MAKING HEADLINE NEWS MOTHER’S DAY 2018 SPECIAL REPORT
Tomeka Walker can be appropriately described as a number of superlatives.
A woman with a big heart undoubtedly should top the list.
Amongst the reasons is that for someone who had to face the brutally tear-jerking task of burying her child, Walker had devised ways to strategically exercise her faith in ways unimaginable.
For her valiant efforts, she’s witnessing God bless her in ways unimaginable.
A native of Bessemer, Alabama, Walker, 38, is the proud founder and chief executive officer of Khairi And Little Angels’ Memorial & Stand By Us, her Birmingham-area non-profit organization that is named in honor of her late son, Khairi, who died as a premature infant shortly after she gave birth in May 2014.
An institution that Walker established in October 2014, amongst her nonprofit organization’s key objectives is working diligently with funeral homes and cemeteries to make this time less stressful for families, particularly those who had to bury babies.
MORE ON STAND BY US: http://klamemorial.org/
Interestingly, during the process of making arrangements for Khairi’s burial, Walker was fielded a quote of a whopping $5,000 to bury him and, according to a spokesperson for Khairi and Little Angels’ Memorial & Stand By Us in a detailed description at http://klamemorial.org, that was the turning point for her.
“She thought, ‘He is a baby and not even a full-term baby. Why so much?” a spokesperson for Walker’s nonprofit said.
Not only that, it was in large part to such a large quote, coupled with Walker’s seemingly boundless grief amid the sudden death of her son, that she has become inspired to establish an organization that would give mothers options on how to bury her babies.
“I like being able to relieve a financial burden for a mother and her family,” Walker said. “Many don’t understand that when a mother cremates her baby how the financial issues affect her or how the decision of doing something you didn’t want to do affects her. To some women, this cause more depression and make the grieving process worse and longer.”
That, in a nutshell, is amongst the primary reasons Walker’s Khairi and Little Angels’ Memorial has become committed to servicing low income teenage girls to child-bearing women, she acknowledged.
“Stand By Us grief support group caters to the family as a whole,” Walker said. “My personal mission is to help low-income women ease their pain, because women wear so many hats that suffering in silence shouldn’t be a hat a woman wears.”
By and large, Walker strongly believes there are other organizations that likewise can rise to occasion and assist grieving families in need.
“There are just too many businesses and corporations that can tribute and help provide assistance for women when they lose a child,” Walker said. “It is not easy, especially when you have to put a smile on your face to return to the workplace or just to be around family and friends. Having healthy employees should be a concern for any and all employers.”
To her credit, Walker certainly possesses the skills and knowledge to function in her element for such a time as now.
A graduate of Jess Lanier High School, Walker advanced her education when she enrolled at nearby Lawson State Community College, where she earned an Associate’s Degree (A.AS) in Computer Information Systems.
In addition, she enrolled at Miles College, where she earned a Bachelor of Science Degree in Computer And Information Sciences before obtaining a B.S. in Criminal Justice from the University of Alabama at Birmingham.
Also, Walker holds a Master’s in Criminal Justice from the University of Cincinnati and is currently pursuing a M.S. Degree in Biblical Counseling.
As for who were amongst those who inspired her to establish her nonprofit, it her beloved Khairi tops the list.
“My baby boy, Khairi, and myself,” Walker said. “I saw what I went through and I have good insurance and a steady income, but to think about the ones who are less fortunate than me and not be able to lay their infants to rest properly really hurt me. Therefore, I had to do something.”
Fortunately for Walker and countless families, her organization isn’t just one that’s needed. Most importantly, it is one that’s making a huge difference.
“We all hurt from so many other things in our lives. I just thought why allow a financial burden hunt a woman for the rest of her life and it does,” said Walker, whose collaboration book entitled, “We Heard Your Cry,” is currently in the works and will be released this fall. “I have talked with several women that have cremated their babies, because they didn’t have the funds to bury their baby and it devastates and break them down mentally over a period of time, because it is replayed over and over in their minds. The unexpected passing of the baby is enough.
“I think it is imperative that I inspire others daily, because innocent infants are dying and families are left torn,” Walker continued. “Mothers are devastated and grieve for a lifetime. Medical professionals move on with their lives and some become numb to it, because it is a part of their daily routine in their profession. Therefore, it doesn’t bother them, because it becomes a norm to them. Well, the numbness the mother feel becomes a norm also, because this is the way she has to live her life now but this is a lonely norm. The two norms are so different that it brings me to tears to think that someone could get used to someone dying. There are just things I want people to think about…like what if it was you trying to bury your infant child but, because of your financial situation, you are not able to provide your infant with a proper burial. Meanwhile, you have to make a decision you don’t want to…a decision you know that you can never go back and undo or change…a decision to cremate your innocent child is devastating, traumatizing and in some cases for some women it destroys their lives forever.”
Without question, Tomeka Walker can be appropriately described as a number of superlatives.
A woman with a big heart undoubtedly should top the list.
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Andre Johnson is Founder and Publisher for Making Headline News. A 2000 graduate of the University of Memphis School of Journalism and a former staff reporter the Memphis Commercial Appeal newspaper, Johnson covers the NBA Southwest Division from Dallas, Texas. To reach Johnson, send email to firstname.lastname@example.org or to email@example.com. Also, follow him on Twitter @AJ_Journalist.
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