Who Is Just Enduring?
Welcome to Just Enduring. When you’re just enduring the loss of a child, whether you are a parent, grandparent, sibling, family member, friend, co-worker, or professional, we’re with you. Let us be the shoulder to lean on during the worst time of your life – we’ve been there.
Who We Are
Just Enduring: Living and Loving After Child Loss is a nonprofit organization based in St. Louis, MO, founded in February of 2020 by grieving parents and medical professionals. Just Enduring was created to fill a gap and provide grief support to families and those who are close to them who suffer the tragic death of a child.
Just Enduring was founded by grieving parents Ben & Lara Gillham and Nick & Martha McGeehon, as well as Dr. Ken Remy, a critical care physician, and Allison Remy, a Licensed Clinical Social Worker. The Gillhams lost their first child, 6 month old son Jackson, in December 2018 to a rare and undiagnosed heart condition. The McGeehons lost their second daughter, Everly, at just 4 months old in August of 2018 in her sleep. Ken Remy grew up having lost his older brother Dennis, who passed away before Ken was born. The Gillhams, McGeehons, and Remys make up the current Board of Directors for Just Enduring.
After losing their children and realizing that the grief support they so badly needed was either unavailable or extremely difficult to find during an already challenging time, the Gillhams and McGeehons knew there had to be a better solution. The Remys, having watched families suffer after the loss of a child in their respective professions, felt the same. In fact, Dr. Remy was Jackson’s PICU doctor in his final days. Parents, grandparents, siblings, friends, family, co-workers, and medical professionals need one place where they can go to learn about the grieving process and what resources exist to help with that process. So Just Enduring was created to help families live and love after child loss.
What We Do
Our mission to provide grief support to parents and their families encompasses three main objectives:
1. Providing immediate resources on our website and in written materials.
When a parent first loses a child, they are overwhelmed with grief, they are numb, and they are trying to process everything. They very seldom have the energy to search for what they need to know about grieving. We have been there, and it was exhausting. So we created justenduring.org, a place that we hope provides answers and important information with just one click. On our website, you will find resources for parents, which includes funeral arrangements, feelings and emotions of grieving, lactation support, sibling support, mental health resources, child loss books, and a blog where parents, family, and friends share their own grief experiences – some difficult and some in which they have discovered a silver lining.
We often get asked by family members and friends what they can do or say to the parents to help, so we also created resources for them. On our family and friends resources page, you’ll find advice on what to say (and not say) to parents, what you can do (and not do) for parents, what employers and co-workers can do to help, and information for family and friends on their own grief.
Just Enduring also hopes to provide resources to caregivers, members of the community, medical professionals, and others to help them learn to recognize the needs of bereaved parents and their families, and constructively fulfill those needs in a supportive role.
2. Providing peer support.
One of the unique aspects of our nonprofit is that we match parents who have recently lost a child with experienced bereaved parents to provide peer support. We do this through a program called “A Parent Like You.” We match parents based on a variety of factors, including their child’s age and cause of death. These parents are invited to get together over dinner, coffee, zoom calls, text message, or however they feel comfortable to discuss their grief journey and hopefully have a sense that they are not alone.
3. Providing group support to bereaved families through a multi-day retreat.
Creating a retreat is a long-term goal for Just Enduring. First, we want to establish the ability to provide the most important immediate support that parents need after they lose a child. As we are able to raise more funds and secure a location, our hope is that we can find a beautiful lodge to host retreats for parents and their families. We want this space to be a place of healing, remembering our children, connecting with other bereaved parents, and just having some space to feel the variety of emotions that come with losing a child.
The Meaning Behind Our Name
Behind the name of Just Enduring are Jackson and Everly. We chose the “J” for Jackson and the “E” for Everly. In our logo we incorporated the butterfly to represent Everly and the color orange to represent Jackson’s favorite color.
We wanted our name and logo to represent our children, but to also convey the journey parents begin the moment their child passes away. Navigating life after child loss is a journey that requires endurance; the feelings of grief are forever present. Just Enduring represents the grief parents feel during the worst time of their lives, but also focuses on how to keep their child’s memory alive and continue living and loving in the aftermath of that loss.
Our Future Goals
During 2020, our Board of Directors have worked feverishly to make Just Enduring an official 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, build our website, create content and resources for parents, and build connections with other organizations. As we move forward, our plan for 2021 is to continue building our support resources, launch the “A Parent Like You” program to facilitate peer support, continue our outreach efforts, and continue to expand our fundraising efforts.
If you would like to volunteer, such as writing a blog topic or donating your time or skills, please don’t hesitate to connect with us. And if you’d like to support our mission by making a contribution, we’d greatly appreciate it.