A Telling Time

Twelve Days of Cape Illuminates a Local Family’s Pain

We all struggle with life’s hardships. At some point, at some time, life inevitably deals a hand that nearly breaks us. But we survive and go on to become stronger, more loving and understanding individuals. During the early autumn of 2009, the Hibbs family of Paducah survived a painfully heart- wrenching experience which no parent— no family—ever wishes to live through. That story lives on for the Hibbs family and others in the new book, Twelve Days of Cape, a remembrance written by Mike and Kathy Hibbs.

The day of September 30 started a series of events that would forever change the Hibbs family. Mike Hibbs, grandfather and co-writer of the book, describes how his daughter Jennifer suffered from preeclampsia during her pregnancy. “Everything was fine,” Mike said, at his office at Hibbs Insurance Agency in Lone Oak. “Little Gracie was a beautifully formed, precious child. Nothing she or her mother did caused what eventually happened.”

During her 34th week, Jennifer suffered from a placental abruption, placing both mother and child in critical condition.  Although this took place in Paducah, she was airlifted to Saint Francis Medical Center in Cape Girardeau, MO.  There, for twelve days, the Hibbs family lived through the pain of nearly losing Jennifer, and the tragic eventual loss of granddaughter Gracie.  Thankfully, Jennifer survived, despite having needed 22 units of blood in a 24-hour period.

While at Saint Francis, Mike describes how the family became “of the place.”

“We were only there for twelve days,” Mike says, smiling while summoning one positive memory from a sea of bad, “but it seemed like twelve months.” They began knowing doctors and staff members by their first names. People cared for them—helped them like loving, caring humans should.

Mike Hibbs is a man of great faith—a man who gives much credit to God in delivering his family from torment and in bringing them sense from the insensible.  When we asked what exactly prompted him to begin writing, he answers, “I wanted others to know her and remember her. Her entrance into this world was a tragic event not brought on by her.” With tears in his eyes and a finger pointing toward the sky, Mike admits that it was all “in His hands.”

“It is He that holds tightly onto you when you cannot hold onto him, he never lets go. While your world is crumbling all around you, it is He who shows you his love, his Grace during these times.”

Mike’s words and his family’s experience are the principle focus of Twelve Days of Cape. The book encapsulates a universal theme understood by all people: the difficulties in making sense of life’s hardships. It will touch all who read it.

Published this June, Twelve Days of Cape can now be found online at www.twelvedaysofcape.com and in the lobby of Hibbs Insurance. Proceeds from the book benefit many of those involved with Twelve Days of Cape: Saint Francis Hospital Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, Western Baptist Hospital Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, and Lone Oak First Baptist Church Children’s Ministry. Jennifer and her husband Eric also began a 5K run in honor of their daughter. Gracie’s Hope and Hearts Run benefits Missing GRACE Foundation, a nonprofit organization dedicated to helping families who have experienced pregnancy loss, infertility issues, and adoption challenges.