Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Love Beats Hate

Dear Friendos,

Thank you for visiting & supporting the Love Beats Hate blogging event today!   My sincere gratitude to Jeanne & Diana for their hard work organizing the event.  Thank you to all of the participating bloggers & everyone who helped spread the love. You rock.

I've been thinking for days about the power of love in anticipation for today's post.  I recalled an organization I discovered a few years ago while researching for my thesis on mother loss.  The nonprofit organization Mommy's Light Lives On was started by Mary Murphy, a mother facing terminal cancer, who wanted to help her son prepare for life without her.  Together, they decided he would continue a family tradition each year in her memory--baking Christmas cookies.  Mary knew continuing this fun tradition would comfort her son in her absence.  She was inspired to share this idea with other bereaved families & started the Mommy's Light Lives On Fund in October 1997.  Sadly, Mary passed away two & a half months later.

Maintaining Mary's vision, Mommy's Light has continued to grow over the years.  Their mission statement (taken from their website) is:
"Mommy's Light brings joy and comfort to children and teens by helping them keep alive traditions and simple pleasures they shared with their mothers.  To support young people in adapting to their mothers' illnesses or deaths, Mommy's Light's key initiatives include: (1) free Tradition Fulfillment Services to eligible children and teens; and (2) the development and distribution of education and outreach materials targeting grieving children and the adults who are likely to interact with them." 

Mommy's Light volunteers meet with the children & families to discuss their fondest traditions.  They pay attention to the details of the memories in order to recreate their custom in the most meaningful way.  Traditional fulfillment services keep memories alive & provide comfort & support to children as they grieve.  They provide a way for bereaved children to feel close to their mothers & continue important family activities in their absence.  It opens the dialog for children to talk about their moms & the feelings they are experiencing.  You can click here to read some of the beautiful traditions facilitated by Mommy's Light.

The outreach materials are another invaluable service to families.  There is a silence that tends to surround children who have lost their mother.  The adults in their lives are also grieving a tremendous loss.  It is important to know how to talk & interact with bereaved children to help them process their grief and learn to live with their loss.

I understand the impact of mother loss; my mom died when I was five years old.  I vividly remember the silence & loneliness that accompanied my loss.  I quickly realized how uncomfortable my situation made others.  No one knew what to say or do, so usually they said & did nothing.  I'm not complaining.  It wasn't that they didn't care.  They avoided the topic to protect me.  And I seemed fine on the outside.  I learned to deal with my grief & pain in silence.  So I can imagine the comfort the tradition fulfillment service & outreach education would have brought to me & my family.

 My Momma & Me

I am so inspired by the love left behind by Mary Murphy.  She created a legacy of love, not only for her son, but for numerous other grieving children & families.

This is an amazing example of how communities, both in-person & online, can offer support & love to those in need.  When I was a child, I wasn't able to search for online communities & information to help me deal with losing my mom.  Instead, I drifted alone.  Thanks to organizations like Mommy's Light, children do not have to feel isolated in their grief.  They can learn how to celebrate their mother's love & keep her close to their hearts.

Visit their website for more information.  If you know a child who has experienced mother loss, they can provide you with ways to offer your support.  If you'd like to learn more about mother loss, I also encourage you to visit Hope Edelman's website.  Hope inspired my thesis & has done incredible research on motherless daughters.  I highly recommend her books & articles.  I found comfort & healing through the pages of her books.  She shares her story & the stories of other motherless daughters, normalizing the feelings & grief bereaved children of all ages experience.  Hope also serves on Mommy's Light's Advisory Board.   Click here to read a letter from Hope to Mommy's Light, describing why she supports their organization. 

Please visit the other blogs taking part in this event today!  Click here for a list of participating bloggers.  I hope Love Beats Hate has brightened your day & inspired you to share the love.

The truth is, love does beat hate.  Love prevails.  Not even death can stop love.

With Love,
Your Friendo Jenn

"A new command I give you:  Love one another.  As I have loved you, so you must love one another."  John 13:34

Hate doesn't stand a chance against love.