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Mom Helps Parents Who Have Lost Children 'Come Alive' Again with Essay Project

The Short of It

A Florida mom channels her grief after her baby's death into launching a project to support other people dealing with loss.

The Lowdown

It's hard to imagine the pain Lexi Behrndt endured after her lovable 6-month-old son Charlie died due to complications from a congenital heart defect. In fact, she told that at first, she felt numb to the pain, and from what she describes, it seems she survived in a fog as she cared for her other son, Lincoln.

But eventually, Behrndt realized she had to face the pain of losing Charlie, and that is where the next phase of her life began.

"I thought when he died that was the end of his story, and that was the hardest part for me—asking how his life impact could be confined to 200 days. There was something so special about him ... and I didn't understand why he had so much to bring to the world and his life was so short," she says. "I had no idea then that the end of his life was only the beginning of how Charlie would change the world."

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On her blog Scribbles and Crumbs, the single mom would soon launch her "On Coming Alive" project.

"Coming alive has meant not numbing myself to the pain and not hiding from it, but instead facing it. The pain will be there for the rest of my life because I have a child who will never be in my arms for the rest of my life. But there can also be good, and I don't need to be afraid of the good. I don't need to feel like there's shame in liking life," the inspiring mama explains. "If I numb myself to the pain, I somehow numb myself to the joy. And so, if I can open my heart to facing it all and taking the leap, then there's a lot of beauty left in life."

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Behrndt's message began to resonate with other parents who lost children. Now, the blog is peppered with 70 essays written by individuals who have lost a child or a loved one. But the "On Coming Alive" project doesn't end there; essays on domestic violence, rape, depression and chronic illness are now being collected, too.

The Upshot

I know from being a writer how therapeutic it is to write about your feelings. In fact, Behrndt told about those who submit essays: "They have been saying that as hard as it can be to share, it's healing for them to know that their words could be used to help others who are facing similar losses and circumstances."

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If you want to learn more about the "On Coming Alive" project, visit Behrndt's blog, and use the hashtag #OnComingAlive to spread the word.

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