I have always thought that BASIS is a lot like Moses and his brother Aaron and his friend Hur. These three were perched atop a hill while down in the valley Joshua and troops fought the Amalekites. (Exodus 17:8-13). As long as Moses’ arms were lifted up, the Israelites were winning the battle. But, as you can imagine, keeping his arms lifted up all day was tiring! In fact, it became impossible for Moses after a while. So, his friends devised an ingenious plan – they help lift his arms up for him, one on each side. In this position, Joshua and the Israelites, finally won the battle of the day. They won because they had a little help from their friends. BASIS is like that. You are on the battle field, fighting grief to find a new normal that’s actually good. But you need help from your friends. We are some of those friends, lifting up your arms, strengthening and encouraging you to persevere, to last the whole battle, to keep on keeping on, to seek and find that new normal. We are with you, helping you survive, strive and thrive. It’s such a great privilege for us to be there with you.
That’s what we do. Who does it matters less than what is being done. I will be leaving BASIS to retire on a beach somewhere (if only….). But God has given some new team members so that you arms will not fall. Don Allison will be taking the lead in the BASIS ministry. He and his wife Iris lost their daughter Crystal a few years ago to a fast moving cancer.
BASIS was invented in about 1981 to meet the needs of some bereaved moms. They all had children who died. All those children had participated in a Sunday School program which HVMI sponsored in Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. These moms came back to the teacher after the child’s death asking for a new kind of help in their new circumstances. So the Sunday school leader started a new thing. The moms met a few times and named themselves SIS – Sisters in Support. But then the dads asked “what about the men?” so the group became Brothers and Sisters in Support – BASIS. Isn’t that a great history? Borne out of parents’ request, moms and dads taking care of one another, even though their grief was so big. Seeking help from God and other bereaved parents, applying God’s word into this difficult journey through the shadow of death.
The first BASIS director was Shirley Cook, a single lady, not a mom nor a bereaved mom. The second director is me, Judy Blore, a mom with 4 healthy children. And now the third is Don Allison, a bereaved parent himself. BASIS has finally grown up to have a leader who has truly felt what you feel.
I look for great things ahead for BASIS and for all the bereaved parents who will pass this way in the future. I’ll be praying for all of them. I’ll be praying and thanking God for each of you, who have become my teachers in grief. Thank you.