WORTHINGTON — An organization aimed at instilling hope among parents grieving the loss of a child is coming to Worthington in response to the numerous recent tragedies in the region.
Grieving Parents Sharing Hope will share its Christian-centered message to the public at 6:30 p.m. Monday in the basement fellowship hall at St. Matthew Lutheran Church, 1505 Dover St.
“When you lose a child, it is such a dark, suffocating pain that can take months and years to get your bearings back,” said Dave Diehl, who founded GPS Hope with his wife, Laura. “Part of our ministry is giving (bereaved parents) confirmation they’re not going crazy — that the thoughts and things they’re going through, they’re not alone.
“The best thing they can do is be with other bereaved parents who get it, especially those who have been on the journey longer.”
The Diehls have been on the post-child loss journey since 2011, when their daughter, Becca Kelly (Diehl) Howard, died following a long battle with heart complications caused by a cancer treatment drug taken as a toddler battling bone cancer. They honor Becca through their mission and empower parents to do the same.
“(We want to) give them hope that they’ll not always be stuck in that place of the death of their child, but can learn to live in a way that honors the life of their child,” said Laura Diehl, who will use her book “When Tragedy Strikes: Rebuilding Your Life With Hope and Healing After the Death of Your Child” to lead Monday’s program. “It is a process, and is long lived.”
Monday’s event is tailored to parents who are grieving the loss of a child — from stillborn through adulthood. Other members of the public are also welcome to attend.
The Diehls were connected to the area by Kim Braun, who lost her 15-year-old son, Carter, in a June 22 car accident.
Braun had started a private Facebook group for mothers who shared similar tragic experiences of losing a child. The group evolved to the formation of a parents' bereavement group at St. Matthew’s with the help of Parish Nurse and Director of Human Care Ministry Roxie Leckband.
Having lost her son, Cole, 15 years ago, Leckband found comfort in a support group through Minneapolis’ Children’s Hospital, but noted that the distance is difficult for many. Now, support is needed here.
“This is something that doesn’t happen real often, but the oddity of it happening in our area — so many,” she said.
Leckband said the loss of Cole is always with her, but at this stage of grief, she can see that there is hope. With its Christian-centered perspective, Leckband wants the bereaved parents group to share their love throughout everyone’s journey, no matter what stage they’re in.
Still in its developmental stage, the parent bereavement group is open to the public.
Contact St. Matthews Lutheran Church, 376-6168, for more information or to learn when the next group meeting is scheduled.