“You know our life – the outside of it – as the others do and the inside of it – which they do not. You have seen our whole voyage.”
Mark Twain, twice bereaved parent of Susy, 24-years old, and Jean, 29-years old.
Peer Supporters are here to let you know you are not alone. We, too, share the profound loss. We also have experienced marital woes, financial hardships and health setbacks and are working to make sense of a horrific tragedy that touches the lives of too many.
Peer Supporters facilitate one-to-one connections among bereaved individuals who have experienced the death of a loved one. Please find a list of biographies written below. You may find solidarity just reading them, or you may want to talk with a peer.
If you decide you want to contact one of our supporters, please answer a few questions here, and we will connect you. Evermore keeps a record of your information, but does not share your story with any external medium (unless permission is specifically sought and granted). We do not micromanage relationships. We expect that relationships are respectful and supportive.
Kirsten had just turned 26, had graduated magna cum laude from Northwestern University, received an award of distinction for her thesis, and lived and worked in downtown Chicago. What could be wrong? Kirsten died because of bipolar disorder and mania that turned into deep depression, which ultimately led to suicide. She is missed every day.
Angelyn and her husband lost their son, a twin, during pregnancy. She remains both haunted and encouraged by his continuous presence in her daily life. Angelyn and her husband are committed to ensuring others who have experienced this phantom loss know they are not alone.
Burnett lost three sons within six months – their lives taken tragically in unrelated incidents. “As each year goes by, it becomes harder to visit their graves,” she says, remembering the distinct personality of each of the lives she lost: Randolph the artist, Linton the lawyer, and Reginald the comedian. Upon learning they each had separately volunteered to be organ donors, Burnett became a volunteer for Donate Life Maryland, a nonprofit that encourages individuals to sign up to do the same. “I know they will live on by giving others a chance at life,” says Burnett.
Christina found herself blessed with a miracle pregnancy despite a long battle with Polycystic Ovary Syndrome. Sadly, that baby was not born – nor were the next five lives she carried. Christina channeled her energy following the losses of Kinsey, Alba, Sloane, Ray, Frankie and Mal into Soul Cyster Creations, which creates handcrafted memorial keepsakes and infertility encouragement pieces for families. Christina strives to honor the memory of the children she lost by helping others realize they are not alone, and she is committed to helping end the stigma surrounding miscarriage.
Deana lost her two children, Amanda and Logan, in a car accident that changed the trajectory of her life. Following her loss, Deana made it her life’s mission to help other bereaved parents through the pain she, herself, endured. A Certified Grief Recovery specialist, Deana helped launch Cry For Me, No More, a nonprofit organization that aims to help families cope with the death of a child. “I have learned that my heart will never be whole again,” says Deana, “but I will thrive in life once more by knowing I will share their legacy with others to help them heal their wounds.”
Gale is the mother of Angel Stacey Lynne Seaton, who will always be 18 days away from her 18th birthday. Stacey was murdered in Bowie, MD, in a case of mistaken identity. Since the death of her daughter, Gale has advocated for the rights of victims through the legislative process, educated criminal justice classes on the importance of conducting professional investigations, assisted survivors of homicide victims with emotional support and court accompaniment, and worked to improve processes for survivors. Stacey’s legacy lives on through these efforts and the memories of all whose lives she touched.
Jackie has faced the devastation of losing a child three times – twice as a mother and more recently as a grandmother. While nothing can diminish the pain of losing two children – one late in pregnancy and one at five months of age – Jackie draws comfort from a strong faith in God. She is grateful she has been able to use her experience to counsel her bereaved daughter and provide hope to others who continue to struggle.
Jennie is the mother of Alexandra, who bravely fought brain cancer for 13 months before dying on April 6, 2012, just seven weeks before her 5th birthday. Alexandra was survived by her loving older brother, Samuel. Along with a commitment to her Catholic faith, Jennie finds great comfort in volunteering at the hospital where Alexandra received her treatments and advocating on the Hill for an increased investment in pediatric cancer research. She also continues to work professionally as a cancer researcher.
