Remarks Of Those Who Attended 2005 Conference

Dear Dinah,
     I'm sorry it's taken me several weeks to get back with you.  I had such a good day when you sent me the Email that someone had found my son's balloon.  I have written to the man but have not heard back from him.  He was from Artimus, Ky so I'm not sure how far that is from you.  You have no ideal how happy you made me.  Thank you so much for letting me know.
     I also wanted to thank you, Jim, Rosemary and her husband for the Conference this year.  As always, I come back with more faith and healing than when I came there.  I really don't think anyone of you, knows how much you help others in their journey through grief.  You do make a difference.  I and I know many others, wish that this wasn't the last year for the Conference.  I know it cost a lot of money, time and love for all the work you do for this Conference.  I just hope we can come there again.
     On the way home, there were several groups of us who left at the same time.  We stopped at Eagles Fall Resort for lunch.  They had just reopened under new management.  We talked to them about having the Conference there.  They would give us reduced rates.  They have a large meeting room and the motel rooms were nice.  We thought even if we met for one day and each one of us brings a covered dish, maybe you would think about continuing to have the Conference.  It's something to think about.
     Again--thank you for your Southern Hospitality and your love that you give so freely.  Others do care and we do appreciate all that you do.  God Bless and hopefully, we will see each other again.
 
                                                                         Love Ya,
                                                                          Linda Flory

Jan Lehman:

Thank you so much for the wonderful J.I.M.’s Conference, 2005. Thank you for providing a safe haven to come together sharing my son, Bryan while getting to know other families and their loved ones-gone too soon.

Best wishes to you and Jim as you travel and spread the word about Cumberland College (University of the Cumberlands). It is a lovely area and an amazing school.

I look forward to seeing you when the documentary is completed .

Leann Butler

Dinah - I have been putting off writing to you to tell you what being at the conference in June meant to me.  It's difficult to express myself so bear with me.  First let me say thank you.  Thank you for giving so much to so many people.  Thank you for the time you spent, the memories you shared and the encouragement you gave.  Secondly, I pray for guidance in doing something worthwhile in my life for my son such as you have done.  At this point, I don't know what but maybe it will come to me.  I have worked in conjunction with Kentucky Physical Therapy to set up a scholarship fund in Scott's memory and will continue to help raise funds for that.  Thirdly, thank you for letting me know, through meeting and talking with others, that I am not by myself.  I talked to parents who lost children 10-12 years back (at this point, I can't even see beyond a day).  Being with those people and seeing them live on in spite of their heartache and grief made me realize that I am not the only one - I am not crazy in thinking that I want to die and that my life is meaningless, I am not crazy in losing my faith in God, I am not crazy because I forget where I am sometimes.  I just have to take each day and go with it.  In other words, being a part of the conference, being a part of a group of people who were kind, understanding and compassionate was inspiring and uplifting.  I came away different somehow and I appreciate that so much.  My attitude is getting a little better, however, the longing and the loneliness needs work.  I saw people who were angry, sad, lonely, in denial, much as I am so I know that I'm not the only one.  Anyway, thank you from the bottom of my heart - thank you for providing the opportunity to speak to others about my wonderful son and remember him at such a special time.  Thank you for the time shared and the memories made.  Most of all, thank you for the card you sent me remembering Scott on July 16th. 

Dinah,

I would just like to thank you for a wonderful weekend. This was our first trip to the J.I.M.'s Conference and it was very memorable. We had a wonderful time and met some very special people. Of course, I already knew the bunch from southern Indiana and the Ohio crew as I go to a retreat with them, but we also met others. The Window of Hope was just breath-taking. I just stood there staring at it because I could not get enough of it.

Thank you again for a wonderful weekend.

