OKC Spotlight: Kids Joining Eternity

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At Oklahoma City Moms Blog we feel there are incredible not-for-profit organizations and resources right here in our community. They support different needs of OKC families, mothers, and children and we’d like to help spread the word about them.  Here is a little bit more information about one of these organizations:: Kids Joining Eternity.

By Melanie Edwards, Co-Founder and Executive Director

It’s almost time for Mother’s Day again and I know there are some of you who can’t wait to hear those three, magical words: “Happy Mother’s Day!”  For the rest of you, those words are harsh reminders of what you won’t ever hear from your un-born baby or ever hear again from your child.  I would like to challenge those of you who have a tough time on Mother’s Day, to try and look at it as a new journey.  Kids Joining Eternity can provide that first foot forward in helping you deal with the death of your baby and/or small child and help you get started on your new way of life.

Melanie lost her sweet baby girl at 33.5 weeks along.
Melanie lost her sweet baby girl at 33.5 weeks along.

I co-founded, along with my husband, Kids Joining Eternity, a local nonprofit formed with the intent to help parents, siblings, family members, friends and caregivers come to terms with the loss of a child whether it be through miscarriage, stillborn loss, sudden infant death, and/or chronic childhood illness. We lost a stillborn little girl back in October of 2005 when I was 33 ½ weeks along. We feel the key is joining experiences and providing HOPE or Helping Other People Evolve along their journey when grieving. On www.griefwatch.com in an article, “Normal Reactions to Loss” by Pat Schwiebert, it stated the following about ways people try and decrease stress:

-35% decrease stress by writing thoughts and feelings

-35% decrease stress by talking into a tape recorder (any kind of recording device) while listening decreased by another 5%

-25% decrease stress by walking the equivalency of a mile a day

-50% decrease stress by talking and sharing with people who don’t judge or advise

In looking at these percentages, I created activities and events for the moms, dads, families, and caregivers to participate in. Kids Joining Eternity offers Bible studies using the book, Grieving the Child I Never Knew which meets weekly, we have a walking group that meets every month called Moms Moving Forward, we have trained Key Contacts who will call and meet anytime for Coffee & Conversation, we make and provide HOPE baskets in person and/or mail care packages to those moms who are struggling, just to name a few of the things we do for those who find themselves with empty arms.

As with other things that happen in life, unless you have been through the same situation yourself, not everyone can relate to how that completely changes you inside and out.  In an effort to prepare you, the five worst comments you moms who have lost a child might hear are:

  1. “It happened for the best.”
  2. “Don’t worry, you can have another baby.”
  3. “You didn’t really know the baby, so it’s not like losing a child who has lived with you a while.”
  4. “I know exactly how you feel.”
  5. “What are you going to do now?”

Those reading this article now also know what not to say, so don’t. You can also help by educating other moms and friends around you. Some of the things to say to a hurting mom instead might be:

  1. “I’m so sorry. I know how much you wanted to have that baby.”
  2. “It’s okay to cry.”
  3. “Would you like to talk about it?”
  4. “Is there anything I can do for you?”
  5. “May I call you back in a few days to see how you are doing?”

When meeting moms we are trying to provide assistance for, I always start by telling them this one important thing. “You will still be you, just a different you.”   I can remember plainly thinking I just wanted to be and feel like myself again and have everyone around me treat me the same even though I knew it would never again be the same. I ran across this poem titled, Shoes, which depicts what moms who have suffered the death of a baby go through and gives great insight along their journey of dealing with the grief over time.

Shoes

I am wearing a pair of shoes. They are ugly shoes, uncomfortable shoes. I hate my shoes.

Each day I wear them, and each day I wish I had another pair.

Some days my shoes hurt so bad that I do not think I can take another step.

Yet, I continue to wear them.

I get funny looks wearing these shoes. They are looks of sympathy.

I can tell in others eyes that they are glad they are my shoes and not theirs.

They never talk about my shoes.

To learn how awful my shoes are might make them uncomfortable.

To truly understand these shoes you must walk in them.

But, once you put them on, you can never take them off.

I now realize that I am not the only one who wears these shoes.

There are many pairs in this world.

Some women are like me and ache daily as they try and walk in them.

Some have learned how to walk in them so they don’t hurt quite as much.

Some have worn the shoes so long that days will go by before they think about how much they hurt.

No woman deserves to wear these shoes.

Yet, because of these shoes I am a stronger woman.

These shoes have given me the strength to face anything.

They have made me who I am.

I will forever walk in the shoes of a woman who has lost a child.

                                                                              Author:  Unknown

Visit www.kidsjoiningeternity.org to learn more about how we can help you. It just takes that one, first step and you are on your way. And then, one day soon, you will be able to not only hear but say those three words, “Happy Mother’s Day!” and actually mean them.  Until then, keep on walking.  For those who know us moms mapping our new route, walk beside us.

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