I will be raising funds for The Compassionate Friends, an organization that provides free bereavement materials to parents who are surviving the loss of a child at any stage of life. In addition, The Compassionate Friends have over 660 support group chapters nationwide for parents (siblings and grandparents, too) who have experienced this life altering loss.
I had the opportunity yesterday to have lunch with Alan Pedersen, the Executive Director of The Compassionate Friends. Alan lost his beautiful daughter, Ashley, and turned his grief into something beautiful. That has been my goal since we lost Wylie. I knew that I could either curl up and die or I could do something meaningful on behalf of her short but beautiful life and so, even when the days (and mostly nights) seem unbearably hard, I try to do just that. Alan and I were able to speak about loss in the form of miscarriage, stillbirth and infant loss. We talked about how to make these losses less isolating for the parents experiencing them. We talked about how to provide adequate support for parents who need it. And we talked about these things using the names of our children which is a gift in itself when living in a society that would prefer we sweep all this under the rug and let it all go unsaid.
But I'm saying it. I am using my voice to be Wylie's voice. I am standing up and saying that I have a daughter named Wylie Meadow Joly and her heart was broken and she died, but she existed. She existed and she mattered and I will remember her until the day that I die. She leaves behind a big brother who would have been the greatest big brother the world knew, a little boy whose love, compassion and kindness knows no bounds.
It's not every day that the Executive Director of an organization comes from California to your little South Florida suburb and invites you for lunch to talk about how to help people. But that's how The Compassionate Friends works: they want to help people and, selflessly, they do just that. No matter how long ago your loss was, no matter how fresh the wound, no matter the age of the child you lost, no matter if said child never took it's first breath, they are there to remind you that you're not alone. Maybe that sounds a little insignificant but as a parent who had one day to hold the body of my beautiful daughter, there is nothing more significant than that.
On November 22nd at 8 a.m. EST, I will be kicking off this year's Blogging To Remember Blogathon. I will be blogging once every thirty minutes for 24 hours straight to raise funds for The Compassionate Friends. No donation is too small and every dollar helps. For every $5 you donate, you're eligible to win a whole bunch of great prizes. We have had over $1,500 in prizes donated this year, including items from Arvowear watches, Planetbox, The Printed Palette, Ben & Jerry's and Keurig. A full list of prizes being donated can be found on the main page of my Blogging To Remember homepage.
To donate, to learn more about the Blogathon, my family, The Compassionate Friends and other FAQ's, hop on over to Blogging To Remember. I appreciate your continued support and I can't wait to do big things for this year's Blogathon!