By: Debbie Cochran
AHHHHH! Spring has definitely sprung! The air is warm, flowers are blooming, and signs of new life are all around us. For most, these are beautiful reminders of the season. For those who have suffered the loss of a baby, these can be painful reminders that the new precious life they were expecting is gone from them, way too soon. At Share, we strive to stay tuned in to those things that may at times seem to magnify feelings of loss and walk alongside families, supporting them through the journey.
In this season, we also acknowledge those special days set aside to honor parenthood—Mother’s Day and Father’s Day. These are days that can be especially hard for mothers and fathers who do not have their little ones to hold and celebrate with. We want to help families experience their role as parents in ways that may now be drastically different than they had anticipated, yet are so significant to their healing and hope for their future.
Recently, we celebrated what has become an annual event designed to help bereaved mothers create a special bracelet as a mementos during Mother’s Day season in honor of their baby. It is lovely to see mothers, grandmothers, sisters and friends gather as women supporting one another through grief and remembrance. Many of our chapters throughout the country have created similar events and opportunities as ways to assure grieving parents are recognized, cared for and honored as mothers and fathers even if they are not physically holding and parenting their child. We invite you to share with us things you have done or that others have done for you to honor you as a parent. In this way we can be helpful to one another as a community of support.
As we proceed through this important year of celebrating 40 years of Share, we have been enjoying the reflections that have been shared with us from families who have been served by Share through the years. In the basement of the National Share office, there are some treasured items that belonged to Sr. Jane Marie Lamb as she began her work establishing Share. To the outward observer, it doesn’t appear to have value, but to us, the pages of her meticulous handwritten notes (before computers) give us a glimpse of her devotion to every detail designed to offer the best care to grieving parents. We consider it a privilege to carry her mission forward.
Our upcoming Angel Ball, scheduled for May 20th this year, offers another way to honor our legacy and serves for many parents as a reunion with Share staff and families they have shared experiences with. This year, we are honored to have as our guests Sr. Jamesine and Sr. Evelyn, who are biological sisters of Sr. Jane Marie Lamb. They are looking forward to this event to honor their sister and the legacy of caring she created.
While we celebrate our heritage and history of caring, we do so by continuing to abide by a mantra Sr. Jane established in “listening to the voices of our parents” as the most reliable guide to continuing to improve our care and support. As wise as Sr. Jane was, I doubt she could have predicted the vast and rapid changes in technology affecting the way people in 2017 are accessing information. This reality has directed us to transform some of our resources into online formats our families can not only access but interact with. One such change is this very newsletter you are reading. Beginning with our next issue, July/August 2017, our Sharing Magazine will be published in an online format. We are hoping this change will allow more opportunity for the helpful information provided to be easily accessed by families and caregivers.
We welcome you into our community of support regardless of where you are in your journey of healing. One of the things we have learned over the years in serving families is the continued feeling of isolation that often accompanies loss. We have been told that “Share offers a safe place to grieve and people to grieve with.” We are so honored to uphold that legacy and consider it our extreme honor to serve our families and witness the beautiful journey of healing. As a part of our Share family, we continue to keep you in our hearts, even if we have not yet met you.
Debbie Cochran, RN