Carol Campbell

 

Dear Dinah,  

Thank you so much for all you did for the conference.  It was my first and I certainly hope, not my last.  You are so dear and wonderful to host this and it is the best place in the world to have it.  We all hope you will reconsider and continue with it even if you have to cut back or scale down- we would still be happy to come.  I lost my first child-stillborn- full term in 1972.  In 2002 I lost my youngest son- age 26 to heart problems from birth.  Five months later, I lost my husband of 32 years.  As you can imagine, I have a lot of grief to share and your conference was wonderful.  I am also a grief counselor for women who have lost babies.  Thank you again and for sharing your son, Jim, your husband, your garden and your heart.  

Love, 

Vicki Tackett

 

Dear Dinah,

Thank you so much for all the work you put into making this conference the best ever!  We really appreciated the keynote speaker and the sessions we attended.  Everyone did a super job.  I know you had to really work hard behind the scenes to make everything go so smoothly. 

I am including Bill's prayer which you requested:

Heavenly Father, we have gathered here as your wounded children.  We have all suffered the greatest loss we humans can experience, the death of our precious children.  Some of us have begun to heal and recover as best we can.  Others have wounds so new that their pain is still exceedingly intense.  We ask for the healing and comfort that you alone can provide.  We pray that we shall offer our support and encouragement to each other freely.

Help us all to remember that you are a God of love and great compassion.  Help us to trust your love and to turn to you when our pain is unbearable.  Help us to win the victory over our grief, and to live out our lives victoriously, gaining strength from our pain, and building on unfailing faith in you, our God, who never leaves us, who never forsakes us, no matter what may come to us in this life.  In the name of our Lord, Jesus Christ, we pray.   Amen

Thank you again for all the support you have given us over the years.

Love,
Betty Williams

My Dear Dinah,

I would like to thank you for an incredible weekend.  Everything was absolute perfection.  I'm so sorry now that I didn't attend more of your precious Jim's Picnics.  I feel like I know you and both your Jims so much better now.  I don't know how you manage to pull off such a big event; and it seems you do it with ease.  You were such a lovely, gracious hostess and I'm so glad that we were able to come.

I must say that I hope there will be other Picnics because I surely wouldn't miss another one.  Heck, there HAS to be another one so I can get in the picture!  lol  Glen Cummings was talking at dinner Saturday night about getting a group together who would carry it on for you.  I told him I would help in any way I could. 

This was a weekend that will always remain in my memory ... my angel's name on the brick, the 9-11 memorial, Glen's memorial, the Tree of Life, the beautiful Angel and garden, Bill's incredible stained glass window, the gorgeous campus and hotel, all of your sweet gifts, the fun of being in a college classroom and lunch room again, everything!  My only complaint was that it was too short!  :-) 

Let me know when Rosemary's film is ready and maybe we can come back for that. 

Again, I thank you from the bottom of my heart for all the hard work you did in order to make this Picnic so wonderful.

Lots of love and gratitude,
 Faye, Lisa's mom forever

 

Butterfly Greetings Dinah, 

What a weekend we had!!  When we get home and try to explain what kind of time we had there are no words.  To be around 200 plus bereaved parents and there are no strangers anywhere only people who know how we feel and understand without judging is just an  unbelievable feeling of peace. 

If you would please add to Lamentations that the "Our Angels In Heaven" ribbons are now available to order by mail........size 8"x4" $5.00 plus $1.00 for shipping for a total of $6.00. (You can get more information on the website)

While at J.I.M.S. we sold over $600 worth of ribbons........the Lord sure has blessed this fundraiser.

Again THANKS FOR ALL THE HARD WORK YOU DO FOR ALL OF US

Butterfly Kisses & Happy Trails, Kathi Mullens.....Jeff's Mom & Courtney's Granny

And another note from the Clogging Granny:

Butterfly Greetings Dinah,

First and foremost, I want to thank you for an awesome weekend.J.I.M.'s Conference was a huge success.We got to visit with fellow travelers we had met in the past few years and then were able to meet new friends.There are no words to tell what a felling of comfort and serenity I get when we are joined together.I felt all of our children where there and cheering us on.

