How it All Began…..
The Grief Support Network was founded in 2012 by Wendy Black Stern. Her personal story of love, the loss of her first born child, and the incredible capacity of the human heart to heal and transform was the genesis for GSN’s services and programming. Here is Wendy’s story:
“My son Noah passed away when he was nine months old. He was a tiny, light-filled baby who was funny, kind, gentle, and deeply connected to people. We will never know the true cause of his death, but his short time on this earth was so precious that it changed my understanding of life and my ability to give and receive love.
When Noah died, my heart was shattered. I did not believe that I would ever be happy again. Though we were surrounded by family and close friends, my husband, Brian, and I felt alone in our grief. I felt as if he was the only person in the world who could understand what I was going through, and yet he was hurting so badly too. We held onto each other to keep from going under; hardly able to lift each other up or to support one another. Feeling adrift, we left the country to travel to Indonesia and South East Asia in search of a culture that might teach us how to deal with our loss.
While traveling in Bali, Indonesia, we conceived our daughter, Hannah. That blessed event saved my life and gave us hope and a reason to get out of bed in the morning. However, when we returned home, we still found it very difficult to fit into the life that we had left behind, one without Noah. The world for us was forever changed, and we felt completely isolated — unskilled in knowing how to navigate this new territory and move forward.
Through my experience of loss and self exploration, I have learned the power and potential that comes from being broken. Out of my suffering has come a new and authentic understanding of myself and my purpose in this life. Noah is my greatest teacher. He taught me to love while he was here; and taught me the great power of the human heart to heal, transform and grow in his passing.
My desire to keep Noah’s memory alive after his death and to share with the world his great teachings of kindness, love and acceptance lead to my vision for the Grief Support Network. Our goal at GSN is to “wrap a supporting community’s arms” around people who are grieving. We take their hand and help them decide what they need and show them where to find it and invite them into a loving community that holds the values that Noah teaches us. As we walk them through the grieving process, we support them to heal and uncover opportunities to grow and transform. In offering a safe space to share the experience of grief, the Grief Support Network aims to transform how we as a culture perceive and deal with loss, right here, in our own community.
GSN offers a wide variety of programs, services and resources to help people heal and move forward after a loss. This vision has come through me, from my love for Noah. I believe that his light is guiding me to bring this vision to life. Helping others in this way has given me the opportunity to practice gratitude for his bright and lasting presence in our lives.”