"Our mission is to help hurting people find
hope and peace in their pain."
Smile Again Ministries was started by Judy and Pat Misener, after their 13 year old daughter, Mickey, died from heart disease.
While dealing with their own grief, Judy and Pat realized there were very limited resources available to help parents deal with the loss of a child. Although there are books on the subject, the Miseners found there just wasn't much hands-on help available. Extended family members, neighbors and friends seldom knew what to do to help their family deal with the grief of losing Mickey.
Pat found that while women often seemed to have stronger networks of support, men seldom get support from those around them. Fathers seemed to have very little support readily available after a child dies. “Americans definitely view the father’s pain differently than that of the mother,” Pat says.
Another thing that the Miseners found was that after a year most people simply wanted them to “move on.” The problem, however, is that the second year after a child has died is often more difficult than the first year. Society as a whole seems to be supportive for the first year, but after that it’s definitely “time to get over it.”
In 1999 Smile Again Ministries began informally at the dining room table of Pat and Judy’s home in Sauk Rapids, Minnesota. By simple word of mouth, parent after parent started to call, looking for help. As a result of people’s interest, small group and individual counseling began to take place. (See Testimonials.) In 2007, Smile Again Ministries incorporated as a nonprofit and is recognized by the IRS as a 501(c)3; all donations to Smile Again are tax-deductible.
In 2009 Whitetail Lodge, a retreat center where grieving families can find support in their efforts to deal with the loss of a child, opened to the public. Located on Pickerel Lake in rural Crosslake, Minnesota, Whitetail Lodge provides comfortable accommodations in a beautiful, secluded location.
Judy has also gone to several women’s groups in Minnesota, Iowa, and Wisconsin to share the story of Mickey’s death. She talks about the hard times she and Pat have had in grieving the loss of Mickey. She tells those present how the two of them have been able to hope again, and to find peace within their pain.
Both Judy and Pat are available to speak about their grief experience. They offer a half-day workshop where grieving people can come and learn some of the normal emotions and trauma that follow the loss of a child. If you are interested in learning more about this program of Smile Again Ministries, just contact them. They would love to introduce you to their themes and costs for such workshops.
Our mission is to help hurting people find hope and peace in their pain.