WORTHINGTON — Two area women who each experienced the death of a young daughter last year are hoping to brighten their communities and bring a light of hope to families who are grieving.
"Mommies of angels" Jenalee Mahoney and Melissa Einck are spearheading an idea to start a local Remembrance Tree project, in which families who have lost a child or loved one of any age can decorate a Christmas tree in their memory. The trees will then be displayed in the windows of local participating businesses.
Last December, the first-ever Remembrance Tree Project, organized by the With Angel Wings Foundation, took place in Canby. Einck, who is friends with the trio of mothers who founded the project, along with Mahoney, each decorated a tree last December in memory of their daughters.
“After the fact, we had people who told us they would have participated in the project if they had known about it,” shared Einck. “So, we have worked to get the project down here in our area.”
The women are now seeking businesses willing to display a decorated tree, as well as families who would like to decorate a tree. Mahoney said they have about half a dozen donated trees in various shapes and sizes to be decorated, but can get more if there is enough interest.
“In just the year that Genevieve (Mahoney) and Molly (Einck) passed away, there were several other families that experienced child loss,” Mahoney said. “(The Remembrance Tree project) was something we really enjoyed doing for our daughters. We wanted to be able to provide that experience for other families.”
Families in the Worthington, Wilmont and Adrian area who wish to decorate a tree to honor a loved one who has died may make a $25 suggested donation to With Angel Wings. With the gift, the family receives a personalized ornament and their loved one’s name is read in the Remembrance Ceremony in Canby. The ceremony is livestreamed on Facebook.
Proceeds from the project help fund comfort packages for families who have experienced infant or child loss.
Mahoney and Einck each drove to Canby last December to decorate their tree. Mahoney used lots of color, with dragonflies and butterflies for ornaments and a photo of Genevieve to complete her tree. Einck decorated Molly’s tree in purple, with angel wings and photographs.
The Remembrance Tree is just one of the projects developed by With Angel Wings, which was founded by Brittany Pridal, Natalie Delmonico and Jessica Woehlhaff. Each of the women know the pain and heartache of child loss.
The mission of With Angel Wings is to provide continual emotional and financial support while creating a safe haven for fellowship to families experiencing grief related to infant and pregnancy loss, sudden death and medical conditions.
Businesses or families who wish to participate in The Remembrance Tree Project may contact Mahoney at (605) 323-9257. People may also register online by contacting With Angel Wings on Facebook or at firstname.lastname@example.org.