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Our Mission is to support parents on their life-long journey of grief after the death of their child.


A seminar for parents who have lost a child of any age will be held at  Central  United Methodist Church , 2535 W New Hope Road in Rogers on April 8, 2017, from 8:00 A.M. to 12:30 P.M.  We welcome parents, grandparents, and other concerned adults who are grieving the loss of a child, no matter what age and no matter how long ago the loss occurred.

The seminar is sponsored by Parents Left Behind, an organization which was founded by Dr. Susan Averitt, a local pediatrician and bereaved mother.  Its purpose is to offer support to grieving parents and was born out of Dr. Averitt’s desire to make something positive come out of her family’s unspeakable loss.
The theme for this year is “Love . . . Remember . . .Hope”.   The Keynote speaker will be Jonathan Fann, chaplain, bereaved father, and author of the book Grieve Like a Man. Jonathan will also lead a small breakout session entitled Grieving Couples.  His wife Heather will lead a session on Infant and Fetal Loss.

Other small group sessions will include:

Share Your Story — We all have a story to tell.  For those of us who are Parents Left Behind, our story is about our beloved child: who that child was, how much that child was loved and treasured and how that child was lost.  This session will give you a chance to share your story and to hear the stories of others.  Our hope is that there will be healing in the telling and the

Grieving Couples — Jonathan will use his book Grieve Like A Man to guide couples through the messy, hard path of grief. Grieve like a Man offers men a practical guide to navigating the path of grief in a culture where men are taught to be tough. Jonathan also provides insight for wives, mothers, sisters, and friends into how men grieve differently than women and how they can come alongside the men in their lives who are hurting from a loss.

Infant and Fetal loss — This session will provide insight to families and friends who have experienced the unique loss of a baby. She’ll discuss why this loss is different from those later in life and explain some of the struggles that parents encounter by well-meaning friends and family members. She’ll also encourage those attending to give space for parents to grieve as openly or privately as they prefer.

The Grieving Christian — The Christian faith offers grieving parents comfort and hope.  This session will seek to help you access the strength that faith can afford.

Navigating Grief/Self Help tools — For many grief is an uncharted territory.  This session will attempt to provide some tools to help bereaved parents find their way

Suicide — All bereaved parents suffer from guilt, anger and the questions of what might have been done to prevent the tragedy, but perhaps none so much as the parents of suicide victims.  This session will attempt to deal with some of these special challenges.

Parenting Grieving Children — Grieving parents who also have surviving children face a special challenge.  They must help their children to grieve even while trying to survive their own grief.  This session will address some of these challenges and opportunities.


For more information or to register go to:

The seminar is offered at no charge. Registration is from 8–8:30 AM and the first session will open with a welcome from Susan Averitt MD, a local pediatrician and bereaved mother. Participants will have the opportunity to attend two of seven interactive breakout sessions addressing the needs of bereaved parents. Each session will be directed by a specialist in counseling and/or bereavement.

HISTORY:  In January of 2006 Dr. Susan Averitt’s life was changed forever when her five-year old daughter Cameron was killed in a school zone accident. In the years after Cameron’s death, as she grieved her loss and worked to rebuild her life, Dr. Averitt was struck by the lack of support for parents on this difficult journey. Slowly she realized that sharing her experience with other bereaved parents was an important and constructive way of dealing with her grief. She wanted to share what she had learned on her journey to help others and to honor Cameron’s memory.

In 2013, when CJ Malone – Executive Director of the MERCHAB Institute, previously the Northwest Arkansas Clinical Pastoral Education Institute (NWACPE), learned about Dr. Averitt’s desire to share her story, he wanted to help. CJ believed that providing a forum for bereaved parents to help others in need was at the core of the mission of the MERCHAB Institute. Over the past year, he and Dr. Averitt brought together a group of professionals from Northwest Medical Center, Willow Creek Women’s Hospital and The Grief Center at Circle of Life Hospice to make this seminar a reality. Parents Left Behind-Rebuilding your life after the death of your child, is the result of their efforts. Members of the group, some of whom are bereaved parents – hope this seminar will help grieving parents and families rebuild their lives as they honor their lost children.

Dr Averitt

Dr. Averitt is a physician for Northwest Medical Center who practices at Best Start Pediatric Clinic on the Willow Creek Campus. She is the mother of four beautiful daughters. Her husband, Derrick, is a stay at home dad, who volunteers his time at school and as a coach.


CJ Malone is the Director of Pastoral Care for Northwest Health System and Executive Director of the Merchab Institute. He is certified as a Clinical Pastoral Education Supervisor with the College of Pastoral Care and Supervision and the Center for Spiritual Care and Pastoral Formation. He supervises several Clinical Pastoral Education programs.

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"No one told me that losing a child would bring such lasting grief and sorrow. I didn't know that I would feel so alone or so changed." Parents Left Behind helps bring bereaved parents together with others who share this same journey — working together to survive the storm and move forward with their lives.

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