FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. (KNWA) — The loss of a child is every parent’s fear and for some that fear does become a reality.
One local organization is supporting those parents on their life-long journey of grief after losing their child.
Over 100 bereaved parents who share the tragedy of losing a child came together for the 5th Annual Parents Left Behind Grief Seminar on Saturday, August 24.
“This type of loss is not something you can ignore or pretend didn’t happen” – Susan Averitt
Founder of the Parents Left Behind Grief Seminar, Susan Averitt, lost her daughter Cameron in 2006 to an accident.
After realizing there was a lack of support for people on this same journey, Averitt started the seminar to make something positive come out of her family’s terrible loss.
“She was just this amazing little girl who didn’t get to live her life but is able to shine bright through all of the things that we have been able to do in her memory,” she said.
Averitt’s seminar has brought in people like Donna Fallin, who lost her daughter, Melissa, to cystic fibrous in 2011.
“I’ll never be the same but I am better and I am living my life and I like to share my journey with other people who are in a place they aren’t sure if they can continue on,” Fallin said.
Fallin first attended the seminar five years ago and hasn’t missed one since.
“I opened my soul up a little bit and each year since,” she said. “The gift that I have been given is listening to other people’s stories and that has helped me along my way.”
Although the pain of losing their children will never go away, both Fallin and Averitt said this seminar helps take away some of the sting.
“I’m very grateful for Parents Left Behind,” Fallin said. “It has helped me and enabled me to hopefully help some other people and that is a huge gift.”
Averitt said she will continue holding these seminars every year to help parents in Northwest Arkansas on their grieve journey.
“It just gives them an opportunity to feel apart of something and to feel understood and to realize they are not alone on their grieve journey,” she said.
For the next grief seminar, click HERE.