Your heart is so full of love for all of us; it shows on yor face and you are truly a southern bell.We will see you again. 

 

Dear Dinah and Jim,

I love the pottery urn/vase you gave me at the dedication.  It is a one of a kind piece that I will cherish and hand down to Lynette some day.  I appreciate your thoughtfulness and kindness.

The entire weekend was such a high for me.  The candle lighting service was very beautiful.  I would not have changed one thing about it.  The Compassionate Friends groups totally outdid themselves.  If there had been nothing else this weekend that service would have been very worth while.

Saturday was a very special experience for me.  I watched the parents' faces as the window was uncovered and their expressions made all the work worth while.  I will never forget their smiles, tears and joy.  They were all so very gracious.  I was so happy that they liked their child's panel and the window as a whole.  I received many, many wonderful compliments for the window from the other parents as well. 

Thanks Dinah and Jim for allowing me to make the window.  The Window of Hope has been the most fulfilling experience of my life.  From the beginning the experience was a joy and as it ended I realized I had been on a spiritual journey that will effect me for the rest of my life.

You both are such exceptional people.  I take great pleasure that I am your friend.

Love,
Bill (Rogers - artist of Window of Hope) 

 

Dinah,

Thank you for all that you have done.  It is so evident that you and the conference have impacted so many people's lives.  I suspect that unknowingly you have saved lives over the past 14 years.  My prayers are with you as you enter this new stage in your own life. 

Peace,

Jan Ulrich  momma of Nathan Eisert  5/27/82-6/8/02
"Tell Them Momma, A Life's Too Much To Lose"
www.tellthemmomma.com

 

Dear Friends,

Thanks for everything - and most of all your inspiration through the past nine years.

In the beginning I just didn't think I could make it.However, your LAMENTATIONS and your love helped to make our valleys more bearable.

I just love your pane in the Window of Hope - how special it is as well as all the others.

Am looking forward to the documentary and getting to see you all again.

God Bless!
Jolene Hutchinson

 

Dear Dinah and Jim,

Thank you, thank you, thank you!Your warm hospitality - as always - unsurpassed!It was so good to see y'all - but the week-end went too fast.

All the neat and thoughtful things you do - the gift bag, angels for the touching candlelight service, the attention to every detail - planning, program, food, the dedication of the window (awesome) and the tree of life - the spectacular balloon release - everything was just perfect.  What a spectacular last conference! 

Thanks to both for being our Life Savers!And for hundreds of other parents s well.

Much love,
Woody & Donna Herndon

(Their address was inadvertently left off the list.You may reach them at 1515 Oxford Dr., Murray, KY 42071 (270) 753-7784)

 

Dear Dinah,

I'm writing to tell you how much I appreciate what you've done for me.  You and Jim made it possible for me to see Tina stand. (Tina was always confined to a wheel chair while she was here on earth; Bill Rogers made it possible for her to stand).By having the Window of Hope at the college, I can come down and see her stand.Both of you are such wonderful people.

Dinah, you are such a giving person and I know that you miss Young Jim as much as I miss Tina, but you always let others talk about their pain.I'm not very good about writing my feelings, but I hope you know how I feel about you.

Rosemary Mayne

 

Dear Dinah,

It was good to speak with you again at J.I.M.'s conference.I am four months into the second year, and am beginning to try to figure out how I want to keep on living, after focusing on just surviving the first year.It is still very painful for me to acknowledge that I have lost my precious child - even seeing my name badge at the conference, with his two dates on it, sent a wave of grief through me.

I want to thank you for all the wonderful work you have done in reaching out to so many parents.While I found the conference highly emotional and painful, I also found it worthwhile, and have been pondering all I saw and heart.  Hearing Cindy Bullens - that alone made the trip worthwhile, plus meeting so many other parents, and attending the sessions and commemorations.

