Parents Left Behind began because of the tragic death of a child. Cameron Bobbitt was just shy of her sixth birthday when she was struck by a motorist as she entered a school crosswalk. Her mother, Dr. Susan Averitt, led the initial efforts to resuscitate her daughter. “It was apparent to me that she died instantly, but we tried to save her. I went from being a happy mom to losing my oldest daughter in the blink of an eye,” she remembers.
Dr. Averitt’s journey through grief strengthened her desire to “make sure something positive comes out of Cameron’s death.” After years of attempting to come to terms with that grief, she decided to honor Cameron’s memory by sharing her story with other grieving parents. On April 5, 2014, she gave the keynote address that launched Parents Left Behind.
Dr. Averitt’s simple retelling of her family’s response to the loss of their daughter and sister opened the floodgates for the parents and loved ones who came to the seminar. Bereaved parents told their own stories and found solace meeting other parents who understood their lonely walk through alien territory.
On Sunday, August 29, 2021, Dr. Averitt and her team of caring professionals will host the Joined on the Journey, the sixth annual seminar for Parents Left Behind. This event is virtual and will be held from 4:00-6:30 pm. There is no charge to attend and all family members are welcome.
Climbing the Mountain
By Susan Averitt
I find myself all alone on a mountain, I never meant to climb.
I find myself thrust in the middle of a journey, I never knew was mine.
I woke up feeling alone and lonely, when once I was surrounded by friends.
I look ahead for a path to make sense of that might get me to the end.
I had no preparation for this voyage, no atlas or travel gear.
I had no caution signs or red flags to warn me I would end up here.
I had no compass or GPS to point me away from this pain.
I had no weather map or meteorologist to keep me out of this rain.
If I could, I would abandon this excursion and return to my safe old life.
I would give up everything I have to avoid this type of strife.
I would never allow anything to happen to her, to take away her glow.
I would wrap her in the safety of my arms and never let her go.
If it were up to me, she would be here beside me, forever and a day.
If it were up to me, I would take her place, if it meant that she could stay.
But, alas, here I am on the side of a mountain, treacherous and full of danger.
I find myself forced to take steps forward, despite my fears and consuming anger.
Though I have never been trained for this, I have no choice but to carry on.
I can’t believe I have to make it without her. I can’t believe she is gone.
This mountain is steep and as I look before me, I can’t see it’s summit ahead.
Sometimes I don’t know why I am climbing, all I feel is void and dread.
Sometimes I swear that there is no one here who could ever understand.
Sometimes I wish I could just give up climbing and take off to another land.
But every now and then, when I least expect it, I find myself further uphill.
I notice I am starting to see glimpses of sunlight, of trees and daffodils.
And when I stumble, as I often do, there is sometimes a hand I see;
The reach of another climbing griever, one step ahead of me.
No one has made it to the top quite yet, no journey has come to a close.
But as we ascend we are able to see that we are not truly alone.
Losing a child is the worse type of pain, and from it you never recover.
But since you were left behind on this earth, there is still more of life to discover.
My hope for you, my sorrowful friend, is that you will find some peace
And a glimmer of hope for your life and future, as you climb your mountain of grief.