Children gone too soon remembered at Children’s Peace Garden in Medway
On June 13, 2022, Susan Connolly stood in Choate Park in front of Medway’s beautiful new Children’s Peace Garden during a dedication ceremony that was not only beautiful and emotional, but was also a surreal moment for Connolly who had an idea to create a Children’s Peace Garden in Medway after she lost her son, Ethan. The following are excerpts from her speech that day.
“Before Ethan died, sadly I could name several other local children that had died. Some I knew personally. While attend ing a support group for bereaved parents, I learned of a similar garden located in Kingston, MA. This, I thought, was a way for all children gone too soon to be remembered.
“I only told a few people including my friend, Tina Wright, about my idea and she never let me forget. For years, I did not have the capacity or energy to take on a project of this magnitude, but occasionally Tina would ask if I was ready. The answer was ‘no’ until 2017 when a committee of bereaved parents was formed.
“It took us over 5 years of meetings, discussions, voting on ideas, fundraising and Tina Wright and Paul Mahoney acting as liaisons, coordinating with the town and now it is nearly complete. Nearly complete, because unfortunately there will always be new names to engrave although we all wish that weren’t true.
“One common feeling amongst bereaved parents is they never want their beloved child forgotten. This garden stands as a place to remember and honor our children. Our hope is others will walk through this sacred place, reflect, and remember our children too. Every engraved brick is similar. It represents that each child matters, is equally loved and honored.
“The garden is heartbreakingly beautiful. Of course, we all wish there was no such thing as child loss and therefore no need for a Children’s Peace Garden. But here we stand before you to witness 27 names engraved so far and sadly more to follow. We plan to have future ceremonies as engraved paver requests are completed.”
At the conclusion of the ceremony, each child’s name (27 in total) was read and the parents or a family member present, placed a candle on the circular stone in the center.
Susan Connolly is the voice behind a Go Fund Me campaignat https://www.gofundme.com/f/childrenspeacegarden, the Peace Garden emails, and one of the voices behind the Facebook page (@medway’schildrenspeacegarden)