In Loving Memory was founded in 1992 by Glen and Linda Nielsen who invested all of their love and energy in their only child, Lisa, to heartbreakingly watch her succumb to brain cancer. In Loving Memory is an all-volunteer organization.
In Loving Memory’s emblem is a dove holding a heart. The empty heart symbolizes the hole that will always remain in the hearts of grieving parents. The dove represents the peace that comes as the lifelong process of grief and healing unfolds.
THE LIFELONG JOURNEY OF GRIEF
Each person experiences grief in a unique and personal way, yet certain characteristics are typical of any grief process. Grief itself is a form of tremendous stress. Bereaved parents find they feel fatigued, depressed or forgetful. They may lack motivation and feel uncertain how they will survive the future. Patterns of ups and downs, like a rollercoaster, are normal in a grieving person, and an extended period of healing can be expected.
However, part of grief is also a healthy sign of remembering, touching on a universal human desire to make an indelible imprint. In Loving Memory helps parents find constructive channels for their memories and feelings. Parents have shared ways of preserving their children’s belongings. Some of the ideas are making quilts, pillows, bears or jackets from a child’s clothing, the child’s ring soldered onto the parent’s own, and ornaments or calendars made from photos or artwork have helped many parents keep something of their child close at hand, infusing every day or special occasions with the child’s precious memory.
In Loving Memory has also encouraged parents to find meaningful rituals of remembrance. Candle lighting ceremonies, display of quilts from previous conferences, and a release of doves are some of the many traditions In Loving Memory uses at its conferences. Parents are helped to find their own ways to commemorate their beloved child’s life and to move beyond feelings of helplessness. Marking the child’s birthday, spending time with the child’s friends, or having others join in activities once enjoyed by the child are among the ideas that have been helpful to bereaved mothers and fathers.