I envy your ability to reach out to so many, to find purpose despite and because of yoru own tragedy.  I don't seem to be able to do that, although I am still attending Compassionate Friends meetings.(Mona, you will be able to reach out in the future to others)

I will never forget your coming up to me at the first horrible meeting, and your kind smile, and your unbelievable assurances that 'it would get better.'I knew that you knew, especially since we had both lost our only son and only child.

Thank you for affording so many the opportunity to share and learn from each other in this necessarily horrible 'club,' to find understanding and support with the only other people who can identify and understand.

God bless you!

Love,
Mona Vass

 

Dear Dinah and Jim,

 Thank you so very much for planning, organizing, and hosting the tremendous conference this year in memory of Young Jim.  I thought it was the best yet and Ann (Kechter) did a wonderful job speaking.

You are both so special and wonderful to give so generously to help all of us.

I look forward to seeing you at the movie 'premier.'

We will never forget Young Jim nor either of you.

 

Love,
Sandy and Dave Robins

 

Dear Dinah and Jim,

Thank you so much for another great weekend.I thought Jim's Conference was such a blessing to all of us.

Everyone seems to have a good spirit and love for each other. I was so pleased and extremely happy about the 'Window of Hope.' These memories and conferences have truly helped me so much to be able to go on and look forward to another year.

Sincerely fellow traveler,
Rita and Lester Canada

Dear Dinah and Jim,

Thank you for everything, you both are great and friendly people.

I know you all did a lot of planning for Jim's Conference. I know everyone enjoyed it. It was a time when we could just let go. We know our children were looking down, enjoying everything.

Linda & Bobby Parsons

 

Dear Dinah,

Thanks again!! For all you do!

Friday night I gathered in the lobby with other parents. One mother came to me and asked to hear the story about the "Live Forever" plant. She told the other parents that I was going to tell it. They all sat quietly and listened and they asked if I would come to Ohio to retell the story.

Afterwards I went out to smoke with another parent. Everyone else had retired for the night, and as I was heading to my room, I saw a lone teen-ager sitting on a couch. I sat down with her and asked if she was there for J.I.M.'s Conference. She was...however; she was not a teenager, but a 29-year-old mother from Atlanta.

Only 5 months ago, her 6-year-old, son Luke, had died from a steel beam crushing his chest and heart.

She told a precious story.A few days before Luke died; their neighbor had a garage sale.  She gave luck $1.00 and told him to go buy a toy for himself.

He soon came running back and said, 'Look, Momma, I got you something.'He un-clutched his hand and was holding a heart ring.She wore it proudly until it turned her finger green.She then told him she would store it n a safe place.  Now she says she will never take it off.

I heard a couple of other similar stories of someone's child writing a poem about Heaven or of love for their parents' only days before they died.  On my way home, I thought a lot about the ripple effect of J.I.M.'s Conference—the friendships that are created, etc.—things that you will not even know about until you get to Heaven.

Please say a prayer for me as I begin my video with Dr. Sally Hastings a week from today. 

Charlotte Martin 

(As Charlotte gives me information on the video she is making, I will let you know)

 

Dear Dinah,

Thank you kindly for a wonderful Conference in memory of all our children - my girls, Karen and Beth, would have loved being there, maybe they were!

It was so beautiful.Like all, I'm sorry for no more, I can see all the effort, energy and love it took to put this all together.You did a beautiful two days for all of us.I am grateful for the short time I was a part.Like all the rest, I'm sorry for no more conferences.We will keep in touch.

Thanks- Traveler

Dot Kegg

Dear Fellow Travelers,

Thank you for all your kind words, but you must remember that Rosemary Smith is an essential, unsung hero in the conference.  She does so much for each of us and God will have a very special place for her in heaven.

Thank you, dear friends, for your love and letting me continue to share Young Jim with you, as I want you to continue to share your children with me.

I will continue to keep the website and write the LAMENTATIONS.But it is up to you to share your children with me so this can continue.

Love, hugs and kisses,
Dinah