‘Amanda Cordero founded Mending Hearts Ministry in 2020 following the devastating loss of her daughter in 2013. The ministry operates under the belief that “no mother should feel isolated or abandoned during their time of loss.”
Elizabeth Miller, who also tragically lost her child in 2013, vividly described her pain: “Nothing hurts like losing a child, I couldn’t breathe, and I almost passed out. I couldn’t get air in my chest when they called me about my daughter. I couldn’t talk. You feel like you want to turn back time to unhear [sic] it.”
Mending Hearts offers support group sessions for grieving moms.
This spring, sessions centered around cultivating hope and peace commenced with a prayer in the serene ambiance of a dimly lit sanctuary inside Culture Life Wesleyan Church in Blackwood. Each participant received a binder containing worksheets they filled out during the sessions, allowing them to reflect on their faith and the loss of their children.
These courses assist grieving mothers in identifying pathways to healing and reclaiming their joy.
During a recent grief course, Elizabeth Miller, a 60-year-old resident of Sicklerville, recounted the tragic overdose death of her 34-year-old daughter, Sable, which occurred on January 19, 2023.
In addition to in-person sessions, the ministry provides an online support group for grieving mothers via Zoom every first and third Monday from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m.
While some mothers willingly joined the program, Elizabeth Miller revealed that she was coerced into attending by her loved ones, stating, “They were waiting for me to scream and cry, and I’ve never been that person. So, my daughter went online and saw the Mending Hearts Ministry. She reserved my spot for a program. They woke me up, told me I had to get dressed, put my pocketbook near the door. It was just like, ‘You’re going.'”
Likewise, 69-year-old Corsey attended the sessions under similar circumstances after losing her son, Julian, to an overdose on June 9, 2018.
“He had been to rehab and was sober, but he had some other issues that day, and he needed money,” Corsey explained. “So, he went to do what he [knew] how to do from the past. He got drugs to sell, and because he had them in his possession, he had to take some, and it was laced with fentanyl. His body just wasn’t able to handle the amount that he used to take.”
Wanda Bey from Maple Shade shared her experience of losing a son to illness, fighting back tears as she recalled his passing in February 2023. She expressed a powerful message: “Just because someone is overweight doesn’t mean that you can’t do anything. You never know. Don’t let them tell you that they can’t do anything, they can. Maybe out of that, I might be able to help some people. I know it’s not in vain.”
Bey further revealed that this was the first time she had felt the freedom to laugh, talk, scream, and cry about her loss, all within the supportive environment of Mending Hearts Ministry.
The other women who attended the program also experienced a sense of relief, leaving them with renewed hope. Corsey shared her gratitude, stating, “I did get angry, but by coming to Mending Hearts, I worked through a lot of it, and I appreciate it. I became friends with these ladies. I’m glad I was able to get it out and talk to God about it.”
A poignant candle-lighting ceremony in remembrance of the departed marked the culmination of the last session. As a symbolic gesture to commemorate the completion of the program, the grieving mothers were presented with jars containing personalized Bible verses. These jars serve as a source of solace and a reminder of their faith and the cherished memories of their children.
Mending Hearts Ministry offers courses year-round, which can be accessed through their website. Their upcoming summer series, titled “Joy in the Mourning,” will commence on June 19. During this session, participants will be encouraged to turn to God as a source of hope, while the facilitators, who have personally experienced the loss of a child, will share their valuable insights and coping mechanisms.
This story was produced as part of the Center for Cooperative Media at Montclair State University’s South Jersey Information Equity Project fellowship and supported with funding from the Independence Public Media Foundation.