Kelly made a promise to his children Katie and Noah that once he was strong enough, he would reach out to other bereaved fathers and help them find their way back from the brink. He has done this, and more, through his book, Grieving Dads: To the Brink and Back, a collection of candid stories from fathers who have survived the tragic loss of a child. “I know Katie and Noah would want me to make a positive impact on others’ lives,” says Kelly. “The idea of helping others helps me.”
Brynn Elizabeth left behind her parents and twin sister at just 22 weeks of age. Laurie had just begun to feel the flutter of life when Brynn’s heart stopped beating. Laurie and her husband have been forever changed as parents – and people. “No child is too small or too young to have an impact on their family,” says Laurie, who encourages bereaved parents not to rush the grieving process but instead take each day as it comes.
The senseless killing of Marion’s 19-year-old son Gary by a police officer led her to become an activist in the movement for justice, police accountability and transparency. Marion, who was instrumental in organizing the Million Moms March, has taken her advocacy to the highest levels of government, meeting with White House and Department of Justice officials to discuss the need for reforms. She has turned her pain into passion and power, becoming a catalyst for change as the president and co-founder of Coalition of Concerned Mothers, which aims to stop police brutality, senseless community violence and mass incarceration while identifying and supporting policy and legislative change.
Maryam was in prison when her son, Augustine, was killed two weeks before his 30th birthday. During her incarceration, she experienced discrimination for her Muslim faith and watched fellow inmates, whom she refers to as SisterHearts, struggle to rebuild their lives inside prison. Following her release, Maryam’s life mission has become assisting ex-offenders transition back into society with dignity. She is the owner of SisterHearts Thrift Store, which is focused on emotional rehabilitation and economic development for ex-offenders.
After losing his 9-year old son to a two-year battle with a recurring malignant brain tumor, Mitch turned to the written word, composing letters and poems to his son to help him cope with his grief. Mitch subsequently published the writings in a book, Letters to My Son, which led him to begin lecturing on the grief process and leading workshops on surviving the loss of a loved one. As a trained hospice volunteer, Mitch has helped many bereaved families through the dying process. He has dedicated his life to helping those who are trying to navigate the uncharted territory of death, dying and the bereavement process.
Sharon lost her son Malek when he was shot in an attempted robbery after exiting a Metro bus less than one week before his 16th birthday. Sharon said her son – a sophomore at Ballou – enjoyed science and math and dreamed of becoming a physician or social worker. “He wanted to help kids who were going through rough times,” she said. After Malek’s death, Sharon emerged as a public voice against gun violence, attending vigils and rallies and befriending others whose children were lost to gun violence. She is now building a foundation in his memory.
Tonya’s heartbreak began when she learned her 5-month-old daughter, Kayla, had suffered an injury at daycare. Two days later, she made the most difficult decision of her life: to remove Kayla from life support. In the years since her loss, Tonya has embraced the opportunity to parent again, one child through adoption and another through birth. She continues to honor Kayla’s memory through an organization she birthed nearly 10 years ago called Kayla’s Village, which provides seminars and support to parents and social service professionals. Tonya also has documented her journey through her book, Mommie’s Bright Sunshine.
The mission of Peer Support is to facilitate one-on-one connections between individuals struggling with grief process after losing a loved one. EVERMORE offers the Peer Support Program (“Program”) to help individuals who are bereaved. In the Terms, we sometimes use “we,” “us” and “our” to refer to the Program; “Outreach Person” to refer to each of the participants seeking connection in the Program; and “Contact Person” to refer to each of the volunteers who offer to connect with “Outreach Persons” in the Program.
We also refer to the Outreach Person and Contact Person who are connected in the Program as “partners,” “persons,” “you,” and “your.” The term “personal information” means (1) information that can be used to determine, distinguish, or trace an individual‘s identity, such as name, e-mail address, address, phone number, age, and (2) any other information that is linked or linkable to an individual, such as medical and employment information.
