May is just around the corner and I would like to formally invite you to our annual May gathering for the Empty Arms community. Our event is going to be different this year. Our walk, which began as a fundraiser to purchase a lending library seven years ago, has truly transformed into a community event in which we all come together to share in our loss, our courage, and our progress. We felt that the part of the walk that was the most important last year was our community picnic that followed, and so this year we are organizing a memorial with a picnic to follow, without the organized walk. We hope you’ll still wear your t-shirts! (and if you don’t have a t-shirt and want one, contact Jean at email@example.com)
As always, we will gather on the Saturday before Mother’s Day at 11 AM. (May 10). This year we will start at John Bator Park at the Children’s memorial– the Angel of Hope statue. We will have a short program there where we will read the names of all the babies we will be missing that weekend (and always). Families will be given a white rose to place at the feet of the statue when their baby’s name is read. We are looking for community members to contribute to this brief ceremony, so if you have a poem or song to share, please let us know.
From there, we will journey up the hill (.8 miles, you can walk or drive) and have a community picnic at a pavilion in Nonotuck Park. Ours is the first pavilion on the right when you enter the park. We are hoping for donations of dessert or salad and Empty Arms will provide the main course.
Please send the invitation around to anybody special to you who you would like to be part of this special day. Typically, people invite and bring family members and friends who were very supportive of them at the time of their loss. Please note that the memorial is at 11 and the picnic at 12, so it’s possible to invite people to one or the other if that is more appealing to you. Also, if you feel moved to suggest it, we welcome families to make donations in memory of a baby/babies to honor a mother on Mother’s Day. Donors and honorees will be listed in a program for the event.
I always like to remind the newly bereaved in particular that this is an event to which all current and past members are invited, which means that there will be babies and possibly pregnant mothers there. While in the past I have heard folks say that seeing group members in that state can be encouraging, knowing what they’ve been through, I also know that being around pregnancy and babies can be extremely difficult. Please let me know if you need support around this.
As always, “We’re so sorry you’re here, but we’re so glad you found us”. I look forward to reconnecting with many of you on May 10th at 11 AM.