What began for Matt as a means of working through his emotions became something more. According to an AP story, while Bowen was still confined to the hospital in his early days,
the couple played demos of the songs Hammitt had written "so Bowen could hear his dad's voice," his wife said. Night-shift nurses often turned up the music when most families would leave for the evening.
"They felt it was good for all the babies to be soothed," Sarah said. "We'd come back in the morning and it'd be really loud."
Hammitt recorded the songs for the album soon after the family brought Bowen home to suburban Toledo. His only unease was that they might be critiqued like any other work.
"Originally I just wanted them recorded for us at the hospital," he said. "I realized they're meant to comfort other people too."
So far, the response has been what he hoped for. They've even received notes from parents who've played the songs at their children's funerals.
Now, the Hammitts want to take their work a step further by starting the Whole Hearts Foundation, a source of financial, emotional and spiritual help for families with children suffering from congenital heart defects. They see the foundation becoming their life's work.
The now one year old Bowen has more trouble ahead. There are still more surgeries planned for next year, and, even in the best scenario, he will likely need an entirely new heart once he reaches adulthood. For those who are interested in keeping track of the Hammitt family as Bowen continues to struggle and grow, the family is keeping the world updated. The album, Every Falling Tear, was released in September.