Your Commitments and Rights
You agree to pay your own expenses of participating in the Program.
You have the right to close your relationship with any Person, or cancel your participation in the Program at any time. If you choose to close your participation in the Program, please notify us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
As a Contact Person, you are acting as an uncompensated volunteer. You are not an employee, independent contractor, or agent of EVERMORE when you participate in the Program, and you have no authority to act on behalf of EVERMORE.
You agree to the Limitation of Liability below, which applies to your participation in the Program.
You acknowledge that we may update the Terms at any time by posting them on the EVERMORE website. By continuing to participate in the Program after the Terms are updated, you agree to the updated Terms.
You must keep any paper or electronic information that includes personal information regarding your Program partner in a safe and secure place, and take reasonable steps to protect it from unauthorized access, use, or disclosure.
You agree not to use the Program, EVERMORE’s website, social media, or personal information regarding a Person or Family to harass, violate the privacy, or harm or threaten to harm any Parent or EVERMORE in any way.
Our Commitments and Rights
If we accept your participation and a Contact Person, of your selection, is unavailable, we will use the personal information you provided in your entrance form, and personal information obtained from other Persons to attempt to pair you with another Person. We will use reasonable efforts to pair every Person. However, we cannot guarantee that we will be able to do so, or how quickly one can be available to you. In some cases we may be unable to find an appropriate Person.
We may update the Terms at any time by posting them on the EVERMORE website. By continuing to participate in the Program after the Terms are updated, you agree to the updated Terms.
We may disclose your personal information, if we deem it necessary in order to comply with a legal obligation, to enforce these Terms, or to protect our rights or the rights of other parties such as Program participants.
These privacy, confidentiality, and security obligations will survive termination of your participation in the Program or EVERMORE services.
The Program and our Services are provided “as is.” We do not make any specific promises or warranties about the value or benefits of the Program, or the conduct of your Outreach Person or Contact Person or other Program participants except as stated in these Terms. If you are not satisfied with the Program, your sole remedy is to terminate your participation in the Program.
There are always potential risks when you are meeting new people. You are encouraged to consider and take reasonable precautions in your interactions and meetings with your Person.
Any information provided by us, our employees and agents, or any Person or other Program participant is not intended to be, and should never be considered medical advice, diagnosis or treatment, or legal advice. You should always obtain medical advice, diagnosis, and treatment from qualified health care professionals. Equally, you should always obtain legal advice from a qualified legal professional.
Limitation of Liability
While we seek to attract inspiring volunteers, we undertake no responsibility for the quality or conduct of your Person or other Program participants with whom you may interact. EVERMORE relies on participants in the Program to agree to these terms of participation and participate in good faith. There is always the possibility that a Program participant will act out or injure another participant, whether emotionally, spiritually, financially or physically. You agree to bear all risks associated with your relationships with and information provided to or received from your Person or other Program participants.
EVERMORE does not monitor or take responsibility for the actions or behavior of participants in the Program. All participants are independent actors, and not agents or employees of EVERMORE. EVERMORE is not liable for any injury you may incur from other participants as a result of your participation in the program.
Program persons independently make the final decision to reach out to a person seeking advice. EVERMORE is not responsible for any actions taken by Program persons once communication among persons begins. All participants are independent actors, and not agents or employees of EVERMORE. EVERMORE is not liable for any injury you may incur from other participants as a result of your participation in the program.
EVERMORE is a recognized 501(c)3 by the U.S. Internal Revenue Service. All donations and gifts are considered tax-deductible to the fullest extent allowable by IRS regulations. EVERMORE and its logo are registered trademarks with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.
EVERMORE is made possible from the generous support of:
Robert Wood Johnson Foundation President’s Grant Fund of the Princeton Area Community Foundation
EVERMORE 2101 L Street, NW, Suite 800 Washington, DC 20037