MADISON, S.D. (KELO) — Saturday morning pictures of children gone too soon lined Library Park in Madison, South Dakota. Healing Hope Ministries was there for a Walk to Remember, with the purpose of the walk two-fold: to honor children who have died and support their families.
Jamie Lambertz has gone to every Healing Hope Ministries Walk to Remember since the walks started in 2016. She goes to honor her son.
“His name is D’Artagnan James,” Lambertz said. “He was stillborn on October 10, 2010. So I don’t have the memories a lot of people have, but I still try to honor him anyway I can.”
She says she wants to offer hope to other families grieving the loss of a child.
“It’s nice to be able to talk to somebody that, when you mention your son that they don’t get that deer in a headlight look like, oh my god, what do I say, you know,” Lambertz said. “It’s nice that that other person goes, you know what, I felt like that too. It gets better.”
Healing Hope Ministries founders Denny and Karri Allen say finding that community of support is why they host the Walks to Remember.
“A lot of times, what we noticed in communities for the walks is that people recognize others there that they know well but they’ve never discussed the fact that they’ve had a loss. So that gives them the opportunity to connect over coffee and just go deeper into that and help each other on their journey,” Denny Allen said.
Besides the walks, the organization also has a retreat center in Alcester, South Dakota that families can visit. The Allens started Healing Hope Ministries five years ago after attending a similar retreat in Minnesota. They lost their first son Asher.
“We just felt called to bring something like that to South Dakota because it was about a seven hour drive,” Denny Allen said.
The mission of their organization is simple, but it can bring a powerful message.
“That’s our main message is that you’re not alone,” Karri Allen said. “It may seem lonely, but there are so many others on this journey and we just have to stick together.”
“Hope is there. It takes awhile, don’t expect it to happen overnight because it’s not going to,” Lambertz said. “But, I guess, feel it when you can and sit in it when you can, the grief, you know. And just know that there’s other people out there that are willing to say, ‘hey, I’ve been there, let’s go have a chat.”
This was the first Walk to Remember in Madison. A local mom there asked to set one up in honor of her own child whom she lost. Healing Hope Ministries try to host three to four walks each year.