And the adventure begins! But the journey started on August 31, 2014 when we heard that our granddaughter, Hazel, at the age of three months had passed away suddenly and unexpectedly in her sleep from Sudden Unexplained Infant Death. We rushed down to Calgary to be with our son, Gareth, and his wife, Gillian. Those first days were full of extreme emotions – shock and grief for the loss of Hazel and anxiety for Gareth and Gill’s obvious trauma. After the months and years have passed the intensity of these emotions has decreased but they are still there.
One thing that has become apparent is that we all want Hazel to be remembered. A tree in the memorial forest in the Burnsmead area of Fish Creek Park and a memorial bench in River Park -- both in Calgary-- are special places we can visit when we need to feel close to Hazel. Another way to remember Hazel was started by her Mum after she saw a need to provide the opportunity for grieving parents to meet others in similar circumstances, to share their grief journey, and to create a community of support. From her recognition of the need Gillian started Hazel’s Heroes, a society to provide retreats for grieving parents who have lost infant children. The hope of these retreats is to provide a safe space for bereaved parents to heal their broken hearts, honour their children, and help other parents going through a similar experience. For more details about Hazel’s Heroes, please go to www.hazelsheroes.ca
So that’s where I come in and my adventure begins. Organizing a society and providing retreats at little or no cost to grieving families requires financial support to ensure its success. My passion has always been outdoor activities, especially canoeing and hiking, and I try to share this passion with my grandchildren. My goal is to take each of my grandchildren on either their first backcountry hike or on their first extended canoe trip. That is why I am going to England in April so that I can paddle the length of the River Thames and then hike the 630 miles of the South West Coast Path as a fund raiser for Hazel’s Heroes. This is the first of my trips with Hazel and she will be with me whenever I go out with any of my grandchildren.
If you would like to follow me on my adventure you will able see my progress on Facebook at Hazel’s Helper (www.facebook.com/HazelsHelper/ ) or on this blog ( www.hazels-helper.com ). I intend to post on a regular basis starting with my preparation and throughout my two trips whenever I have an internet connection. If you are following me and would like to donate you can go to the GoFundMe website at ( www.gofundme.com/27hqmgc ), or by Etransfer in Canada sent to firstname.lastname@example.org with the password HAZELROSE. 100% of all donations goes towards hosting the annual retreats and will make a difference in the life of a bereaved parent. Thank you for your support and I look forward to sharing mine and Hazel's journey with you.
I'm a grandfather who lost an infant granddaughter and who wants to help Gillian, her mother, provide support for other grieving parents through Hazel's Heroes.