SHARE Atlanta Pregnancy and Newborn Grief Support

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"Taking On Wings"

The Angel of “Hope”

Acceptance and Validation for Grieving Parents

-Marcia McGinnis 2001

"So many times our grief is diminished by others who believe that,
because we never rocked our babies to sleep at night,
never sent them off to school or welcomed them back home,
we miss them less than we would an older child who died."
Jennifer Greer, SHARE Atlanta parent

Hope and healing are sought by all who have experienced a loss. ~
Acceptance that our loss is life altering allows us to openly give ourselves “permission to grieve” our baby’s death. Grieving is the first step to healing and the beginning of hope. We seek validation from others in our efforts to accept what has happened to us.

Our loss is significant. ~
After a loss, our sense of hopelessness is compounded when friends and family try to ease our pain - and theirs - by making this experience seem less tragic because we “did not know” our child. Many bereaved parent’s tears fall because a loved parent, sibling or friend will not (or cannot) understand what our baby means to us. As my husband said once, our loss is significant-it causes a change in our life. It then becomes important how we and others respond to this life changing event.

SHARE Atlanta's candlelightings provide comfort and support. ~
At our candlelighting this November, Pam Renner reflected on how the dark corner empty of any light, like a part of our soul after a loss, always glows with light and hope by the end of our meeting. Together we have found some light, peace, hope, and comfort. Then, Terry, a close friend who has joined one of our members at several of our Women’s meetings asked if she could pray.

"Friend of SHARE Atlanta's" prayer highlights the importance of support from those we love. ~
Her offer was from the heart, and I said yes, as long as it was “non-denominational.” Her moving prayer was for healing and peace for the parents who have lost their baby. Then to my amazement, she prayed for understanding, acceptance, and support from friends and relatives. As she prayed, I realized that this is the wish and prayer SHARE Atlanta has had for twenty years and by her words and actions, she herself helped to make this wish true.

SHARE Atlanta volunteer's efforts now embraced by community-at-large. ~
Later, her beautiful prayer made me think about all the miracles that have increased the acceptance and quest for hope within the pregnancy loss community. Through the efforts of SHARE volunteers such as Karen Gipson, Jennifer Greer, Lynne Anderson, Pam Slayback, Roger and Taylor Deane (too many to name-look at our Volunteer list on our Angel Menu) SHARE Atlanta’s “Pregnancy and Newborn Loss” issues have been increasingly recognized.

We now have doctors and community workers who refer patients to us. And with Arlington Memorial Park’s willingness to opened its gates to our bench and garden in 1997 and 11Alive’s Wes Sarginson’s first documentation of this event for the “Volunteer Group of the Week,” our local community has gradually accepted our support group.

Wes Sarginson, 11Alive's evening anchor, and Arlington Park Cemetery's support is very important for validation and outreach. ~
The local connection has continued with both Arlington’s and Wes’ support in the Angel of Hope. Every non-SHARE Atlanta participant and donor of materials or time, who joined us for the project or the dedication validated that our losses are significant. Their willingness and generosity was greatly appreciated and meant much to all of us who remember a time when few would even listen to our cause.

The Clontzs, the Keens, and other SHARE Atlanta volunteers bring angel to Atlanta. ~
SHARE Atlanta members Chris and Terry Clontz, our angel’s benefactors, specified that the angel was to be in Babyland, as our board also wished, because many of our babies have no burial place and many of our parents are not recognized as parents who have lost a child. Joe and Polly, also SHARE Atlanta parents, designed our angel’s garden to be placed in Babyland because that is where our pathway and bench are. Bringing the angel to Atlanta was a very special miracle showing support from many directions.

Dunwoody Crier highlights angel and further validates our cause. ~
The Dunwoody Crier, as they did four years ago for our bench and garden dedication, further embraced our cause by including a colored picture of our angel and a wonderful article which included Polly’s quote: “People are becoming aware that these losses are very significant losses... People are more public about it, and it’s more acceptable to talk about it now.”

Richard Paul Evan's captures the message of healing that SHARE Atlanta wishes as a gift to bereaved parents. ~
I feel that with acceptance comes healing. As Richard Paul Evan’s said in his keynote speech, “For all of us who have losses in our lives, [this memorial] should be a very hopeful thing. This is a celebration. This is not about commiseration. This is about healing.”

The Story of SA's Angel Garden & Memorial Bricks

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