Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Compassionate Friends Balloon Release

A Great Tradition!

Meet Charlotte Repp,
the leader of
"The Compassionate Friends of the Twin Lakes Area".
Don't let this smile fool you!
Charlotte has her own tragic story, and was featured
in the February 13th issue of the Baxter Bulletin this year.
(Click on highlighted letters to see the article.)

Maybe this is why she is so passionate about her work!
This year was not the first time she has organized
a successful gathering of persons
who needed to release some grief.

And this year was no exception.
Music and food are good for the soul!

And there was plenty of both!
Including an Ice Cream Truck!

After tummies were filled,
and hearts were encouraged,
small papers were handed out for survivors
to write a note which would be tied to a balloon.

I'm not sure what others wrote,
but I addressed mine to my nephew Joel.
He had spent much time with our family in his youth,
and was like a son to me.
After a valiant fight with glioblastoma brain cancer,
he was escorted to heaven last September.

I based this message to him on these words from Jesus
found in John's Gospel:
 “Don’t let this throw you.
You trust God, don’t you?
Trust me.
There is plenty of room for you in my Father’s home.
 If that weren’t so,
would I have told you
that I’m on my way to get a room ready for you?
And if I’m on my way to get your room ready,
I’ll come back and get you so you can live where I live."

We gathered below the Ruthvin Bridge in Cotter, AR
at the White River.

Fog began forming on the river
as we prepared for this solemn moment.

...A very moving moment...

Tears fell from many faces as balloons ascended.
The cloud behind the balloons looked to me like
an angel cloud of witnesses to the event!

Higher and higher till they were out of sight.

The main focus of the Compassionate Friends is to 
"...promote and aid in the positive solution of the grief experienced
 by families upon the death of a child..."

The Compassionate Friends Credo:

"We need not walk alone.
We are the Compassionate Friends.
We reach out to each other with love,
with understanding, and with hope.

The children we mourn have died at all ages
and from many different causes,
but our love for them unites us.
Your pain becomes my pain,
just as your hope becomes my hope.

We come together from all walks of life,
from many different circumstances.
We are a unique family because we represent
many races, creeds, and relationships.
We are young, and we are old.
Some of us are far along in our grief,
but others still feel a grief so fresh 
and so intensely painful 
that they feel helpless and see no hope.

Some of us have found our faith to be a source of strength,
while some of us are struggling to find answers.
Some of us are angry,
filled with guilt or in deep depression,
while others radiate an inner peace.
But whatever pain we bring to this gathering of
The Compassionate Friends,
it is pain we will share,
just as we share with each other
our love for the children who have died.

We are all seeking and struggling 
to build a future for ourselves,
but we are committed to building a future together.
We reach out to each other in love 
to share the pain as well as the joy,
share the anger as well as the peace,
share the faith as well as the doubts,
and help each other to grieve as well as to grow.
We need not walk alone."

For those in the Twin Lakes Area who may be interested,
meetings are held the first Thursday of every month
from 6:00 to 8:00 o'clock PM
at The Hospice of the Ozarks Administrative Building
701 Burnett Drive,
Mountain Home, AR 726253
Phone 870-508-1789.

"You can shed tears that your child is gone,
Or you can smile because they have lived.
You can close your eyes and pray that they will come back,
Or you can open your eyes and see all your child has left.
Your heart can be empty because you can't see your child,
Or you can be full of the love you shared.
You can turn your back on tomorrow and live yesterday,
Or you can be happy for tomorrow because of yesterday.
You can remember your child only that they are gone,
Or you can cherish the memories and let your child live on.
You can cry and close your mind,
Be empty and turn your back,
Or you can do what your child would want:
Smile, open your eyes, love and go on."

 "Peace I leave with you, my peace I give to you: 
not as the world gives do I give to you. 
Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid."


Ruth Hiebert said...

I can see where that would be a very emotional time,but also so healing.

Esther Joy said...

Thank you Ruth. I was glad to be part of it.