Sunday, September 22, 2013

Shells From the Sea

Anne, chairperson of one of the committees at the National Compassionate Friends Conference this past July, did something very unique for what is called the ‘reflection room,’ a place of rest and reflection for bereaved parents. Her project was so unique that I though some chapters might want to do something similar, instead of a balloon or butterfly release. It would be up to each group, whether they just do the shell portion or actually throw them back into the sea.

Over a thousand shells were gathered and placed in the reflection room along with four tall lighthouses that were designed and built for each corner of the room (and at the end of the conference auctioned off). Sharpies were provided and those who came in were welcomed to write on a message on a shell or just their loved one’s name and place them under one of the lighthouses or take them home with them. All the shells left were brought back to the ocean from where they originated and each child’s name on the shell was read before being tossed from the boat into the water. See the youtube video of this being done at .

Almost 800 shells were left with messages of love to our children, grandchildren and siblings. “It was amazing,” said Anne, “to watch how each shell reacted differently to the water.” “Some floated while others drifted; some plunged and others dance; a few bounced back out before peacefully floating on. I like to think that the shells took on a personality of the name written on them. It was a unique experience, one I felt honored to be a part of,” she added.

A few comments from those who participated in the shells from the sea:

Gail Lafferty said..."When I wrote my son's name on the shell at the conference I debated whether to bring it home with me but decided he would love it going back to the water where he loved to be and play as a child...thank you so much...this has touched me so deeply...

Julie Diem said..."This was very touching...and honoring. Thank you for doing this. The reflection room and this activity was one of the most moving and healing things for me that weekend. What a thoughtful, beautiful and honoring act for my daughter and 3 grandsons. May God bless you for all you have done for us bereaved.

Jackie Glawe said...The reflection room was serene and calming and I loved the shell idea! Thank you so much for taking the time to take all the shells to the ocean and video and photograph the process as well...

Donna LaPointe said...This was SO powerful. All I can say is Thank You, Thank You. What an incredible testament to our precious children...