This week, I was able to volunteer with Cherishing the Journey, the charity that provided the Memory Box to me at the hospital. I have been following them on Facebook for the last several weeks. Jennifer, the founder, helped to set me up with a Mentor Mom who I can just meet and chat with. Through Jennifer and the facebook page, I knew they were putting together boxes this week and I wanted to help. It was just something I had to do. It meant so much to me to receive mine, I wanted to be a part of bringing some sort of comfort to another woman in her darkest hour. I wanted to be a part of her knowing that she is not alone and that people care about her and her journey.
In the span of three hours, we assembled 24 boxes, 12 "girl" boxes and 12 "boy" boxes. The main difference between the two is the design on the outside of the boxes and the colors of the ribbons used inside. I tied colored ribbon onto clay disks that would later hold the footprint of someone's angel. I worked on organizing the poems and balloons that suggest a healing balloon release to the grieving family. I also made tiny beaded bracelets to wrap around the wrist of the teddy bear inside the box, which can then be placed on the baby's wrist for pictures if desired. The most healing moment for me though was this one:
At the time of Kenley's death, many friends and family members donated to Cherishing the Journey. Each box costs about 50 dollars to assemble. My people were able to raise enough to donate 10 boxes. I wrote out ten of these cards and placed one in ten boxes. The first three cards were tough to get through. I had to pause often while writing to collect myself. But then, it got easier. I was remembering my baby girl and doing good in her name. My heart felt a little lighter - even for just a few moments.
I met some very wonderful women as well. All of them Mothers of Loss. All of them hurt but carrying on. We shared our stories and showed each other pictures of our babies. Again, it's a sisterhood I never wanted to be a part of, yet am still so grateful it exists. We walk hand in hand and lean on each other's shoulders.
I will continue to volunteer with this charity whenever I can. I know being a part of this will help me heal, and I believe in the great purpose of their endeavors.