ST. LOUIS – One week after Mother’s Day, dozens of local moms who all have individual stories but share a common grief, gathered for a celebration of life in the Delmar Loop.
The unfortunate connection they all share? Their children have been shot and killed in the city of St. Louis.
“It’s really important. People who lose their children, they need all the love and support they can get, because when their children die they lose a part of themselves,” said organizer Cal Brown. “And I learned that firsthand supporting my husband for almost the last seven years.”
Michael Brown’s stepmother helped to coordinate this meeting of grieving mothers. Brown’s father, Michael Brown Sr., shared his own message for the moms.
“That we love them and we’re thinking about them. …You guys have been through a lot. … Those are the things we have to keep at the forefront,” he said. “That’s what keeps us strong and strength from helping other people and that gives us the strength to keep going forward in our own.”
The UnGUN Institute and Show Me Arts Academy partnered to put on Sunday’s event, providing 40 mothers with SOUL boxes to help them cope with the ongoing trauma of losing a child to gun violence.
“Inside the SOUL boxes … is a trauma kit, along with some other items to help the mothers have self-care when needed. Because when trauma hits, when you get triggered by trauma, once you’ve experienced something, then there are triggers that we have to avoid,” said Dr. Marty K. Casey, founder of the UnGUN Institute. “And when those triggers take place, you never know when, so inside that moment stop and do some self-care.”