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When Megan Bozell’s 5-month-old son, Reid, died of sudden infant death syndrome two years ago, she wanted to die, too.
She needed others to talk to — others who had lost a baby.
But there was nowhere nearby where she could turn.
Kylee Jones discovered the same thing when her son, Keenan, was stillborn in 2005.
“Family and friends tried to comfort us,” Jones said. “But, through all their good intentions, they had no idea what we were feeling and dealing with.”
Plus, both she and Jones said they also had suffered a miscarriage.
“Even those kinds of losses are completely different,” Bozell said.
And now the two want to reach out to others trying to heal from the loss of an infant. To do that, the pair will launch Angels of Hope, a nondenominational and confidential infant-loss support group, at 6 p.m. Wednesday at
St. Peter’s Lutheran Church, 719 Fifth St. in Columbus. The group — meant for those who have suffered miscarriages, stillbirths and other deaths up to about age 2 — will meet the first Wednesday of the month thereafter.
“We’re not saying we’re experts,” said Bozell, 26. “We’re simply saying that we’re here and we care, anytime and anywhere.”
Bozell already has heard from one mom who will attend the first gathering. The woman found Bozell, strangely, after discovering Reid’s tombstone at Garland Brook Cemetery while she was visiting her own son’s gravesite. The woman’s other son, who accompanied her, insisted on cleaning Reid’s tombstone.
Though meetings are intended to offer ample sensitivity and compassion, Bozell and Jones want to keep emotion in perspective.
“We’re not just going to sit around in a circle and cry,” Bozell said, while acknowledging she and Jones have shed a lot of tears with family and friends.
As the two sat recently at St. Peter’s discussing their plans, each wore an Angels of Hope lapel pin. Each carried framed shots of her deceased child. Jones, 33, has spoken enough about her late son, Keenan, that her 7-year-old daughter, Lexi, also talks about him easily.
Yet some elements of the loss of a baby are especially tough — such as when Lexi’s school friends told her, despite her insistence, she did not have a big brother, since they had not seen or met him at school.
“A part of Keenan is always with us,” Jones said.
They aim to structure their meetings both for moms and dads, especially since they said their husbands, Chris Jones and Kevin Bozell, grieved differently from the way the women did during their losses.
Bozell said her husband probably didn’t “become himself again” until they welcomed a new child last year.
“People need to understand that the divorce rate of parents who have lost a baby is astronomical,” Bozell said.
With the emotional stress of such a loss, the two figure parents can do without the stress of traveling to, say, Southport, as Jones did to get help from a support group, Memories to Hold.
“It was wonderful,” she said, “but by the time you get home, you’ve lost your entire evening with your (other) kids.”
Jones acknowledged that she has worried some about being inadequate to help lead such a group. But in her heart, she knows the need is there. And she knows she is willing for God to use her pain to help others.
“I believe God equips those he sends forth,” Jones said. “And I believe this is part of God’s plan.”
Angels of Hope, an informal support group for families who have lost infants
6 to 8 p.m. the first Wednesday of each month
St. Peter’s Lutheran Church, 719 Fifth St.
Each meeting will feature different topics, the first of which will be ways to remember your child during the holidays.
Available on site; a free meal will be served at 5:30 p.m.
Kylee Jones at 350-5944 or firstname.lastname@example.org; or Megan Bozell at 343-7884 or email@example.com
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