Kathie & Rich Meyer
Eleven years ago, May 6th, 1997, the day began with so much promise. The 9 months of waiting for the birth of my son Preston had arrived. My husband, Preston’s big brother and I were so excited to receive him into our family. We were unaware that my newborn son had a dire health condition lurking in the shadows. The team of doctors and nurses that were assembled to intervene concluded that Preston’s condition was “incompatible with life.” Later that same day, my husband and I were faced with the incomprehensible burden of the decision to remove life support. Encircled by family and friends, as Preston lay in my arms, we watched the end descend.
My experience with Share began as a regular support group member who utilized the lending library and telephone support offered by more experienced members. In time, I became a group facilitator and founded a new Share group. Followed by extensive training provided by Share, I became one of the first clinical care companions assigned to St. Joseph West Hospital and subsequently entered an accelerated BSN program in which I minored in psychology with focus on bereavement. I am currently employed as a health care professional and am pursuing an accelerated BSN to PhD curriculum with the goal of conducting evidence-based nursing/medical research.
While all of the above events were occurring, I started the Preston Meyer Charitable Foundation. As executive director of this Foundation, I’ve partnered with Share to develop a health care professional education program.
Since our loss of Preston, I’ve authored some twenty-odd poems that delineated the healing milestones and charted the navigational course of my grief voyage. Three of these poems are the lyrics for professionally recorded songs whose music was written by my friend, a classically trained pianist and composer, Janet Ramey. The songs, Preston’s Lullaby, The Presence of Light and Wandering Angel, have been sung at Share’s Holiday Remembrance and Angel of Hope services. The Preston Meyer Charitable Foundation website offers as support to bereaved parents, access to the songs and poems through the link www.prestonmeyerfoundation.com . None of this would have occurred, if it were not for the bereavement support offered by Share, and the encouragement offered by Cathi Lammert, to whom I am eternally grateful.