Do you feel caught in a suffocating darkness since the death of your child? Was your faith shattered after God did not step in and spare the life of your son or daughter? Are you looking for other bereaved parents to connect with, who can understand your pain and help you through this nightmare?
You have come to the right place.
Grieving Parents Sharing Hope (GPS Hope) is here to be a light of HOPE in your place of darkness.
Dave and I (Laura) have been there. We get it.
When our daughter, Becca, passed from this earth at age 29 on Oct. 12, 2011, we were devastated, as all parents are. We did not know anyone who had lost a child, could not find any local support groups for parents who were grieving the loss of a child (a different kind of grief than any other) and were left trying to navigate through the swirling dark waters on our own.
As a mother going through intense grief, many books I read left me remaining in the place of hopelessness and despair, and seemed to indicate that it was a land of no return.
With four other children, and two grandchildren at the time (one of them being Becca’s daughter), that just wasn’t acceptable to me. There had to be a way to heal; to stop the intense stabbing pain that left one unable to function for months and years, without forgetting Becca. A way to move forward, not just as a shell of a person waiting to die, but a survivor with something to give, and a full life to live.
A way to honor our daughter with life, not more death.
Our faith in God and belief in His ability to give us hope eventually pulled me out of that deep black hole parents who have lost a child know all too well.
That same faith in God continued to take us beyond hope to where we are today, and where we continue to walk, one day at a time. We will never be the same people we were before the death of our daughter, and will continue to deal with the daily results of the “amputation” of a child missing from our lives here on earth.
But we have learned to persevere and push past the tragic event to live our lives with fullness of purpose and meaning. We are an active part of the lives of our surviving children and growing clan of beautiful grandchildren, our church, and beyond.
Dave and I have a strong desire to connect and form a community with those who are on this same journey, giving them a safe place to share their broken hearts. We want to offer encouragement and extend hope in many different ways to this unique group of parents.
You will find many ways GPS Hope will walk beside you in this unwanted journey:
- Books (I have written myself)
- When Tragedy Strikes: How to Rebuild Your Life With Hope and Healing After the Death of Your Child
- My Grief Journey: A Coloring Book and Journal for Grieving Parents
- Come Grieve Through Our Eyes: How To Give Comfort and Support to Grieving Parents
- Monthly blog Expressions of Hope
- Weekly video blog
- A free member’s library
- Several Facebook pages
- National GPS Hope & Healing Conferences
- Speaking to grief groups
- Coming soon – An on-line When Tragedy Strikes Study for parents who want help on how to apply what is in the book to their lives as grieving parents, and who want to connect on a deeper level with us (aiming to have it available sometime the beginning of 2017)
GPS Hope is also a place for those who know someone who has lost a child, and wants to know how to truly bring comfort and support beyond providing a meal the week of the funeral and doing a balloon launch. (And also what not to say and what not to do!)
Having a child die is like having an amputation. Part of your very being has been cut off. It is painful, and changes our lives for our remaining time here on earth. Our daughter, Becca, had an amputation at three years old, so it is a very personal comparison for us. This means we also saw first-hand how she learned to adapt to the loss and live a very full life. Yes, there were limitations. Yes, we lived with daily reminders she was missing a leg. But she did not allow herself to remain a victim to her loss.
Pareavor – that is the term I have come up with for those of us who have lost a child. How did I come up with this?
“Pa” comes from the word parent: a person who is a father or mother; a person who has a child (Merriam-Webster)
“Reave” comes from the word bereave. The meaning of the actual word “reave” (which the word bereave comes from) is: to plunder or rob, to deprive one of, to seize, to carry or tear away (Merriam-Webster).
“Or”: indicating a person who does something (Wiktionary)
This sounds like a pretty good description of what happens when a child dies, no matter the age of the child. So a “pareavor” is a parent who has been deprived of their child who was seized and torn away from them through death.
As a pareavor, you can learn to live a full life with your child cut off from you. And Dave and I are here to help you in any way we can, through GPS Hope.