Aug. 28, 2007, that was the day that changed our lives forever. That day our Son John passed away. When you become a parent no one tells you what to expect if your child passes away, the knots in your stomach, the anxiety, the anger, can’t sleep, can’t eat, the loss of memory, starring in space, loss of time and the list goes on. I did not know how I was going to make it through each and every night. I just wanted to be with Johnny. So he would not be alone. I was going crazy emotionally and physically. Then someone mentioned the Canadian Mental Health Bereavement program. They said it was a closed group setting just for parents who have lost children, children of any age, any way. So I first met up with Colleen Compo, the bereavement specialist, who was and still is my savior. I attended the group, I hated to go, but I went again and again, then I began running there because everything that everyone was saying in that group was exactly how I was feeling. Finally a safe place where we could talk, repeat ourselves over and over again, cry, scream, say whatever we wanted and everyone was doing the same. I continued going every second week, not missing any because I didn’t want to miss not one single thing someone might say to help me get through the next week, month and now years. Now I help facilitate other parents, don’t get me wrong, the pain in my heart is still there, will always be there, it just isn’t as sharp as it was the first few years. Now I know exactly how a parent is feeling the first time they enter our group. Canadian Mental Health has been my lifeline, helping me cope with the “new normal” my life has taken on. If you know anyone who has experienced the loss of a child, no matter what age or how long their child has been gone for please recommend our bereavement group, they will definitely thank you for it. Right now we have approximately 24 parents in group. Some have lost their child just recently and for others its been a few years. We are safe in our group, say and feel any emotion that you are experiencing. In order to keep the group going we count on fundraising. I run the Detroit Marathon and collect pledges. CMHA is now the first Canadian Charity in memory of my son, John Wood Jr. Please help to keep our group going. It is such an important lifeline for all of us but we need your support. Give every bereaved parent hope, Hope to know that one day, one day it will not hurt as bad as it does at this moment. The pain will never go away, there is no such thing as "getting over it" or "closure" but there is such a thing as "reconciling" "learning to live with our pain" giving parents some tools to help all of us know that we are not alone. I thank you from the bottom of my heart.
My goal this year is to raise $5,000.00 through crowdrise.