The world lost an incredible mother, wife, daughter, friend, attorney, underprivileged advocate, and community member suddenly and unexpectedly on October 16, 2013. In honor of my late wife, Holli Wallace, I am training for the Hallucination 100 mile trail run and raising money for the Children's Grief Center of the Great Lakes Bay Region.
Thursday, March 24, 2016
Why the Children's Grief Center of the Great Lakes Bay Region?
I think that there is a very reasonable question regarding why I chose the Children's Grief Center of the Great Lakes Bay Region as a the charity to raise money for in Holli's honor. I'm not sure if there is a single answer so much as a confluence of things that just made it the right thing to do. As I sit here looking at old photos of Elliott's part birthdays, I am reminded of what a dedicated mother she was and how important that it was for her children to be nurtured and loved. In fact, it was a mantra that I used frequently to get through the first year. I asked myself what she would have wanted most and the answer was always that the boys be nurtured and loved to the best of my ability. There are some days that I do better than others, but it was and still is a clear goal.
Today, Elliott spent his birthday without his mother. It will be like that for the rest of his life as, of course, it will for Oliver. This isn't a burden that goes away in a year, or two years, or even decades. After today, it will be another holiday, major life event, or life challenge. I'm sure that they will think about it in different ways as they get older, but it will always be there. A hole in their lives. It's a hard thing to watch children grow up without a parent. The truth is that there aren't very many people or places that understand what it is like for a child confronting this type of loss.
We have missed very few support group sessions organized by the Children's Grief Center. Elliott and Oliver never fuss about going and are always glad to go and glad to be there. The staff and volunteers know them well, are exceptionally warm and friendly, and always patient and kind. I know that it is a place where they feel like they belong in a world where they don't quite fit in the same way that they used to.
Elliott and Oliver are certainly testament to the benefits of the Center, but I know that there are more children out there who are facing similar challenges who may not know that the Center is there as a resource. It's a hard thing to confront. Going the first time was hard. It still is sometimes, but the simple truth is I'm not sure where we would go if the Center was not there. I don't know of another place filled with kind, caring staff and volunteers, as well as people who also know what it is like to spend another birthday without a mother. I wish that the boys didn't need to belong to a group like this, but we didn't chose this path and I am grateful to be able to support a group that will help the boys move along it. It's what Holli would have wanted.