This Saturday, there will be a dedication of an Angel of Hope statue in my city of Woburn. The Angel of Hope came from the book, The Christmas Box, by Richard Paul Evans. Since he wrote his book many statues have been placed, along with pavers to honor children that have died. (http://www.richardpaulevans.com/index.php/angel-statues/)
The statue in my City will be at Horn Pond, a beautiful location in town. (http://www.woburnmaps.com/hornpond/) My dad use to love walking this pond!
There are some people in our city that are not happy with the location for one reason or another. They have a right to their opinion of course. And, I have a right to mine, which I have written out in a letter to the editor.
On April 1, 2011 I joined a club that no one wants to be a part of. That is the club of people whose children have died. My son fought STUPID cancer for 13 months, and died when he was just 21 months old. Because he was so young, and so sick, he never went to school, playdates or made any friends outside of the hospital.
As parents, we want our children to never be forgotten. But, life marches on, and people move on, and forget. Oh sure, they will remember when they see us, but unlike parents, thoughts of our children are not part of their daily lives.
Some children are remembered through year book dedications, or scholarships being named after them. But as I said, my son was too young for school, so there will not be any of that.
Not long after my son died, I heard about the Angel of Hope that is in Sterling, MA. I thought it was a wonderful idea, but being so far away, I did not have a chance to visit it. I thought about having a paver placed in my sons memory there, but again, it was far away.
When I learned that a group was wanting to bring an Angel of Hope to Woburn, I knew that was something I wanted to help happen! I was excited that it would be at Horn Pond, a place that many people go to, to walk, run, and enjoy the beauty of the area. I thought it was a perfect spot.
The pond on the other hand is a place of beauty and peace. My late father use to enjoy walks around the pond and just sitting with its beauty. I know that the bereaved parents that have placed a memorial paver in their child’s name, will find peace, knowing that someone will see their child’s name in letters.
In one letter to the editor, someone suggested that a cemetery would be a better location for this memorial. I for one, think that would be the worst spot. A cemetery is a place of sadness. Many of us bereaved parents have children buried there, and when we go to visit, it does not bring peace and joy. Rather anger and sadness that our children are even there. It is not right for a parent to have to bury a child.
To the family who has a bench in honor of their loved one who died on September 11. I can’t speak for others, but I can assure you that every time I see that bench, I say a little prayer for your loved one, and all those that perished on that horrible day. I imagine that people visiting the angel, will sit in that very bench to think of their children, and I am sure your loved one will come to mind as well.
So, why is it important to have our children’s names printed in stone, and not at the cemetery? The Late Elizabeth Edwards explains it well:
“If you know someone who has lost a child, and you’re afraid to mention them because you think you might make them sad by reminding them that they died–you’re not reminding them. They didn’t forget they died. What you’re reminding them of is that you remembered that they lived, and…that is a great gift.”
By speaking our children’s names, we remember their lives. We remember what joy they brought to us and the world around us. No, my son won’t have year books dedicated to him, but his name will be forever etched in stone, for the hundreds, if not thousands of people that walk the pond every year to see.
I thank the Webster family for bring this memorial to town, and I thank the Mayor and those that approved for it to be in such a special place.
Nancy Whipple – Mom to Angel Alexander the Great, forever 21 months old