Shreveport church opens healing garden for processing grief

The nonprofit, Moms on a Mission, held a day of healing in the new space.
Published: Nov. 12, 2022 at 8:28 PM CST
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SHREVEPORT, La. (KSLA) - A Shreveport nonprofit, Moms on a Mission, hosted a day of healing at Williams Memorial CME Temple’s new healing garden.

The group aims to help mothers who have lost loved ones to gun violence and bring awareness to the issue. In the garden, there are flowers honor those lost and a bell tower that stands as a symbol of prayer.

“A lot of times people get caught in that anger stage of grief and it turns inward and they do harmful things to themselves, and eventually do harmful things to other people,” said Debra Coleman, church member.

Pastor Charles Lesure says he wants to help others better understand healing.

“Healing takes place through forgiveness. When you forgive, forgiveness is not for the next person. Whether you were attacked or whether you did the attacking, you have to forgive yourself and forgive others at the same time,” he said.

Coleman says she hopes the healing garden can shine new light on those grieving.

“If you can channel that and teach them how to refocus that, it makes them a better person and the people around them,” she said.

As the day moved on, people were encouraged to share their testimonies.

“When you share your testimony with others you are building up a relationship and easing your pain. You’re helping people realize who is responsible for your healing,” said Ozzie Stewart, church member.

Moms on a Mission took time to share empathy .. with those grieving a child lost to gun violence.

“An organization like that, I would love to be a part of, because it could’ve been any one of us. I’ve had two sons shot, praise God that both are still here,” said Erica Dotson, event coordinator.

Many say the trauma from losing your child can leave you stuck in life.

“Sometimes we become functionally depressed and we move through life like zombies. With places like this, you’re able to put the pieces back together,” said Queena Grant, marketing director with Moms on a Mission.

Laseeta Alexander lost her son, Demetrius, just over two years ago. She says she may never get over losing her child.

“Not a day goes by, not a minute goes by, not a second goes by. He’s just always gonna be the first thing I’m thinking about when I wake up in the morning and when I go to sleep at night,” Alexander said.

She says she’s grateful to share her story and relate with others visiting the garden.

“I’m looking forward to the healing garden, hoping it can bring me healing. It will never bring closure, but it will be a step of feeling better and not having the thought of missing a loved one weigh down on you,” she said.

The new healing garden will be open for anyone and everyone to use.