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Comments From Our Walkway Family

Winter 2006
Saturday, October 14, 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 he?) 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.
Posted by Erin Monahan
________________________________________
Winter 2005
Recently a weekly newspaper, The Charlotte World, published an update on the Walkway, announcing the Luminary Service on December 8. Included in the article were comments from parents on what the Walkway means to them. Some are below:
"Sometimes it's hard just to visit Jared's grave and the Park gives me hope and helps me to remember the happy little boy who loved to go to the park and play. I think a lot of parents find it hard to see the headstone of their little ones. We need to grieve but we also need hope that our children are forever playing in a park, with JESUS reading them stories under a big tree. At least this what the Walkway Park Memorial does for me." ~Susan & Manny Romero~
"I am grateful to the organizers of Our Children's Memorial Walkway for their commitment to keeping the memories of children alive who have died in our community. What it means to me personally can not be expressed with words. When my son (Sean) died nearly four years ago of cancer at the young age of eleven, I was frightened at the thought he would be forgotten. The Walkway has removed that fear. I have accepted the fact that I will always be a grieving mother who longs to see her child. However, any opportunity to come together with others in a service of remembrance, somehow for that brief moment and time helps lessen the pain." ~Yvonne Moore~
"My husband, Ron Deshaies, lost his daughter Sonya Renee Deshaies to Cystic Fibrosis on November 13, 1982. She was 3 1/2 years old and the light of his life. The Candle Lighting Service is a way to keep her precious light glowing in our hearts and minds. The Walkway is a special place to go and be at peace and remember the many special things about this precious little life that was taken far too soon." ~Donna Jean Deshaies~
"The Memorial Walkway provides a special remembrance of my child (Elaine) here in Charlotte. She is buried in another state and I'm not able to regularly visit her grave. The Candle Lighting Service gives me a time with my family to acknowledge her as part of our family even though she isn't with us during the Holiday time when her absence is so keenly felt." ~Judy Wolfe~
"The Walkway is a beautiful way to remember our children. Having the bricks in a park reminds us of the life our children lived. The cemetery is a sacred place for our personal grief but we also need that "public" place for the rest of the world to be reminded that our children are very precious and each minute we have with them should be treasured. To lose a child is one of the greatest tragedies anyone could endure. They must never be forgotten for they are forever loved. The Walkway is a very healing place and the Candle Lighting Service allows all of us to come together and hold on to each other as we walk through our journey of grief." ~Carol Helmlinger, Mother to: Richie Castaldi
"By the way, I go to the park and it looks beautiful ~ especially when I remember the 1st celebration there. You ought to be proud of yourselves; you've done a wonderful thing for all of us." ~Janis Digirolamo, Mother to: Michael Palmieri
"Placing a brick in the Walkway in memory of our son Max, gives us comfort in knowing that he is not forgotten and his name is read by those that did not know him. The Luminary/Candle Lighting Service is also important that as bereaved parents we can gather together and find comfort among those who feel the same pain in the loss of a child." ~Jeannine & Lewis Baker
"Our son, Grant, was a precious 7 year old when he lost his battle with a brain tumor. We knew it was the right decision to bury in my husband's family burial plot in Indiana...At the same time, it was difficult to not have him here in Charlotte with us. We needed to have some memorial to him where we live. To see his name on a brick at the beautiful Memorial Walkway is a comfort to us and something we can visit to honor him. At his birthday and the Anniversary, when we are not in Indiana, we have gone and placed flowers on his brick and it helps us feel that we are still taking care of him and that he will not ever be forgotten." ~Jack & Barbara Smith
"The Walkway means so much to me. It's a place where I can go and see my son Delen's name. Delen was killed in a car accident and his wife has his ashes and I have no place to go to remember him. It's great to take his kids and my other grandkids to see. Everyone needs a place for their children's name to be places so someone can read it and know that they are not with us but they are not forgotten. The Walkway is the only place I have to go. It makes my heart lighter to know thousands of people will see his name and know he was loved. ~Regina Singletary

Winter 2006
Saturday, October 14, 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 he?) 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.


