‘HOPE’ group provides safe space for parents who’ve lost a child

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HUNTSVILLE, Ala. -- Losing a child is something no one can quite imagine until it happens.

For those going through the immense pain and grief that comes with such a traumatic event, it can be hard to talk about the loss.

A well known Huntsville based organization is hoping to help those parents by bringing them together.

The seats in a circle in a room at The Caring House on Longwood Drive are the start of a hopeful conversation around a painful topic. "We needed to be able to support parents who have lost children," said Amy George, co-founder of the Melissa George Neonatal Memorial Fund.

Tuesday morning was the first meeting of HOPE or Helping Other Parents Endure.

Amy and her husband Chris have now endured a 13 year journey of grief since losing one of their twin daughters.

She will be facilitating the discussions along with a social worker from Huntsville Hospital's Hospice Family Care. "I'm really just here as a mom who's walked this road," Amy explained.

A road that has brought her the opportunity to partner the memorial fund with hospice family care.

"My vision for this group and my hope for this group is it will be a safe place for parents to come to be real about their feelings - to be able to talk and be able to share, but more than that we also want to help them move forward in their grief," Amy added.

If you're not ready to share and just wish to listen, they say that's okay. Just being around others who suffered the loss of a child can make a difference.

The memorial fund has continued providing ways to cope. One example, bereavement necklaces. "These necklaces we give to the mom in the NICU when a baby passes away and the child can be buried with part of that necklace or the mother can choose to keep that necklace and then she keeps a part for her own and those have been incredibly special."

On the second Tuesday morning of every month at 9 a.m., that room at The Caring House on Longwood Drive will be dedicated to any and all parents on the journey no one wants to travel.

And if you're not ready to attend, Amy said that's okay too.

"Give yourself grace to get to where you need to be," Amy encouraged.

The room, circle, and seats will be there.

The meetings will continue until the group breaks for the summer in May.

After the break, the group will resume meeting in the fall, but Amy said if people want to continue meeting over the summer, organizers will be happy to arrange that.

She also thanked those who donate and support the fund so they can provide services like these.

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