At 9:40 p.m. last night, Altso’ nibah Lucy Keeswood passed on. The heartfelt messages on the Facebook page Lucy’s Journey echo the sentiment that Lucy, born October 6, 2012, has been a blessing in the lives of everyone she touched.
Her mother Mashugashon (“Mesha”) Camp (Lakota/Ponca/Hopi) posted this message on Lucy’s Journey:
“My baby Lucy is w my little sister wastewin now and I know she will take good care of her until we are united again…she fought until her last breathe she didn’t want to leave me or her daddy but I know she will always always be w me… her little spirit will always be my strength she.endured so much in a weeks time… I cut my hair and I will cry my tears and spend the next few days getting my Lucy ready for burial at home in MN…”
The family is still in Albuquerque and arranging for a viewing on Sunday. They plan to begin their long journey home to Minneapolis, Minnesota on Monday. Indiegogo.com, a “a crowdfunding platform” that helps people raise money for a campaign or cause, is collecting donations to cover the costs to send Lucy and her family back home. A wake is planned for Tuesday and the funeral is set for Wednesday at the Division of Indian Works in Minneapolis.
Lucy’s father, Sheldon Keeswood Sr. (Navajo/Eastern Band of Cherokee), posted the following message on his Facebook wall:
“I cannot even 2 begin 2 describe how much my heart is hurtn right now, Altso’ nibah Lucy Keeswood, thank u sooo much 4 makn me soooo happy n proud, u touched a lot of hearts baby girl, I am so lost without u, u are my heart n u can’t live without ur heart, I wish u would came back home, back in2 mommy n daddy’s arms, I will 4ever have this hole in my chest til we meet again, I LOVE U 4 ALWAYS MY SWEET BABY LUCY-BAH.”
Lucy was born in Farmington, New Mexico, near the home of Lucy’s grandmother and aunties (on Lucy’s father’s side). Camp and Keeswood had no idea Lucy would be born with any health issues. Immediately after birth, doctors told her parents Lucy had a double cleft palate and double cleft lip. “We were still trying to absorb that information, and then all of a sudden she was flown to Albuquerque, because she can’t breathe,” Keeswood told Indian Country Today Media Network yesterday morning.
At the hospital in Albuquerque, Lucy was diagnosed with Trisomy syndrome, a genetic condition that causes certain organs to shut down. Lucy was suffering from heart failure, but she continued to fight on. Even when doctors removed her medication, heart pump and oxygen, she would start breathing at the sound of her father’s encouragement. “…[E]verytime he talks to her, she’ll come right back to her dad’s voice,” Camp told ICTMN Friday morning.
On the Lucy’s Journey Facebook page—created by Keeswood’s mother and his sisters—family, loved ones and people throughout Indian country sent prayers, blessings and condolences to her parents and everyone touched by Lucy’s life.
Through Facebook, Keeswood’s family provided updates of Lucy’s journey and requested emotional support and financial assistance to cover the unexpected costs of a hotel room for the entire family to be with Lucy at once as she passed on.
“They had us in a little room in the hospital,” Camp said, and only two people could be in the intensive care unit with Lucy at one time. “Neither of us wanted to leave her. We decided it was easier to figure out how to get a room and be with her ourselves rather than one of us taken away.”
Keeswood’s brother sent some money, so the family could get a room for three nights at La Quinta in Albuquerque. They also asked for help through their “I Love Lucy” Well’s Fargo donation account #7939197740 to defray the costs.
The outpour of support helped the family make Lucy’s days on earth as comfortable as possible, and allowed the family to be by her side.
Among the people who visited Lucy at La Quinta was Valerie Taliman, Indian Country Today Media Network’s West Coast Editor. “Gifted with some Food, Toiletries, Toys, & a Baby Pendleton for Lucy from Valerie & friends. Wopila,” wrote Camp on Lucy’s Journey Facebook page.
Camp sent a message to Taliman, “Valerie thank you for everything…our lil warrior was called home tonight at 940 it was so so hard to see her leave but we are lucky she made it into my arms … I am so so blessed.she brought so many wonderful people into our lives..”
A handful of the many heartfelt blessings and prayers posted to Lucy’s Journey Facebook page follow:
From Auntie Shay:
“She fought a good fight, i am so proud of her for making it this far on her journey. We didn’t want to say goodbye so we didn’t only ‘until we meet again’ for it is never goodbye. Our family do appreciate all the good thoughts and prayers you have sent us over the past few days, it’s been hard and together we shall get thru this. Lucy was a blessing that brought so much family and friends together
, she was an angel sent to us and gifted us with her presence. I (shay) couldn’t be more blessed. Se taught me how precious life is and to cherish it. I love you altso’nibah Lucy Keeswood and we shall meet again someday. So many hugs and kisses my beloved girl. Youll be well taken care of by your family up there sweetie. We all love you Lucy.
-love auntie shay.”
From Marcea Carey:
I hope that your entire family feels our love & support wrapped around you like a blanket! Little ones like sweet Lucy are Creators special ones, they bring out the goodness & love in people & unite them! I was a nurse in a pediatric hospital for a long time & cared for babies born with unsurvivable conditions through their short lives & passing. I cried with the families & remember them to this day just as I will remember baby Lucy & all of you! Thank you for sharing this family tragedy with all of us. It’s good to be reminded how precious life is! Many blessings!
From Trina Williams:
Toksa Ake, no word is Lakota for goodbye, just that you will see her again. God bless and thank you for sharing her with us all.
From Lanie Morrow:
“Prayers & blessings to you all for a safe journey back to MN, and to find comfort knowing baby Lucy’s spirit will never leave you.”
From Meverette Swimmerone:
“My heart & prayers are with you and your family as you help your lil one on her journey ,and this new journey for your family , as parents of such a angel is not a easy road , this is when you need to come closer than you’ve ever been , to hold each other tighter than ever before , n be more understanding of each other and your babies here with you , as they are all blessings , may grandfather creator first maker wrap his ever loving arms around your family in this time and the days n years to come , good night sweet baby…..”
Lucy was named after her father’s two grandmothers, Altso Ni Bah and Lucy. Her first name refers to a woman warrior in Navajo; it means “when she’s done with the fight,” Camp said. Her Lakota Indian name is Mah’piya Ata’ninyan Win, meaning “appears in the cloud woman.”