EVERMORE is working to raise the visibility of child loss in the public's discourse.
"Don't Lean Into The Brokeness"
Nearly three years ago the nation’s attention was gripped by the shooting death of Michael Brown, a young black man who was shot by Darren Wilson, a white police officer. As unrest unfolded in Ferguson, larger questions about racial inequities and institutional racism began making headlines. Today, police shootings continue to be scrutinized, but racial bias and the inequities that plague families do not capture America’s attention.
Going largely unnoticed, except for sensational headlines decrying Chicago’s latest homicide count, are the thousands of families who live in communities where it is conceivable that their black son may walk out the door in the morning and never return. Although homicide is the leading cause of death among black men ages 15-35, many families feel invisible and left behind. This reality is true in a portion of Washington D.C. known as Anacostia, less than ten miles from The White House.
“How many of our kids are going to die before somebody sits up and says, “This is a problem,” says bereaved mother and Anacostia resident Judith Hawkins. Judith’s son, Alvin, was shot and paralyzed from the chest down in July 2015; over time his mental health declined precipitously and he took his own life less than a year later. “I’m really grateful to be able to talk about him right now because I feel like he didn’t matter, to nobody but me.”
Even the Forgotten Lose Children
Countless experiences shape the trajectory of a human life, but for Maryam Henderson-Uloho the convergence of two specific and devastating events ultimately changed her course: a 25-year prison sentence and the death of her son, Augustine.
Maryam was serving her sentence at St. Gabriel’s Louisiana Correctional Institution for Women when she received the news that her oldest son had died in a motorcycle accident. There were no social or mental support systems available Maryam. In addition to the absence of professional assistance, she could not even take refuge in the support of her prison community. A gesture as simple as a hug from another inmate could result in a minimum 90-day stay in solitary confinement, known as “The Hole.”
For Some Bereaved Parents, Grief is Compounded by Identity Theft
Matt and Roya Pilcher were among the millions of Americans who slogged dutifully through the process of filing their taxes in 2011. But that year they joined countless other bereaved parents in experiencing pain far beyond the inconvenience of paperwork. Not only had they lost their daughter Ava; the IRS subsequently informed them their claim had been denied because someone else had already claimed Ava - and the accompanying dependent tax credit - as their own. Now the Pilchers were burdened with proving to the IRS that their dead daughter was, in fact, their dead child.
“All we really have is her memory and her name. For someone to try to steal that, to appropriate that for themselves – it’s beyond reprehensible,” says Matt Pilcher.
There are no words or ways to capture the life or spirit of our children, nor our love for them. For those who have lost a child, the desire to support their dreams and carry their legacy forward in a way that has a profound impact on our world, our communities, our neighborhoods is powerful. These charitable ventures can make a significant difference to the lives of people near and far, yet it can be hard to know where to start.
In an effort to make the navigation of the process easier for bereaved families, I have abbreviated legal advice from Klamp & Associates in Washington, D.C; however, before you get started, it is important to recognize there a variety of state and federal laws and regulations that govern the creation and operation of a nonprofit. While these ten steps are not legal advice, they will provide a roadmap to important considerations as you begin this journey. EVERMORE is a strong advocate of using knowledgeable, legal nonprofit experts to capture your vision and your child’s legacy.
“She wanted to be with her daughter.” This phrase was repeated often in the days following the death of Debbie Reynolds, who passed just one day after her daughter, Carrie Fisher. While the prominence of these two individuals grabbed the nation’s attention, their story resonated because it spoke to our society’s unconditional love and investment in our children. Dying to be “with” your child is a decision every parent can both understand and fear.
Weeks following Debbie Reynolds death, I again heard the phrase, “she wanted to be with her daughter.” As President Donald Trump was being inaugurated, I sat in the pews of a very different gathering just one hour north of our nation’s capital. This story, unlike the death of Debbie Reynolds, would not garner any media attention. It would instead go unnoticed - as do millions of other equally powerful American stories - hiding in plain sight.
To read more follow this link.
Among the men who have led our nation since its inception, there is a strong bond. And for more than half of our First Families, there is another, silent connection. This thread is woven not only through the families of our commanders in chief; it unites parents of of newborns with those of seasoned war veterans, Chicago’s homicides to our fallen policemen in Dallas, devout Christians to observant Jews to pious Muslims: it is the unequivocal, life-changing loss of a child.
According to Doug Wead, a historian and author of All the Presidents’ Children: Triumph and Tragedy in the Lives of America’s First Families, twenty-six children of presidents died before the age of five, and many more before the age of 30.
To continue reading follow this link.
Most of the time, when a parent loses a child, it does not make the evening news. There is no outpouring of national support. Instead, we suffer in silence, hoping - at most - for the support of our family, friends, and community to carry us forward. But this pressure proves daunting to many who want desperately to help, but fear they will say or do the wrong thing.
Motherhood, unlike any other experience, is a testament to the strength and resolve of women. It is an instinctual force driving us to shelter, protect, and invest everything in them from inception till our deaths—no matter the ramifications. It is our sense of purpose, our life’s mission and work, our oath: once a mother, always a mother.
There is a common question that many parents, especially mothers, encounter when meeting someone for the first time: how many children do you have? For those of you who have lost a child, you know the simple calculus that ensues: save our new acquaintance from social unease by subtracting the child(ren) who has died or charge forward with the uncomfortable silence that inevitably follows.
To continue reading, follow this link.
Five years after her third child, Eleanora, died at five months old of a congenital abnormality, Joyal Mulheron still goes to occasional therapy to process the grief and has trouble speaking publicly about her loss.
The former health policy adviser to the National Governors Association felt her loss so profoundly that she quit her job two years ago as chief strategy officer for the Partnership for a Healthier America, the private offshoot of first lady Michelle Obama's "Let's Move" campaign. She launched a non profit to help other families grappling with the loss of a child at any age and to push for policies, like paid leave for people who lose children, that recognize the grief they are dealing with.
To continue reading, follow this link.
Huge racial disparities persist despite slow infant mortality drop
FALLS CHURCH, Va. — Despite a 13% drop in the national infant mortality rate over nearly a decade, there remains a stubborn gap between the rates for black Americans and other racial groups as well as between some Southern states and the rest of the country.
The most proven and promising way to reduce the disparities in premature births that lead to death — home visits by nurses — got a boost in theAffordable Care Act, but is reaching only a fraction of those in need, policy experts say.
To continue reading, follow this link.