One year ago, on October 15, 2017, a small group met for the first time. No one knew each other and as one young couple stated, “We felt so alone in our struggles and although walking through the door was tough, it was the best decision we could have made.”
What brought these young parents together? Everyone had lost a child and all were struggling with grief. They gathered to attend the newly formed community- based grief support group “Lochans’ Hope” for parents and families that have lost a child.
“Lochlan’s Hope” was one of the funding requests made to the Dorothy Clingman Mission Grant. Lochlan was just four months old when he died and his family wanted to help those grieving know there were others who care about them and that they were not alone on their grief journey.
With the Holy Spirit guiding us, we came up with a plan in no time at all. We partnered with Mattson and Robert’s Funeral Homes and made a memory box that would be passed out by the funeral homes to parents losing a child from miscarriage to age 20 years old. The box contains a prayer shawl, sun-catcher, candle, angel teddy bear, two resource books, “The Next Place” and “Permission to Mourn” and a personal card telling them they are not alone and we are there to help them.
The second part of the program was to develop a grief support group for parents who have lost a child. A resource phone number and an email address to find out more information about the grief support group as well as a card from the parents currently attending the grief support group is also in the box. The Clingman Grant funds the memory boxes.
As one of our parents related,” This group has really helped my anxiety and has provided me a safe haven to speak openly and honestly about losing our son. Being able to do so has helped me on my healing process”. And, another parent shared, "The group offered me a space where I felt a connect right from the time I joined. It has now become an hour that I am grateful for and look forward to each month.”
Another described the group as “a safe non-religious meeting of people who understand what you’re feeling, are there to hear your story and give you a safe environment to open up without judgement. We truly enjoy going and it has helped us realize although our loss will never change, we are never alone."
What’s next for this group? These kind, loving parents want to give back and help others.
On October 15th they are planning a “Wave of Light Ceremony” for families who have experienced the loss of a child. The event will be held at Lakeside Park in Forest Lake, beginning with a short program at 6:30 pm, followed by The Wave of Light Ceremony to unite friends around the globe in lighting candles to honor the memories of the sons, daughters, brothers, sisters and grandchildren who have left too soon.
The continuous chain of light encompasses and spans across the world and around the globe for a 24-hour period illuminating the night in love and light in honor and remembrance of our children. Attendees will be given a candle to light and take home with them to honor and remember their child. Refreshments will be served and attendees will be given the opportunity to talk to members of our group about their loss and invited to our next grief support group on October 22nd at 12:00 noon in the library at Faith Lutheran Church.
Information is available on Facebook. If you have lost a child, or you know others who have, please contact them and invite them to this event.