The Mercy by the Sea Conference site was beautiful, peaceful and the perfect place for a group of hurting moms to come together for retreat, refreshment and renewal.
Before and after the Retreat, I had opportunities for visiting some of my childhood special places, as my family lived in Connecticut and up-state New York from the time I was 4 to 9 years old. My "little" brother, Russ, was born in New London and I have many wonderful memories of this place that I still call "home."
During our time together as moms who have suffered the loss of a child,
I was amazed at the honesty, courage and compassion that exists in the community of the Hearts of Hope moms.
Two very special "moms like me," Ann Starke and Helga Findley, started Hearts of Hope after attending an Umbrella Ministries Retreat for moms several years ago. Ann came away from that Retreat with the words "We have to take hope back with us to Connecticut" and that's just what they have been doing for the past 11 years.
As I meandered around Connecticut, I was reminded of how many woods there are in that part of the Country. Some very old and overgrown, some young and new and the one in this picture was taken close to my friend's, Helga's, house. Peering into these woods reminds me of how I approached death of grieving of my youngest sin, Kevin, 16 years ago. I had no idea what to expect and it is only by the loving movements and actions of God that I made my way through that "wilderness."
What would we do with our grief, if there weren't people who were willing to "comfort others as they have been comforted" after making their way through their personal "wilderness" experience? I dare not think of the unresolved grief issues that would impede upon our lives, and how that unresolved grief would keep us in the "wilderness" far too long.
Stepping into the "wilderness of grief" takes courage, and a willingness to trust that we are not alone, as we invite God to lead the way, And, coming into community with other moms "like us," who know the way through the wilderness, like Hearts of Hope, helps us to find our way through our grief, as we are being comforted and led through the "woods."
If you are grieving and you don't have someone who has made their way through their "wilderness" to come alongside you, please go searching for a grief support group in your area - this "walk in the wilderness" is not one you should make alone - you may just get lost.
With Faith, Hope and Love Always,
Angie "a mom like you"