PSI: Search for lost honor - | WBTV Charlotte

PSI: Search for lost honor

CONCORD, NC (WBTV) - We should all pray we never go through what Sandra Barlow went through with her son, Justin.

"He got, I guess, sidetracked," said Barlow.

Justin, was in-and-out of drug treatment. He died of an accidental overdose. He was 18 years old.

"I don't think it really quite hit me because I couldn't believe it and then pulling up and seeing," said Barlow. " I don't know, it breaks you."

Barlow says she shutdown until she was convinced to get counseling. She also found support on-line through a Facebook page titled, "Grieving Mothers." Women from around the world were bonded in their loss, as they searched for a path forward.

"It helped a lot," said Barlow. "I can probably say if it wasn't for the group I would have lost it more than I did."

The Facebook page offered more than support. It also offered a chance to honor those they mourned. The page linked to a website that laid out an idea for a memorial garden. It would be built in Lousiville, Kentucky. Plans were drawn up, a location was donated and fundraising began. Bricks, bearing a child's name, were being sold for $63.

"I placed my order and never heard another thing," said Marlow.

Neither did Heather Robinson.  The Louisville woman lost her daughter to miscarriage.

"This (the garden) would be a way to really connect with her," said Robinson.

More than a year after the garden announcement, the Grieving Mother's website is down and nothing has been built.

"Nothing, just bare grass (at the site)," said Robinson.

Both Robinson and Marlow said they just wanted to know what was going on. Instead they said Grieving Mothers founder Barbara Karrer, who lost her own child more than 20 years ago, kicked them out of the support group.

"She was immediately very harsh with me and said if you want a refund that's what I'll give you," said Robinson. " I said that's not what I'm asking for."

"I just wanted the brick," said Marlow.

Karrer says only 56 bricks had been sold so far.

"I have to sell 250 bricks in order to get them shipped," said Karrer.

Karrer offered bank statements that show the money collected has not been spent.  She says the process overwhelmed her.

"It snowballed on me," said Karrer. "Yeah, it did."

As it turns out though she wasn't just in over her head. She was also ahead of herself. Her Facebook page indicated "Grieving Mothers" was a non-profit.  It has not been registered with the state of Kentucky. Karrer said a lawyer is helping to establish it as a 501(c)3. As for the website being down, she says a new site, with a new address is being created.

"I feel bad that it hasn't happened," said Karrer. "I wanted it to happen a lot sooner."

It hasn't and it's created more hurt feelings for a group of women who has dealt with way too many.

"I know it's something so little, but it's not," said Marlow. "So, hopefully something good will come out it."

Marlow and Robinson both have had their money returned. They insist it is not what they wanted.  They just wanted the brick and some answers as to why the project wasn't moving forward.

As for the garden, the "Grieving Mothers" website is still down, but an order form for the brick is again available on the group's Facebook page.

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