Stories from the Heart: From Meadowlark Mom to Volunteer

Underneath any organization that does good in this world, you’ll find plenty of people who quietly and selflessly work to make it all happen. One such person for the Tim Griffith Foundation is Pam Smith.

A lifelong resident of the Bay Area, Pam is a constant at the Foundation’s Meadowlark Retreats. Pam first got involved with the Tim Griffith Foundation after her youngest son, Trevor — a “bright light” who loved the San Francisco Giants and made everyone feel “like he was their best friend” — passed away in 2012 at the age of 13.

After hearing about the Foundation through a friend, Pam attended a Meadowlark Retreat in the spring of 2013.

Pam's son Trevor was known for his friendliness and love of the SF Giants.

While initially reluctant to go to the retreat, Pam found that first weekend profoundly comforting. She describes attending the retreat as perhaps “the best thing” she did for herself throughout the grief process.

In the warm, welcoming atmosphere that she describes as “moms taking care of other moms,” she was “well taken care of ” and “felt really held all weekend.” One aspect of losing a child, she says, is feeling “very alone.”

However, at the retreat, she found a sense of belonging in a community of mothers who had all suffered the loss of a child. As a result, she “didn’t feel as alone anymore.”

During the weekend, she offered to come back and help at future retreats. It wasn’t long after that the Foundation accepted her offer, and she started coming back and helping with set up, clean up, and food prep.

Editors Note: The Foundation Board of Directors honored Pam in 2017 with the Nancy Harris Volunteer of the Year Award for her dedication to making the Meadowlark Retreats a healing experience for others.

Now, Pam is a mainstay of Meadowlark Retreats — cooking, cleaning, and doing much of the behind-the-scenes work that created the atmosphere she found so welcoming when she attended her first retreat seven years ago.

She describes returning to help as a “reaffirmation” that she’s not alone in her grief, and she continues to volunteer her time out of gratitude for the community and support that she’s found through the Foundation.

While Pam will claim she leaves the retreats “having gotten more than she’s given,” her work is invaluable to the continued success of the Tim Griffith Foundation’s Meadowlark Retreats, and the Foundation is immensely grateful for her continued dedication.

Written by Brian Mailhot.

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