Sunday, September 2, 2012

A Garden of Freedom, Life, Spirit and Joe

  All four of my children’s grandparents are buried in the Franklin Memorial Park Cemetery.    On December 5, 2011, nine months ago, my son, Joe was entombed in one of the chapel mausoleums at Franklin Memorial Park.
I don’t visit Franklin Memorial Park very often.  It is too difficult.
About a month ago, someone recommended a grief group to me.  It is called “The Compassionate Friends”.  The group specifically provides grief support after the death of a child.
As stated on their website: "Through a network of more than 640 chapters with locations in all 50 states, as well as Washington DC and Puerto Rico, The Compassionate Friends has been supporting bereaved families after the death of a child for four decades.”
About two weeks ago, I joined the Facebook group of my local chapter of TCF.  Last night I finally worked up the courage to post something on the group’s page.  I was immediately warmly welcomed.  Somehow, even though I have not yet met any members of this group, I already feel a connection with these people.  
I chatted a little while with Stacy.  She told me about a garden that the local chapter of TCF has created.  It is called “The Children’s Memorial Garden” and is located in Winding River Park, Toms River, NJ
Today, Ross and I went to visit the garden. 
 As soon as I stepped into the garden, I felt a sense of peace. Winding pathways meander along a quite brook. 

 Summer annual pink, white, and red begonias and impatiens are in full bloom. Purple  bushes attract large golden yellow butterflies.   Benches of soft marble, and an open gazebo provide resting and reflecting spots. There are life size bronze statuary of children in touching poses.  

I have found a place.  A place filled with buzzing, chirping fluttering and rippling sounds of life.  A place filled with baby buds, and full grown blooms.  A replenishing place, where life only rests until the next cycle of life begins.

The walkways are set with bricks engraved with names, birthdays and death days of children who have passed. 
As I strolled along these paths of bricks, I unexpectedly became overcome with emotion.  I sat down on one of the benches and suddenly I did not feel alone.   I felt the freedom of spirit and life and I felt Joe. 

I have created a page for Anna's Diary.  It can be found under the Tab titled Anna's Diary.
I have posted all of the entries to date there, starting with January 1, 1929.
Here are the catch up entries from Anna's diary:
Sunday, August 25, 1929
Rested all morning.  Went to 360 for a while.  Then went to see Angie on River St.  Stayed real late and Rose came back with baby and I to stay over night.
Monday, August 26, 1929
Rose and I had breakfast late.  Brought Junior to 360.  Went to pick Mary on Clifton Ave.  Drove Rose home.  Mary and I shopped for Vera's party to be held tomorrow.
Tues. August 27, 1929
Today is Vera's birthday.  Went over at twelve to help a little.  About 25 children.  Twelve mothers.  Tom came home from business and made us all stay later.  Jean came over later.
Wed. August 28, 1929
Went to Allenhust today.  Just Baby and I.  Stopped at Tavern Smoke Shop for our dinner.  Baby Parade at Asbury but we didn't go.  After supper talked until 2 a.m.
Thurs. August 29, 1929
At Allenhurst.  Dick late for his train.  We went to beach.  Children only went bathing.  Cool Home early.  Had a nap. Supper.  Went out for beer and pretzels.
Friday August 30, 1929
Came home today.  Gladys came with me.  Took home the bird and the plants.  Elsie coming home on Monday.  Gladys staying with me until then.  Raining out and cold.
Sat. August 31, 1929
Gladys went to stay with Kay in Nutley.  Met Jean & Peg to shop.  Peg bought Gold Panne Velvet evening dress for Jewel's banquet. Then went to Shuberts to see"Sweet Adeline" with Helen Morgan, star. 
Jean dress for banquet is Peach Velvet.  Jewel has Orchid Chiffon, tight bodice, full skirt long in back, short in front. A deeper shade transparent velvet cloak to wrap around. 
Sunday, September 1, 1929
Gladys still at Kay's. Peg overnight.  Rose and Bill came voer. Girls still at Long Branch.  Home all day.  Very warm.  Bud came over to tell me their house had been robbed and left a mess.
Monday, September 2, 1929
Labor Day.  Home.  Gladys came back.  Hung around all day.  Later went to 360 for supper.  Brought Jean and Junior home. Went to Tivoli with Peg and Rosalie. 


  1. I had no clue where we were going when Lynda said, "We are going to that park in Toms River."
    I thought just another playground dedicated to our lost loved ones.
    It turned out to be the Winding River Park - specifically,The Children's Memorial Garden." I was moved to tears ... just a tiny little place ... unassuming, but so powerful.
    I think that Joe will have a place there soon.

  2. Mom, as I read your post I couldn't help but smile. I am so happy you found this community of support and a place where you can feel the "freedom of spirit and life" and most of all Joe. What a blessing to have this garden you can visit and an online space to communicate with other parents. I think that Joe would have wanted you to find this place and the peace it has brought you. Hugs!

    1. Anne,
      I am going to have a memorial paver set in the garden for Joe. Ross and I are going to attend a TCF meeting on Tuesday night. I hope to meet some of the people from the Facebook group.

  3. So beautiful. SO peaceful. Perfect for the soul, yes?

    1. JT, I caught a glimpse of my soul in that garden. I honestly thought I had lost it forever.

  4. I am so sorry for your loss. What a beautiful place to visit and reflect. Such a fitting place to honor and contemplate the ones we loved and lost. (HUGS)


  5. This place looks lovely from the pics, garden is the place of freshness the human beings get when they be there and this place is just perfect for it.