Webster's Dictionary describes "Innocence" as "without worldly experience." That is what Garden of Innocence is all about.
You prepare your garden by designing the layout and figuring out what flowers and plants will go where and adding a fountain for the gentle noise. You focus on the vision of a beautiful spot to enjoy for a season.
Our focus is on the vision of a beautiful spot to last for eternity. Instead of beautiful flowers to plant and enjoy watching them grow, we have beautiful wishes for a life cut short.
Garden of Innocence is the resting place for children that have been abandoned by their parents after death. They may have been thrown in the trash or sewer, murdered or left at a hospital or mortuary, but they are no longer alone. They are with us now, and the strangers that come to their service will love them and continue to plant their seeds by telling others about the garden and these special small children resting there.
Sure we get angry, but it's not for us to question why. It's for us to do what is right and place them gently down in open graves, and show them that they were loved, even if just for a moment. We grieve for them!
We care for them and make sure that they are given a loving goodbye and place their name on the lawn so others will know they were once here. Many ask us how we can do this, because burying a baby is the hardest thing to do in the whole wide world! Our answer back is: "How can we not?" It's the right thing to do.
We give each child things they never had: A handmade urn or casket for a cradle, a blanket lovingly made to wrap them warmly in, a small toy of their very own and a poem written especially for them. Most importantly, we give them a name instead of a morgue number or the name "Doe". A name is a dignity every human being deserves. A memorial service with full color guard is prepared to escort them to their final resting place in a Garden specially made for abandoned children.
Why does this happen over and over again? We don't know, but what we do know is that for one hour on a Saturday morning we came together with strangers to bond with a child that had no one yesterday. We know that we will walk away with a lighter step, knowing we did something good today for someone else and we are going to go home and tell others to join us because these children need us.
Sure, we don't have an orderly bed of multiple kinds of flowers and fresh moss to hold the ground or the need to water to help it grow. We don't get to put flowers in a vase or smell their fragrant odor but our garden is as beautiful and wonderful as yours, as it brings beauty into the world in a much different way. In this garden we only grow love!
We are put on this earth for only two reasons: to love one another and help one another. No child should leave this earth without someone who cared.
If no one grieves, no one will remember!
By Elissa Davey, Founder of Garden of Innocence
Elissa Davey was recognized as a L'Oreal Paris Women of Worth in 2015 for making an extraordinary difference in her community. Her goal is a Garden of Innocence in every state.
She lives in Vista, California and is the mother of two sons and has five grandchildren and another on the way and two great grandchildren. Her favorite past time is genealogy and tracing her roots and helping others find theirs. She also helps coroners find next of kin for indigent adults.
This post is part of a series produced by The Huffington Post and L'Oréal Paris to celebrate the tenth anniversary of the Women of Worth program, honoring women making a beautiful difference in the world. The ten 2015 Women of Worth honorees are pursuing their passions to accomplish the extraordinary through philanthropic efforts in their communities. Each received $10,000 for her charitable cause from L'Oréal Paris. To learn more about Women of Worth or to submit a nomination beginning Spring 2016, please visit womenofworth.com.