Heart lessons we need
No matter what challenges confront each one of us, we can take courage, that in life we do not need to struggle on our own.
Life is about showing up for the people you care about. It is about showing up for your community and that’s what I saw at my first Angel Hearts volunteer session. People showed up.
These volunteers came ready to do the work – cutting up donated wedding gowns and creating burial clothing for infants, bringing comfort to the bereaved parents. It was like a production line with different stations: disassembling the donated wedding gowns; cutting sewing patterns; a demonstration area. If you are ready, you can take home a kit to start sewing at home.
I examined their handiwork and it was not slipshod. The gowns, wraps and craftsmanship are exquisite, sewn together with so much thought and heart.
Connection comes when we share our stories
I first heard about Angel Hearts was when a dear friend of mine received one of their baby gowns for her little angel last year. I am a photographer and I was present at that moment to capture their memories as a family. It was a vulnerable and intimate moment, and as a friend, I felt privileged to witness how their lives were touched by grace.
I had been looking out for volunteer opportunities, but it didn’t occur to me that I could have signed up with Angel Hearts, until I saw a video story created by Our Better World about the group.
Through animation, a woman’s journey from grief to supporting others was brought to life and shared with all of us. Connected in this digital space, I was drawn in and found myself with tears in my eyes.
I came wanting to connect. To enter the community, meet new people and hear their stories. There were conversations and I gained new friends. I met volunteers who were so passionate about the work they do. The experience heartened me and the day was fruitful.
Being real takes courage
All of us carry with us our own stories and it takes courage to be real – allowing ourselves to be seen and our stories to be heard. Trusting that the experiences we went through can touch another life.
From the volunteer session, I took home two books written by one of the core members of Angel Hearts that detailed her journey through hope, loss and finding faith again.
Her desire is simple: that through the stories, her readers can gain strength to face their own struggles and for women who share similar stories, to find comfort and support knowing that they are not alone.
As Brene Brown, a professor of social work, puts it, “Our silence about grief serves no one… we run from grief because loss scares us, yet our hearts reach toward grief because the broken parts want to mend.”
I feel that even from my short glimpse of the work Angel Hearts does, they are just doing that - supporting parents through grief and helping them in the process of healing.
No matter what challenges confront each one of us, we can take courage, that in life we do not need to struggle on our own. There are safe spaces where we can be real and heal. We need to find each other and take this walk through life, together.
There’s always an opportunity to help
I am an amateur when it comes to sewing and it was reassuring to know that there are other ways that I can contribute. Using my photography skills, I have since helped take photos for Angel Hearts’ fund-raising efforts. At the end of the day, whatever our skills or expertise, anyone can lend a hand.