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Iva Jean T.

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2 reviews

Review for Wings of Hope Living Forward Inc, Gilbertsville, PA, USA

Rating: 5 stars  

Hi, I am Iva Jean Tennant and six years ago my most precious granddaughter was killed due to the actions of a negligent day care provider and my life was ripped apart, never to be the same again. I discovered this amazing organization and they have loved me and helped me grow through this horrific tragedy. We share our stories and build up one another. We have a safe place to vent our emotions, hopes and fears. Without Wings of Hope supporting me throughout the years, I am not sure I would have survived. They are just that: Wings of HOPE and help each person to be able to take each day one day at a time and to move forward, even in little baby steps.

Role:  Client Served

Review for Wings of Hope Living Forward Inc, Gilbertsville, PA, USA

Rating: 5 stars  

When my granddaughter, Kenzee, was killed, my whole world changed forever: watching and being with my precious daughter as she struggled through the nightmare of this tragedy and the huge hole that was torn in my heart made life almost impossible. Then I read about a retreat to Virginia Beach. I knew no one and just packed up my car and drove 10 hours to join a group of ladies and some husbands that I had never met. I remember how scared I was and thinking I must be crazy; I was: I was crazy with grief and a broken heart.

When I got there, I was so afraid to walk in the door, but I soon realized that I had nothing to fear. I was welcomed and brought in with friendly smiles and hugs and helps of carrying my luggage up a flight of stairs. I met the most amazing supportive people who understood what I was going through.

Throughout the week as we opened up and felt safe doing so it was amazing the bonds we were forming. We all were there with a common bond and we knew that it was a safe place to express our feelings. We were together with others who were at various walks along this path that had been forced upon us.

Here we could talk about our favorite memories and share things that helped us or hindered us. We could pose questions and chat. We remembered our children and did various things to celebrate their lives. We could cry or just hold onto someone tight and knew that someone truly cared and understood.

We cooked together, walked the beach together, had barbecues together, swam together and even were lucky enough to go for a ride on a tall ship and enjoy the sun and water.

More importantly, we found people who understood us and validated us and we all had a chance to speak as we needed. There was no pressure, no judgment--just love, compassion and concern.

I met some of the most amazing people whom I continue to keep in contact and will continue.

Since that retreat, I went to a few other retreats: Arkansas and Fort Lauderdale and back to 'Virginia Beach and each time I gained more strength and met more beautiful grieving parents and grandparents.

I am not even sure how the organizers are able to give us so much at these retreats: from the food, little special mementos, the memorial candles, videos, special outings (such as tall ships, or motor boat sightseeing or shopping or beach time), balloon release or butterfly release, or special guest speakers or message in the bottle releasing in the ocean or dj and sing along and ALL at a fabulous retreat house!!!

The outpouring of compassion is amazing and for once you will be with people who "get it" ---who understand.

For those who can't go to a retreat, there are state chapters whose leaders are trying desperately to get little get togethers in your state to make everyone feel like they have a place to belong.

I give everyone involved in putting this together a lot of credit and thanks and love. They, too, have lost a child and they are opening up their hearts to everyone to make a difference with the grieving parent and grandparents. What an awesome organization.

Role:  Client Served