By Vanesa Brashier, firstname.lastname@example.org
For parents who have lost a child, the grief never goes away. Five years after the death of her son, Jaxon, Wendy Medina of Cleveland has formed A Hug From Above, Inc., as a way of turning the single-most awful event of her life into something positive for parents who have suffered similar losses.
Medina hopes that those who are part of her non-profit organization will find comfort from leaning on each other and sharing their experiences. Most importantly, she said, they are free to speak about their grief.
“Every single mother I’ve spoken to says the same thing – it’s not talked about,” Medina said. “A lot of people don’t want to talk about it.”
Medina, who manages the family’s El Burrito Restaurant in Cleveland, lost her son, Jaxon, when he was just 3 months old, a victim of crib death.
“Whenever Jaxon died, I remember trying to make my other kids feel better, but I couldn’t focus on them because I was hurting. Thank goodness they had each other,” she said.
Years later, through working with her on A Hug From Above, Inc., her older children, Ashton and Amarissa, have finally shared with her how helpless they felt after their brother’s death.
“They told me, ‘Mom, we couldn’t talk about it because it made you so upset. We didn’t know what to say,’” Medina said. “They were pretending they were all right so they wouldn’t upset me. That’s how this organization started because I want other parents and children to know it’s okay to talk about it.”
Though A Hug From Above, Inc., is just getting started, Medina says they have big plans, which include providing annual scholarships to a graduating senior who has lost immediate family members, such as a parent or sibling. They also have organized a quilt project and a 5K run.
The quilt will include the 26 names of children who were lost to the organization’s members. Along with each child’s name will be Bible verses that encourage strength. The group plans to deliver the first quilt this Saturday to a local mother who recently suffered a loss.
Also, on Saturday, A Hug From Above, Inc., is hosting its inaugural 5K run. Because it is being held on May 4, the theme is May the Fourth Be With You and all participants are encouraged to dress in their favorite Star Wars attire. The money raised from the event will go toward the scholarship account.
The fun run will have a 1K run for children 12 and younger. The fee is $5. The 5K run for ages 13 and older has a fee of $20. Vendors who want to host booths can sign up for a fee of $25. The runs begin at 7:30 a.m. this Saturday, May 4, at El Burrito Restaurant. The path leads runners through neighborhood streets and ends at El Burrito.
Medina is looking for youths to serve on the junior committee for A Hug From Above, Inc. Anyone with an interest should contact her at https://ahugfromabove.org/contact-us