Finally, we are welcoming spring. It is time again for us to mark our calendars for our annual Mother’s Day Walk and Picnic. We will hold the walk at 11 AM on Saturday, May 11th at the Duck Brook Pavillion at Look Park in Northampton. We will follow the walk with a pot luck picnic lunch and we hope you will join us for both.
On the morning of the walk, we begin to gather at 11 AM. At this time people can sign in, get a balloon for their child, purchase a book in memory of their child, or purchase a t-shirt or bracelet at the Empty Arms merchandise table. At about 11:20, we will gather for a brief memorial in which we will read the names of the babies we are walking in memory of and share a poem or a song. At about 11:30 we will take a relaxed stroll around the perimeter of the park-- just over one mile. Walking together, with balloons and many of us in our various shades of blue t-shirts from over the years, we are making a statement that our babies live on in our hearts. It is always a powerful experience to see so many people-- there have traditionally been over 100 people in attendance-- gathering to celebrate the importance of these very short but cherished lives.
In past years we have had families bring a picnic lunch. This year, however, we’re hoping that we can draw people together even more by having a shared potluck lunch. Empty Arms will provide paper goods and drinks and we hope that you will bring a dish to share. We are making the following suggestion to try to diversify what people bring:
If your last name begins with...
A- F please bring snacks, appetizers or veggies
F-S please bring a main course or lunch salad
T-Z please bring dessert or fruit
These guidelines are not strict in the least. Please just bring something to share!
If you are interested in ordering a t-shirt for the walk with your baby’s name printed on the back, please email Jean Monska at email@example.com.
Most importantly, please invite your family and friends to join us on this special day. If there are people in your lives who you know have been touched by the loss of a baby and aren’t involved with Empty Arms, encourage them to come and join us. If there are special friends who helped you through your loss, invite them to join you. This event brings people together and reconnects us all with the baby or babies that we miss so much.
A little history....
For those of you who are new to Empty Arms, or for those who don’t know the history, the Mother’s Day walk started in the spring of 2007 as a fundraising walk to earn money for our lending library. A month later, the first Empty Arms Support Group met on a Wednesday night in the “Locust Street Conference Room”. We had five people in attendance and the organization was born. Now, six years later, we have moved to a larger room to accommodate the larger groups we began to welcome. And, each May, we still gather to walk together in memory of our babies.
We initially held our walk on Mother’s Day, with the idea that this would be a healing event for a mother who had no baby to honor her motherhood on this day. However, after the first few years we realized that this day presented conflicts for some families. We moved the walk to the Saturday prior to Mother’s Day and have held it then ever since. We offer families balloons to carry while they walk, on which they can write their baby’s name. We have had t-shirts made up where families can have their baby’s name written on the back. Most importantly, we gather together in solidarity, breaking the silence once again around the issue of pregnancy and infant loss.
It was for this reason that we shifted the focus of our walk from a fundraiser to a memorial. While we always accept donations and hope that people will consider donating at the walk to support the important work that we do, we realized that this time together in the warm May sunshine felt too special to make the money the focus. Therefore, we now focus more on the opportunity for this community of bereaved families, their families, and their friends to gather together to remember the sweet hopes we once held for babies gone far too soon and to support each other as families who have suffered and begun to heal.
PLEASE JOIN US!