November 2017 UPDATE: In the words of founder, Dawn, "Angels Above Baby Gowns is still going strong. We are now in over 350 hospitals and in 5 countries. We grow bigger everyday."
ANGELS ABOVE BABY GOWNS
|"It's not about us, it's about helping families."|
A gentle hug 'hello' continues the relationship we began on the phone. Face to face, the glow of peace and wholeness from Dawn Lafferty is remarkable.
You would never guess that only a few years ago, she emerged from an abusive marriage, betrayal, fraud, and multiple fragile health concerns and yet: she glows.
Propelled by a driving energy that belies her disabilities, Dawn proudly navigates the busy sewing quarters of her basement, plucking up and distributing supplies to volunteers.
Grieving parents sought a dignified farewell for their precious child, born premature. Ready-made clothing for such tiny babies is nearly impossible to find, but a trip to heaven requires more than a diaper!
The compelling need touched Dawn deeply. Not finding a Michigan organization to assist, she launched ANGELS ABOVE BABY GOWNS.
Dawn retired early, for medical reasons. Leaving a corporate career, she had more time for her love of sewing. "I started sewing when I was 10--taught by my Mom. She made all the clothes for the seven of us."
Dawn is the volunteer Costume Organizer for the Grosse Pointe Theater; She creates hundreds of costumes for several plays each year. This Spring, the production of Les Miserables required over 300 costumes to be designed, sewn and fitted for each actor! And when the theater is dark, Dawn's sewing room is not: "I sew every day-- alterations for family and members of the community senior center."
Volunteer, Wuneetha, mother of two and Coney Island waitress, is here because "my nephew, Matthew, was an angel baby." She describes the grief of her sister, D'aun, who puts balloons on her son's grave, each month. "A child is growing inside you; you've given your heart. Their death is devastating."
|Before beginning my assignment of packaging gowns for delivery to hospitals and hospices,|
Karen Herzog arrives to donate her wedding gown.
What do grieving parents find helpful or hurtful?
Wendy has experienced several miscarriages and a newborn's death. A board member of Friends Supporting Parents, she shares:
"Our hearts broke the moment hers stopped, and to this day, remain broken. People feel uncomfortable with death, and even more so with a child/infant death.
After a while, we begin to feel alone."She encourages grieving parents to find peer support. Wendy has been attending Friends Supporting Parents since 2010 and describes the comfort: "we are surrounded by people who know and who care because they've been there too. We continue to come because we can be authentic about our grief. And, everyone gets it."
The Condolence Coach says:
Contact or Follow Angels Above Baby Gowns on Facebook
More Resources from The Condolence Coach:
I was inspired to write about Angels Above Baby Gowns by a woman who lost two grandchildren by miscarriage. Now, I know more about her loss: When Grandparents Grieve
Read more heartwarming and heartwrenching stories of Angels Above Baby Gowns:
Someday I'll Meet My Brothers, Delivery At a Birthing Center, A Time to Tear and A Time to Mend, and Heartbeats and Lightening Bolts
Readers may also wish to visit this post about baby and children's death: Two Too Many: Gone But Never Forgotten
When siblings experience the death of a baby brother or sister, these posts may provide good condolence guidance: Grieving Children, Part 1, and Grieving Children, Part 2.
This post is a good review of responding to any child's death: 5 Things to Say When Death Strikes the Young
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