Families remember the children who are gone, but not forgotten - KTIV News 4 Sioux City IA: News, Weather and Sports

Families remember the children who are gone, but not forgotten


It's a parents worst fear. The death of a child.

But, families who've dealt with that loss want people to know there is hope.

"I never got the chance to say goodbye." "I'll be with you every day, and I'll wait to guide you home," were lines of poems, two mothers who experienced the tragedy of losing their own children, read aloud Sunday afternoon.

"That's a parents worst nightmare that children are going to be forgotten. So, this event helps people, families to come out and be able to recognize that their child lived," Christy-Smith Bereavement Director Brenda Zahnley said.

Rhonda Johnson has grieved for two of her children. Her daughter Rachel Dawn Oetken died when she was just 3 days old. Then a second daughter, Lisa, was killed by a drunk driver when she was 18-years-old.

"It gets better, but it's always there," Johnson said.

The 13th Annual Cherish the Child Remembrance Walk helped bring together families who have gone through this kind of tragedy. Zahnley started this event to honor and remember the children who are no longer here.

"My brother died over 40 years ago in a car accident. And, when my brother died, we didn't have any kind of a healing ritual. We didn't talk about my brother. We didn't hardly speak his name," Zahnley said.

"I think it's very important for parents whether they're in an early stage or a later stage of the game, just for the support of it and the memory of our children that are no longer here with us," Johnson said.

But, the children are living forever in the hearts of their loved ones.

About 400 people came out to remember the lives of those lost.

If you are dealing with the loss of a child, there are several support groups in the area that could help.

The Christy-Smith Family Resource Center offers a support group called Stepping Stones Towards Hope. To contact the center, call (712)-276-7319.

The Compassionate Friends holds monthly meetings to help those dealing with this kind of loss. For more information on this group, visit their website.

Hospice of Siouxland also provides support for those who are grieving. More information can be found on their website.

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