Losing a child can be a truly devastating event for any parent, and hard times can make even the most stable parents break down. Fortunately, there are those who are more than willing to help others during those difficult times.
Susan Averitt is one of those people. She has organized an upcoming interactive seminar specifically designed for parents that have lost children in Springdale on Saturday (April 5).
The event is called “Parents Left Behind,” and it will be at the Jones Center For Family from 8 a.m. to 12 p.m. “Parents Left Behind” is free to the public, but attendees are requested to register in advance for the event. They can do so by clicking here.
Once on the website, users need only click on the button that has the name of the seminar on it. That button is located on the right side of the screen.
Averitt has designed the seminar to have three parts. In the first part of the seminar, she will serve as the keynote speaker and address attendees as a parent who has lost her own child. After her keynote speech, everyone will be offered four breakout sessions to choose from. All of the sessions will be led by experts in the field of grief management. Wrapping up “Parents Left Behind” will be a celebration ceremony where attendees will celebrate the lives of the children they have lost.
Concerning attendees, Averitt said she invites any parent who have lost a child, no matter the age.
“I want to make sure people know it can be a child of any age,” she said.
Approximately 80 people have signed up so far, but Averitt said she expects around 100-120 to attend.
Averitt is experienced when it comes to the difficult subject of child loss. She lost her own daughter, Cameron Averitt Bobbitt, on Jan. 19, 2006. Bobbitt was only five when she was killed after being struck by a car in Oklahoma.
After losing her daughter, Averitt knew she wanted to do something to honor her daughter’s life.
“I definitely wanted to do things in memory of Cameron,” she said.
Compelled to honor her daughter’s memory, she started Cameron’s Amazing Book Club. The club collects new children’s books and then distributes them to area hospitals and clinics.
The book club was started in 2007. Averitt also started a memorial fund in her daughter’s name that same year. It’s called the Cameron Bobbitt Memorial Fund, and it’s run through the Arkansas Community Foundation. The fund makes charitable donations to organizations that support family and children.
Five years passed after Bobbitt’s death, and Averitt said she felt moved to try to help others in her position.
“The best people to help are people who have been through it themselves,” Averitt said.
She continued, “I’m a parent that lost a child.”
Averitt met with a woman from Oklahoma who had lost two of her own children. According to Averitt, the women wrote a book about her children that was released in 2012, and since releasing the book, this Oklahoma resident had been given the opportunity speak before organizations, groups and supporters for parents that have lost their own children.
Inspired, Averitt went back and met with the Northwest Arkansas Clinical Pastoral Education Institute. She expressed her desire to help parents that have lost children.
“I felt there was a need in the community,” she said.
The Northwest Arkansas Clinical Pastoral Education Institute helped Averitt to organize the “Parents Left Behind” interactive seminar.
Averitt said the event took nine months to organize, and if this first event goes well, she would want to do it again next year.
In regards to putting the event on again in 2015, Averitt simply replied, “Yes. Definitely.”