The year 2016, has been excruciatingly painful for many families. It has been a year of loss, anxiety and sadness. I have met many bereaved families locally during this past year and Rainbow has also welcomed families from around the state and country to our Rainbow Facebook group. In contrast, it has also been a year of great joy as some parents have welcomed new babies into their families and as our surviving children have reached milestones and had life experiences, which we will never take for granted. It feels like life has broken some of us some days, and enriched us beyond measure on others. We have been changed by our grieving, and also by our healing.
Grieving is never easy and is always emotionally exhausting. But out of this struggle, a great appreciation for life can arise as well as an appreciation for hope and peace of mind. Having the opportunity to share our sorrow and joy, helps us individually and also helps bereaved families collectively. Healing happens at peer support group meetings, as we meet privately as friends, and I have especially loved watching healing happen through our Facebook Rainbow group. I have seen families supported with love, insight and a wisdom that can only come from those who have also experienced infant death and pregnancy loss. The Facebook group has helped parents find understanding and a community of caring. It has provided a place to vent for some. Countless resources, insights, and friendships have been shared over the past year, too.
I want to thank the many parents who contribute to these efforts to provide support to others. Rainbow could not exist without the commitment and caring of those who choose to be involved. Rainbow is a place to seek support not just early on in the grieving process, but shared experiences interrupt the isolation and loneliness that often accompany our grieving down the road, too.
I would like to invite those of you who have experienced a pregnancy loss or infant death to attend a Rainbow meeting in 2017. Some parents come to one or two meetings and find the help they seek. Some parents attend more regularly to gain healing and understanding and to ultimately provide support to others. You are always welcome to join us. We meet monthly on the first Thursday evening of each month. We are also available to talk one to one, upon request. For more information about Rainbow meetings in Billings, or to become a part of our private Facebook support group, please contact Traci @ 406-855-4439, or Molly @ 406-248-3487/406 -670-7193. You can also private message Traci DeRudder Reichenbach or Molly Gillen Mills on Facebook.
As the year 2016 comes to a close and we begin a new year, I am grateful for all the families I have met through Rainbow. I am grateful for your involvement in our group and for your friendship. I am grateful for the opportunity to share our stories and grateful for the opportunity to honor all of our beloved babies.