Sunday, October 15, 2006
This is Our Childrens' Memorial Walkway.
It's an area within Frazier Park.
Their dedication stone explains the purpose of this area, but it can't possibly give you any idea just how you feel while you're here. It's hard to remember that you're just a few blocks from Uptown, with its traffic and noise. It's so peaceful here. The walkway is brick, and every other brick or so is dedicated to a lost child, inscribed with a memorial written by the parents or other loved one.
Our block was dedicated yesterday at a ceremony held by CMC and the nurses of the NICU. Jerry and Skip Mudge, of Footprints Ministries, intended to surprise us with it during the ceremony. Unfortunately, we didn't know about the surprise (would have ruined the surprise eh?) and Scott had some last minute customers call and had to work, so we missed the ceremony. Instead, we met with Jerry and Skip today and they showed us our babies' brick. It's twice the size we thought it would be, and wasn't supposed to be installed until December. We had no idea that they intended to have it put in yesterday.
Jerry and Skip gave us the brick for free (it's normally $100) and the man who inscribed the wording is a local man (they're normally sent off to be done.) Jerry said he heard/read our story and offered to do the work for free. She also said it's the only brick the man has ever offered to do for free. That's what my babies do - they touch people, and the generosity they inspire never ceases to amaze me. Having lost two children, I can tell you about the void that's left behind, after their passing. But I can also tell you about the way my heart has been filled to overflowing by the kindnesses of people who've heard our story.
Jerry and Skip can tell you the stories behind each brick. Who it was that died and how, who it was that bought the stone in their name and why... I followed her around as she told the stories of the other children who are memorialized there. I managed not to bawl the entire time, but I was so so touched, so amazed at the stories. There's a brick there for Adam Petty (race car driver, son of driver Kyle Petty) one for Jon Benet Ramsey, one for the 2 sons Susan Smith drown - Michael and Alex Smith. There are benches dedicated to people, there are different areas for different groups - one for the SIDS Alliance of the Carolinas, one for the NICU of CMC, one for Mothers of Murdered Offspring. There are blocks for stillborn infants, for toddlers, children of all ages, including adults - we are all someone's child...
It's a beautiful place - full of life. Just a few feet from children squealing on swings and playground equipment. There was a cheerleading squad practicing, people playing and running and lounging. I will be going there often - that pocket of peacefulness in the middle of all the bustle of Charlotte.... My soul was fed there.
Our Children's Memorial Walkway:
Footprints Ministries: http://www.angelfire.com/ny5/footprintsministry/index.html