They offer support services such as assistance with funeral planning, a house cleaning service, massage, and counseling services.
Losing a loved one can be devastating but an initiative started by mothers who lost their children is helping grieving mothers navigate through the 'nightmare.' The Finley project aims at providing holistic resources to mothers in the aftermath of having suffered a personal loss. The Finley Project is named after Finley, a baby who passed away due to a medical accident during birth, reported PEOPLE. Finley's mother, Noelle Moore, had lost her father when she was five months pregnant with Finley in 2013. She then lost Finley two weeks after birth, and two weeks after that, her husband filed for divorce and never returned to their home. Noelle Moore didn't have the mental strength or energy to deal with the grief that followed.
She wasn't able to pick herself up and needed support but realized there were very few resources to help people like her. That's when she decided to start an organization dedicated to helping mothers who suffered a personal loss. "When she died, I tried looking for help, and I could not find anything in our major metropolitan area that could help me," said Moore. "And I just was like, that's not okay. The loss of a child is unlike any other loss ... the grief looks way different. There was a desperate need for people to get help."
The Finley Project offers support to grieving moms and their families in a myriad of ways including assistance with funeral planning, gift cards to help get groceries, a house cleaning service, massage, and counseling services. The idea is to relieve grieving moms of big decisions and mundane tasks so they process their grief without worrying about other things. "As a parent, thinking of your child not being on this earth is literally your worst nightmare ... people feel like they're going to catch it if they're too close to you. People don't know what to do. They don't know how to handle you," said Moore.
One of the initial beneficiaries of the service was Chelsea Johnson, a Florida woman who had lost her mom and had been involved in a serious accident. The mother-of-three had been pregnant with twins and delivered them on Christmas morning 2014. Her daughter was born with Down Syndrome and had to spend time in NICU, but her son who didn't appear to have any health issues passed away during his sleep in April 2015. "There's no way you can really prepare for losing a child, but ... this was just one of those hits that you don't see coming," said Johnson. She was struggling but The Finley Project stepped in to help her.
"It was during this time my husband was laid off from work, and we're in the middle of having a child who just died," said Johnson. "So you're talking about expenses with funeral, food, all of the things that were like, 'Okay, we were barely trying to get by. And then now we're hit with that huge blow.' The Finley Project was able to provide gift cards to Publix, exactly when we needed it, at a time when you can't think straight. You're trying to just get through the day, just get up and wake up," she added.
Moore works to provide them with services to navigate the initial phase of grief, before developing a bond with the family and helping them get counseling. "What I learned early on was, Counseling is foreign to a lot of people. It's embarrassing, or it's just not something people are comfortable with," she said. "I took a step back, and I said, 'Well, what are people needing right after the loss?' And then how do we earn their trust to say, 'Hey, listen, this will actually help you. Please go.'"
She also said talking about grief and sharing their feelings were not so common in the African American community, which meant many didn't seek the help they needed. "You don't talk about your feelings, you just have to suck it up. Those are the ones who are drowning in plain sight, and you don't really know that is the case. So I think it's very important to be able to have something like this, particularly for minorities and women of color," said Johnson.
You can find more information on Finley Project's resources, or support their organization at FinleyProject.org.