Finding Comfort, Together by Scott Carden
On our 7th Wedding Anniversary, our world was turned upside down, when our daughter Marie died minutes after an emergency C-section.
My wife and I were devastated and could barely comprehend the grief ahead of us much less what to do with it. Our friends and family supported and listened to us, but unfortunately, they didn’t have the relevance and familiarity with the unique pain of losing a child.
Our doctors and others told us about the HOPE group, which was part of Ronald McDonald House Charities of Central Texas’ Healing Hearts Program. The HOPE group is a bereavement support group led by a licensed counselor that helps families who have experienced perinatal and infant loss.
We felt isolated in our experience and grief until we walked into that room with four other families. Together, the moms, dads, and partners safely explored our emotions, frustrations, and triumphs as we all dealt uniquely with our grief. Throughout the six-week program, we found resolve, meaning, and learned how to move forward while honoring our little ones. And in that room, a new community of friends and supporters developed as we were bonded by our experiences.
As a dad, I was thankful for an environment where I could open up, speak freely and connect with other dads. When I returned to work as an engineer, few of my colleagues (mostly men) wanted to have meaningful discussions because they were unsure of how or even if I wanted to talk. Even today, I still lean on the dads from the HOPE group to talk about and honor Marie.
Four years later, I’ve connected with dads from subsequent HOPE groups to form Fathers for HOPE whose mission is to bring awareness to the Healing Hearts Program and to support father’s who now walk in our shoes. This October we are collecting donations to purchase candles that will be placed in comfort boxes that will be given to families who have suffered a loss. The candles will honor their little ones and include information about the HOPE group so more families are connected to this invaluable resource.
To make a donation for the purchase of the candles, please visit the Tatum Love Foundation.