Empty Arms Bereavement

Community Spotlight Series: Emy Collins

1) Could you share your connection to Empty Arms and how you first discovered this organization?

I got connected with Empty Arms very soon after my son, Bash, died in November of 2018. When I first met Carol, she said she could tell I was very loved because of the number of people who reached out on my behalf. I knew the moment I met Carol for the first time in the super cozy Empty Arms office that I was more likely to survive this devastating loss with people like her by my side. It was only about two weeks after Bash’s death that I went to support group for the first time. I haven’t looked back since. 

2) What motivates you to stay involved?

Bash motivates me. My living child motivates me. I’m motivated by my deep desire to figure out how to make meaning of my loss, and our collective losses. Being involved with Empty arms soothes a part of my soul that few other things can reach. It also gives me purpose and helps enormously in my healing process. I believe I have a lot to offer other bereaved parents as someone who experienced this loss as a single, low-income, woman of color. I’m drawn to caring for my community, and Empty Arms allows me to do that in a way I never imagined possible.

3) What do you do for a living?

I’m currently a full-time college student, so I’ve drastically cut back on my “for a living” work. Up until the pandemic shut schools down, I wrangled children at a non-profit school-aged childcare program, had a housecleaning business, and worked with an incredibly talented catering company. I’m hoping that I’ll be able to return to a couple of these jobs by this summer. For now, I nanny some really fun little humans. Recently, I started doing bedside companion work with Empty Arms. I knew very early on in my loss journey that I wanted to be a bedside companion, and when Carol approached me with the offer I jumped at the chance. It’s really hard work, but even more so, it’s really important work. I feel honored to be in the position to offer my support and experience to other loss families in my community.

4) How do you spend your personal time and what do you like to do for fun?

At the beginning of quarantine, I taught myself how to embroider and I really enjoy that. I’m also really good at it. Lately, I’ve been spending a lot of time snuggled up watching movies with my fiance, daughter, and our impossibly cute cat. I love to cook, and in an attempt to spend less money on takeout, I’ve been making some of our favorite restaurant foods. School takes up a good deal of my time, but I try to get outside, read for fun, and make art as much as possible. We love to spend time with our extended family, and we’re hopeful that it’ll be much safer to do that more often in the coming months. 

5) It’s odd to some that we share tears and laughter in this line of work! Any funny stories or anecdotes you’re willing to share?

I can’t think of one story in particular, but I love laughing with my Empty Arms family; it’s healing. I’ve got a pretty twisted sense of humor and can literally joke in any situation, so it’s not hard for me to laugh in meetings or during private conversations about our babies. There’s one fellow loss mama who I like to joke with about how sassy and troublesome Bash and her baby would’ve been. We’re certain the two of them would be the kids causing all kinds of trouble on the playground and at birthday parties. 

6) What are YOUR HOPES for this year?

My biggest hope for this year is that we’ll get to a point where it’s safe enough to return to some level of normalcy. I miss physically being with people something awful! I also really hope to continue to learn and grow as a companion, a friend, mother, partner, and person in general. This year, I also want to figure out how to memorialize Bash more publicly. Overall, I want us to all find more joy and peace throughout this year, and always.

Emy Collins Turquoise!! .jpeg

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