It was an emotional storytime for Barbara Louise Clouse, who returned to the Children’s Inn at NIH on June 20 for the first time since her daughter’s death three years ago.
Children who are living at the Inn, in Bethesda, lounged on bean bag chairs and cuddled with resident therapy dog, Viola, as Clouse read, “The Healing Lodge,” a book she wrote in honor of her daughter, Michelle Louise Brackett.
Michelle was diagnosed with primary liver cancer when she was 23. She spent the next two years at the Children’s Inn while her parents, both remarried, took turns at her side.
Michelle died in 2009.
The Children’s Inn is a nonprofit that provides free housing and activities for families whose ill children are being treated at the National Institutes of Health. the Inn accepts people up to 26 years old.
“I was a stranger from Oklahoma, scared to death and trying to be strong for my daughter,” said Clouse of Muskogee, Okla. “You walk in that door, you’re family.”
Told like a Native American legend,