Yesterday was it. Yesterday was the day we launched the Cincinnati chapter of Helping Parents Heal. This spring, before Shayna’s first anniversary, we agreed to start a chapter in Cincinnati. Tywana and I knew we had to give back in some way and this seemed like a good idea. We worked with the national leaders to come up with a plan. We had planned a vacation to Phoenix, the home of a couple of the board members and one of the co-founders, so we met with them there. We met with our pastor and got permission to use the church for our meetings. And, even better, the church agreed to sponsor the group which means it goes into the church announcements. We decided to not hold the first meeting for a few months to give us some time to spread the word. We created brochures which we left at the grief counseling place i had attended, the funeral home where Shayna’s services were handled and with others that we knew. We had an announcement published in the local holistic newspaper. Saturday I went out and bought name tags and we went over how the first meeting would go.
I tried not to get my expectations up. I’ve tried launching things before- groups- a business. I know it takes way more effort than anyone would expect. One of the board members had volunteered to make the four hour drive to attend our first meeting. I told him to hold off. We need to get a following before we commit that kind of resource or effort. Let’s wait a couple of months. My expectations were that two or four people might show up. Six would be a huge success.
Tywana and I headed over to the church a bit early to get the room ready. We made a sign and put it on the door so people could find us. There is another meeting taking place at the church at seven. We got the room set up by 6:50 and sat to wait to see who would show up.
Well, as you might have guessed by now we got a grand total of no one. We decided to give it 45 minutes, but at 7:45 it was clear no one would show. We packed up our things and headed back home wondering what we did wrong and figuring out how to adjust going forward. We decided to double back around with the people we had already spoken with and to make sure they have more brochures (Tywana found a typo in the original one). We will continue to promote the Facebook and are looking into other ways to announce the meeting. Since we meet the first Sunday of the month, the next meeting is scheduled for the day before Labor Day. IANDS also meets on the first Sunday of the month and they are moving their meeting because of the holiday. Our plan was to ask the attendee(s) if we should reschedule the meeting, but since there were no attendees, we made an executive decision. We will leave it as planned.
Everything just seems so hard right now. Dealing with grief is exhausting. Just normal amounts of effort are sometimes hard to come up with and when those efforts aren’t met with results, it makes it even more difficult. But, we have to keep on pressing on. There are four and a half weeks until the next try.