When Rev. DeAndrea Dare and her husband Aaron faced the harsh reality that their precious first-born child Max would not survive outside his mother’s womb, Aaron placed Max in DeAndrea’s arms and said, “We will always think about how he should be with us.”
Since that day in March 2013, they have remembered Max with tears and joy, with grief and laughter, and with courage. After receiving tender help and care from a retreat in Wisconsin designed for parents who suffered through the death of a child, DeAndrea began to look for ways to enter the pain of others and share the comfort she and Aaron had received.
She pressed forward with her calling and in October of 2014, DeAndrea received certification from the State of Texas to form the nonprofit organization A Memory Grows, which will serve families who have also experienced the death of a child. The IRS has since granted A Memory Grows the 501(c)(3) designation. In October the organization will begin to bring together parents for retreats and events that offer space and time for healing. The nonprofit will also serve as a resource to hospitals, hospices, churches, clinics, and various individuals and organizations.
An important feature of A Memory Grows will be to offer healing rituals of remembrance that help parents celebrate the life of their child even in the midst of grief. DeAndrea, Aaron, and their 2-year-old daughter Maezey have done a number of things together to honor Max. They are teaching their daughter through these rituals that love never dies and that, in some wonderful way, Max continues to share life with them.
The Central Texas Conference of the United Methodist Church appointed Rev. Dare to this ministry on March 1, 2016. FUMCFW is providing office space for her to lay plans for the organization. A Memory Grows will launch a website, www.amemorygrows.org, and Facebook page beginning in May where families can find resources and also apply to attend one of the upcoming retreats.
DeAndrea envisions a special retreat center where families can grieve and grow together, and where they can experience the reality of love that carries on.