By Shannon Whidden
Brothers Owen (16) and Morgan (14) and their mother, Shannon attended The Garden fall of 2017 following the untimely death of their beloved dad, Jon. Jon died of stage IV pancreatic cancer at the age of 43. He died the day before Owen’s 13th birthday, in February 2016. Following, the brothers participated in The Garden’s school outreach program at their respective schools in Hatfield. At the time, Morgan was in the 5th grade at Hatfield Elementary School and Owen was in the 7th grade at Smith Academy. Following the conclusion of the school-based groups, Morgan and his Mom, Shannon, attended the Sunday afternoon program together onsite in Northampton.
The Whiddens want others to know that at The Garden there is a “wonderful group of people with ‘like’ feelings and circumstances. You are not alone in your grief when attending The Garden. It’s a safe, warm, caring, healthy, trusting and loving place.” Shannon shares, “I truly enjoyed the candle ceremony and singing at the end of each session. My cherished moments are the group and sharing about our loved ones.” The boys remember that “they are not alone, there are other kids feeling these same awful feelings and that there’s no pressure to share, and there were lots of activities.”