The Ezra Project: Using Photos To Help Grieving ParentsAugust 1, 2012 @ 4:05 pm (Updated: 6:29 pm - 8/1/12 )
By Rachel Belle
Three weeks ago, in Abilene, Texas a little baby named Ezra passed away from SIDS. His mom, Ashley Hewatt, would take Ezra to MOPS, Mothers of Preschoolers, a place where Christian moms come to take parenting classes and socialize.
"She's a dear friend of mine and it was a shock to all of us trying to figure out what to do for them, how to comfort them, how to get them through this," says MOPS coordinator Darlyn Luthy.
She came up with a project that she thinks will bring Ashley and JB Hewatt some comfort.
"We wanted to see if we could get his name written as many different ways, from as many different places, from as many different people as we possibly could. Just take them all and compile them into a book to give to them. Like a tangible hug from the world!"
Using social networking and word of mouth, Ezra photos are flying in from around the world.
"We're trying to get all 50 states and we're over half way there. We've gotten pictures from New Zealand, Australia, Mexico, Chile, Iraq, South Korea, Mozambique and Zimbabwe."
Even The Deadliest Catch's Captain Keith has gotten in on the project.
"The maternal grandmother's very favorite show in the entire world is Deadliest Catch so I thought, 'Well, I might as well try.' So I sent a message to the website for The Wizard and I got a contact back from a lady named Cindy. We have pictures coming in from almost every single boat on the show which is mindblowingly amazing."
The project is being kept a secret from the parents, and Darlyn will be collecting photos all the way through next April, so she can present the Hewatt's with the photo book on what would have been Ezra's first birthday. She think it's really important that his name not be forgotten, because people often stop saying a baby's name after they die.
"I think that it's because they're afraid to upset the parents. That they're going to mention the name and it's gonna stir up some grief and emotions that they don't know how to deal with. But I think when people stop saying their name, to the parents, it's almost as if that child disappears more quickly."
If you'd like to contribute to Ezra's photo book, just take a photo of his name and email it to Darlyn with your name and location.
"We have everything from people just writing it on a piece of paper to people writing it with rocks in different beaches in the sand, using flowers and leaves and little baby toys and anything that they can get their hands on. It's been pretty amazing. It's a hard thing to say no to. I think, honestly, that people want to help. Whether or not you know someone, if you hear a story about a grieving family, there's something that you want to do. This isn't costing anybody any money, I'm not asking for any donations. All this is is five minutes of your time, that's all we want."
You can email your photos of Ezra's name to firstname.lastname@example.org. Please include your name and where you live and encourage your friends and family to take photos of their own.
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