisiana and of course Florida.
Perhaps the greatest testimony to the real life inspiration Finley has become after her death, is this note from a grateful mom who found herself in the same shoes as Noelle: “I just want to say thank you so very much for all these wonderful things you have done for me. It helps to remind me there still are angels in this world that care and love.”