I have said before that one of the grieving parent’s worst fears is that their child will be forgotten. I never knew that fear first hand until after Lauren died. That first week was overwhelming and surreal, yet somehow I knew I needed to do something to memorialize her. It was almost instinctive. We sat around my dining room table planning the funeral mass.
As our beloved priest, Fr. Dermot, my friend John, who was minister of music at our church, and my husband and I began talking, I suddenly said, “I want to set up a band scholarship at Northwest Mississippi Community College for Lauren. I want it to be for a band student from her high school.”
The folks around that table understood my request. We are band people. Both of my children had been in band since 5th grade. My son had gone to school at Northwest on a Fine Arts Scholarship for band. My husband and I were active band parents at their high school. We were both in our high school bands. I was in my junior college band. Band nerds, the lot of us.
Our friend John, who is the band director at Northwest, immediately began to cry. His son is our godson. It seemed natural and right to me that this would be how we memorialized our daughter.
The response from the community, our friends and our family was tremendous. In a short amount of time, we had almost raised the $5,000 required for the endowment. Just before we reached the mark, a work colleague/friend of my husband’s sent a check for $5,000 from his office and the scholarship was endowed! Since that time, four students have attended Northwest using the interest earned on the endowment. It is a great feeling to know that we are helping students get their education, and they are remembering our Lauren every year! Meeting these young people and watching them perform with the Northwest band has been a blessing to us in so many ways.
So my advice to those parents who are grieving is to do something to memorialize your child. It won’t bring them back, but it will guarantee that they won’t be forgotten, and it might just make you feel better.