Resources for those experiencing the agonizing journey through loss and sorrow.
“All the art of living lies in the fine mingling of letting go and holding on.”
— Havelock Ellis
Whether you have walked with a friend, family member, or neighbor through grief, or you have suffered grief yourself, you know the devastation, pain, and suffering, accustomed to those who have lost someone or something. These local organizations provide support and resources to help guide you in finding comfort and peace in times of mourning.
Forever Footprints is a non-profit, volunteer-driven, organization that specializes in supporting parents who have lost a baby through pregnancy or infancy. Statistics have calculated that one in four women have lost a baby, and Forever Footprints has developed 3 specific ways in order to help these grieving parents through: support, education, and remembrance.
Support groups meet monthly and are led by licensed therapists who specialize in infant and pregnancy loss. These groups bring community to parents who are suffering, and through shared experiences enable them to find healing. Forever Footprints also provides education for parents through their Memory Boxes aimed at helping parents navigate through their loss. Forever Footprints distributes 5,000 boxes each year through local hospitals who staff labor and delivery nurses and doulas who are trained in bereavement. These boxes contain specific resources such as a teddy bear, blanket, cap, and other items they can use to help them through on the road to healing.
Remembrance for babies who have perished is done primarily through an event called OC Walk to Remember. At this event, parents, grandparents, siblings, and friends, are given the opportunity to surround and support the families who have lost a pregnancy or child by walking the steps their babies will never be able to walk. Parents submit the name of their baby on a memorial wall and the names of each baby is read aloud. Following the memorial is a celebration. The 14th Annual OC Walk to Remember will take place Saturday, October 13, 2018, at The District in Tustin.
In addition to this event, moms can participate in OC Nurture to Remember which takes place in May and is a day where moms, and the medical professionals who care for them, can connect while taking advantage of some play and pampering. Dads can participate in OC Golf to Remember which takes place in July and is great way for these dads to connect and support each other.
For more information, or to financially support Forever Footprints, please visit their website at: www.foreverfootprints.org.
Our House OC is a nonprofit organization with 26 years of experience which provides the community with grief support services, education, resources, and hope for children, teens, and adults who need help coping with the loss of someone they know. Our House has over 250 professionally trained and supervised volunteers who contribute more than 17,000 volunteer hours annually throughout Orange and Los Angeles County.
On unique avenue of healing is Camp Erin which is the largest national bereavement program for youths ages 6-17 who are grieving the death of a significant person in their lives. This free weekend provides a high energy experience in a traditional camp setting combined with grief education. Kids who attend are provided with the opportunity to share their stories in a safe environment where they learn that they are not alone. Also, in this environment they develop coping skills and tools to assist them with their emotional pain, and make lasting friendships with others who are in similar circumstances. Camp Erin Orange County takes place on July 20-22, 2018.
Support groups in Orange County who provide care and healing for those of all ages and in various stages of grief and experience are ongoing throughout the year. Each group is hosted by grief support professionals who bring clarity and insight to the emotional roller-coaster one experiences with the death of someone they know. Our House also offers a clinical team who connects with local schools and take grieving kids through a 10-week course. These schools are typically identified by the students who attend Camp Erin or can provide services if the administration is interested in having the program launch at their school.
Another program Our House offers is their “On Site Grief Response.” Clinical teams are made available for a limited time when tragedy strikes a business, or school and where many people are affected by the death of someone with whom they worked or attended school. These teams offer support and care to groups as a whole and follows up with ongoing care for individuals when necessary.
“No one recovers from grief. Grief is a natural process and reaction after death, and the duration and intensity varies,” states Burgandie Onekea, executive director for Our House OC. That’s why they are passionate about providing a place of hope and healing to those who are suffering.
If you would like more information about Our House, or want to discover ways that you can help, please visit their website at: ourhouseoc.org.
By Linda Vujnov