Many of us have faced life events which force us to re-evaluate, refocus, and move forward to finding a new normal. For most people, the death of a loved one is one of those events. I recently read an article about grief that provided the most accurate description I have ever heard. The article described grief as an ocean. There are days when it is calm and beautiful; these are the days you can relax and focus on the beauty of the memories. The pain of the grief is bearable. And then there are days when the storm is raging, the surf is rough, the waves come crashing quicker than you can keep up with. These days are the hardest, the grief is almost unbearable and for many of us, these days (like the storms at sea) come without warning.
It’s been almost 15 years since my daughter, Elizabeth, died. Thankfully, the stormy days are fewer and farther between, but they hit just as hard when they come. Over the last couple weeks, I’ve been reminded of the raw pain of the days and weeks following her death. Three weeks ago, my cousin died as the result of a motorcycle accident. Watching my aunt, uncle and cousins grieve that loss and bury their son/brother was a harsh reminder of that time in my life.
During the weeks and months following Elizabeth’s death, our oldest daughter Olivia is what kept us going. We knew that for her, we had to keep moving forward no matter how painful it was. We joined a support group with other families who had experienced sudden infant death syndrome. At one of our meetings, someone mentioned this term “new normal”, and it just made sense. You can’t go back, you have to figure out a way to carve a new path.
For us, part of that new normal was finding a way to carry on her memory. The Halo 5K and the Elizabeth Grace Foundation are part of our new normal. Through the Halo 5K, the Elizabeth Grace Foundation raises money for the Elizabeth Grace Sleep Sack project at Genesis Medical Center. This project, started in honor of Elizabeth, provides sleep sacks to all babies born at Genesis Medical Center. Since its inception, the Elizabeth Grace Sleep Sack project has provided sleep sacks to more than 4000 babies. This project allows an opportunity for education to parents regarding safe sleep and ways to reduce the risks of sudden infant death syndrome. Sleep sacks reduce the risks of SIDS by eliminating the need for extra bedding in the crib making the sleep environment safer for babies.
You can support the Elizabeth Grace Sleep Sack Project in the following ways:
- Make a direct donation to the Elizabeth Grace Sleep Sack Project through the Genesis Foundation website (make sure to choose the sleep sack project).
- Register or make a donation to the Halo 5K.
- This years’ Halo 5K is Saturday August 5. There is still plenty of time to register and participate. For questions contact Jenny at [email protected] or visit our website.