Posted at: 06/18/2013 10:11 PM
Updated at: 06/18/2013 11:38 PM
Angel of Hope statues serve as memorial for children that have died across the country, and nearly 100 people came together to dedicate one in Duluth on Tuesday.
The statue was placed in a small corner of Leif Erikson Park last fall, and organizers said it will be a place where anyone can go to know they are not alone.
Smiles, hugs and a few tears helped the Angel of Hope spread her wings. The statue is a memorial for children that have died, and the parents suffering from that loss.
“It's like a club that none of us want to belong to,” Deb Davis said.
Davis is a committee member for the Angel of Hope in Duluth and was a big part of making it a reality. She said losing her son drove her to help, but that loss is a daily struggle.
“A day does not go by that I probably don't have some sort of memory that brings tears to my eyes because I don't have my son here,” Davis said.
She said she found support from other parents facing the same pain, and she wants the Angel of Hope to be a symbol of that in Duluth.
“I would hope that it would give other people a sense of peace, a sense of knowing you're not alone,” Davis said.
Parents at the dedication said the small retreat can help them heal.
“Because when you see other names you know that it's not just you, and for so long you might feel it's only you that has experienced something like this,” Barb Titus said.
She also lost her son, but said it helped to honor him by placing his name on the memorial. It gives her a connection to her son and the other parents.
“And some wonderful people that I know that are also here because of a child had their little one sitting right above my son's brick and it was wonderful. It was like our boys kind of got together there,” Titus said.
Titus said the memorial will help many, but Davis said the healing process isn't always a smooth one.
“Personally I know a mom who just said, 'I'm just not ready to come to the statue.' So you know we each move at our own time. There's no right and no wrong,” Davis said.
But she said when that mother is ready the Angel of Hope will be there with open arms.
Names have been carved into a few bricks surrounding the statue, but parents can contact the City of Duluth if they would like to honor their child. Davis said there is a $75 charge for the engraving process.
Angel of Hope statues have been placed across the country including nearby in Grand Rapids and Virginia. The Duluth statue is the seventh established in Minnesota.