Kendall Frazee was only three years old when her mother suffered a miscarriage. She lost a brother she would never meet, but Jackson lives on through his sister’s good work.
A junior in Pensacola High School’s International Baccalaureate program, Kendall is making her mark at age 17. In addition to her intense academic studies, membership in NHS, Spanish NHS, Mu Alpha Theta, Key Club and youth group (to name a few) – while casually learning “Canon in D” on her acoustic guitar – she founded “Goodbye Before Hello,” a service project for pregnancy and infant loss awareness.
“I had to complete an extended service project that would in some way contribute to my community, as part of how we’re taught to see the world,” Kendall says. “We can make an impact.”
And she has. After going through miscarriage as a sibling, Kendall wanted to bring light to a topic many people avoid talking about as a way to support her community.
Going beyond what was required for her school project, her goal is to raise $12,000 to cover the cost of one year of bereavement boxes for Ascension Sacred Heart. The boxes are filled with hand and foot molds and stamps, photographs, baby blankets or clothes – to be opened in a family’s own time as part of the grieving process.
Kendall started raising money through traditional fundraisers before finding help in a local cross maker who felt called to auction three of his handcrafted crosses in support of this special cause. Two of the buyers had suffered their own losses, and considered their contributions healing.
“We don’t have anything except one clear ultrasound picture,” Kendall says. “When my mom lost the baby at almost 17 weeks, we didn’t go home with anything.”
The Frazee’s planted a tree in their front yard, along with an angel statue and a plaque. In all of her preschool paintings, Kendall’s mom says she always showed Jackson as an angel, out of line with the rest of the family, but with them from above.
One-in-four women have suffered a pregnancy or infant loss.
“I want people to see that it’s not something we can avoid. It’s going to happen because God has a plan and these things are not avoidable,” Kendall says. “Keeping quiet about it doesn’t help. The best way to heal and to grieve as a community is to talk about it.”
The family has since welcomed a son, Carter. If Kendall was the sunshine baby and Jackson a teardrop, Carter is their rainbow.
Accompanying Carter to an OT appointment for accommodative insufficiency, a condition that affects his eyesight, Kendall was fascinated by the human eye. She hopes to go into biomedical engineering, specializing in craniofacial prosthesis with an emphasis on eyes.
But as this bright young woman has taught us all, it is with the heart we see most clearly.
To learn more about Kendall’s project and how you can help, please visit Facebook.com/GoodbyeBeforeHello.