By Ward Degler
No pain seeks healing more than the death of a child. No one knows that better than my friend Kirk Forbes. His daughter Kristen died five years ago after a year-long battle with cervical cancer.
To deal with his own grief, he wrote a book. “Love, Kristen” is a day-by-day journey through Kristen’s last year of life, compiled from her own journals and daily e-mail updates that Kirk and his wife sent out documenting both victories and defeats as Kristen fought her disease.
Then, to deal with the continued threat of cervical cancer for new generations, Kirk started a foundation. The Kristen Forbes EVE Foundation’s mission is to “Educate, Vaccinate and Eradicate” cervical cancer.
And, finally, to deal with the grief that anyone who has lost a child suffers, Kirk is spearheading the Angel of Hope Memorial Garden in Noblesville’s Forest Park.
The bronze sculpture centerpiece of the garden will be a childlike angel with arms outstretched as though offering a healing embrace. There will be benches in that quiet place and memorial bricks set in the ground bearing the names of lost children.
There are 118 Angel of Hope memorials across the United States. Six of them are in Indiana. The idea came from a Hallmark Hall of Fame production of “The Christmas Box.” In the story, a grieving mother finds solace at the foot of the angel statue. Interest in building Angel of Hope memorials was born soon after.
The memorials are funded by private contributions and the purchase of memorial bricks. Fundraising for the Noblesville memorial has just begun. The goal is $125,000.
Anyone wishing to remember a child with a memorial brick can go to the website, www.angelofhope.info. Kirk says he hopes to see the memorial completed by October.