Posted by Erin Monahan


_______________________________________________________________________


Winter 2005

Recently a weekly newspaper, The Charlotte World, published an update on the Walkway, announcing the Luminary Service on December 8. Included in the article were comments from parents on what the Walkway means to them. Some are below:


"Sometimes it's hard just to visit Jared's grave and the Park gives me hope and helps me to remember the happy little boy who loved to go to the park and play. I think a lot of parents find it hard to see the headstone of their little ones. We need to grieve but we also need hope that our children are forever playing in a park, with JESUS reading them stories under a big tree. At least this what the Walkway Park Memorial does for me." ~Susan & Manny Romero~


"I am grateful to the organizers of Our Children's Memorial Walkway for their commitment to keeping the memories of children alive who have died in our community. What it means to me personally can not be expressed with words. When my son (Sean) died nearly four years ago of cancer at the young age of eleven, I was frightened at the thought he would be forgotten. The Walkway has removed that fear. I have accepted the fact that I will always be a grieving mother who longs to see her child. However, any opportunity to come together with others in a service of remembrance, somehow for that brief moment and time helps lessen the pain." ~Yvonne Moore~


"My husband, Ron Deshaies, lost his daughter Sonya Renee Deshaies to Cystic Fibrosis on November 13, 1982. She was 3 1/2 years old and the light of his life. The Candle Lighting Service is a way to keep her precious light glowing in our hearts and minds. The Walkway is a special place to go and be at peace and remember the many special things about this precious little life that was taken far too soon." ~Donna Jean Deshaies~


"The Memorial Walkway provides a special remembrance of my child (Elaine) here in Charlotte. She is buried in another state and I'm not able to regularly visit her grave. The Candle Lighting Service gives me a time with my family to acknowledge her as part of our family even though she isn't with us during the Holiday time when her absence is so keenly felt." ~Judy Wolfe~


"The Walkway is a beautiful way to remember our children. Having the bricks in a park reminds us of the life our children lived. The cemetery is a sacred place for our personal grief but we also need that "public" place for the rest of the world to be reminded that our children are very precious and each minute we have with them should be treasured. To lose a child is one of the greatest tragedies anyone could endure. They must never be forgotten for they are forever loved. The Walkway is a very healing place and the Candle Lighting Service allows all of us to come together and hold on to each other as we walk through our journey of grief." ~Carol Helmlinger, Mother to: Richie Castaldi


"By the way, I go to the park and it looks beautiful ~ especially when I remember the 1st celebration there. You ought to be proud of yourselves; you've done a wonderful thing for all of us." ~Janis Digirolamo, Mother to: Michael Palmieri


"Placing a brick in the Walkway in memory of our son Max, gives us comfort in knowing that he is not forgotten and his name is read by those that did not know him. The Luminary/Candle Lighting Service is also important that as bereaved parents we can gather together and find comfort among those who feel the same pain in the loss of a child." ~Jeannine & Lewis Baker


"Our son, Grant, was a precious 7 year old when he lost his battle with a brain tumor. We knew it was the right decision to bury in my husband's family burial plot in Indiana...At the same time, it was difficult to not have him here in Charlotte with us. We needed to have some memorial to him where we live. To see his name on a brick at the beautiful Memorial Walkway is a comfort to us and something we can visit to honor him. At his birthday and the Anniversary, when we are not in Indiana, we have gone and placed flowers on his brick and it helps us feel that we are still taking care of him and that he will not ever be forgotten." ~Jack & Barbara Smith


"The Walkway means so much to me. It's a place where I can go and see my son Delen's name. Delen was killed in a car accident and his wife has his ashes and I have no place to go to remember him. It's great to take his kids and my other grandkids to see. Everyone needs a place for their children's name to be places so someone can read it and know that they are not with us but they are not forgotten. The Walkway is the only place I have to go. It makes my heart lighter to know thousands of people will see his name and know he was loved. ~Regina Singletary