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Gardens of Grace

Dartmouth, Nova Scotia

Cause Description:
Gardens of Grace was started by founding director Paula Harmon in August, 2017, less than eight months after the death of her three year old daughter, Grace. A food borne infection early in Paula's pregnancy had resulted in Grace's fraternal twin dying at 17 weeks gestation and Grace being delivered in distress at 26 weeks. After Grace's unexpected death in December of 2016, resulting from prematurity issues, Paula traveled to the United Kingdom to help with the grief. While in the UK, Paula discovered a number of memorial gardens aimed at both early loss and organ donation. As well, one of Grace's favorite Nova Scotia authors suggested doing something in memoriam to children who have died in the gardens of her newly established bookstore. This got the ball rolling, and the idea to create a memorial garden started to "grow". Through researching garden ideas, Paula discovered the importance of bereavement care for parents of early loss. She also found that in Nova Scotia, memory making and bereavement care practices were very inconsistent from hospital to hospital and community to community. The subject was barely even on the radar within government. Using social media to her advantage, Paula created a Facebook group and met other equally motivated parents of loss to help move forward. Gardens of Grace's first achievement, only two months after becoming a registered non-profit, with the willingness of Nova Scotia MLA Tim Houston to reintroduce a private members bill, was to get passed into legislation Bill 38, The Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Act. Gardens of Grace seeks to create awareness, as well as advocate for families suffering from miscarriage, stillbirth, pregnancy loss and infant loss. Our mission is to work with community, health care and government to bring about positive change. As we grow, we aim to develop avenues of comfort, support and information, a sense of community, a public profile for those grieving the loss of a child, and a sense of security and solidarity for bereaved families. More than just a tribute to Grace, the name is an acronym for the tenants we stand for: Gardens to ease the grief. Remember the lost child. Act with community, healthcare & gov't. Care for the bereaved family. Educate.

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