A Mother’s Love Moving forward after Immeasurable Loss

Tuesday, February 21, 2023

Aviance Hill felt she needed to do something.

On July 2, 2022, her son was doing what she raised him to do, be loyal and protect his siblings. That took him to the place where he would be fatally injured and later lose his life. Many parents who lose children to gun violence don’t know what to do to move forward. The smallest tasks like getting out of bed and taking a shower become too hard. Aviance Hill knew she could not be one of those individuals, she knew that she needed to keep moving forward. Hill, the single mother of six, knew that there was more to do. She needed to continue to care for her other children and she didn’t want others to feel the same feelings of being alone to navigate this horrible circumstance with no guidance.

Hill decided that she needed to become more socially involved and help make a change. She was chosen as a member of the fall 2022 Ambassador Academy class offered through the City of Toledo. Being a City of Toledo Ambassador is meant to foster ownership in the community and increase dialogue and meaningful participation by residents. After the academy ended Hill said “What’s next.” And asked for more interaction and how she could continue to help. Hill then joined the Utilities Appeal Board and signed up to be a Snow Angel. She said “If I can help someone with the smallest thing like shoveling their snow or lowering their utility debt, it made my time worthwhile.” She also asked for more interaction with her District Council Representative and will be meeting in March to build a stronger bridge between Council Members and residents.

After losing her son Hill also realized more needed to be done for people dealing with grief. During a conversation with her therapist she decided to create a grief support group. Although the name has not been solidified the working title is IMmeasurable Love in recognition of her son Isaac Michael. Hill realizes that grief happens for any number of reasons, not just death. She said “grief can come from the loss of a job, a relationship, or a loved one.” But Hill says “You can’t let grief overcome you.” The regular meeting of this grief support group will be Tuesdays on Southwyck Boulevard in a location donated by her therapist. In addition, Hill is bringing a chapter of the National Organization of Parents of Murdered Children, Inc.: a national program that focuses on aftercare for those affected by the murder of a loved one to the Toledo area. The first meeting of the Parents of Murdered Children group met on Saturday, February 11, 2023 at the Collingwood Arts Center. A subgroup of the POMC group being organized now is Seedlings, a support group for younger people dealing with grief and loss. A licensed therapist will be available for these young people and open to not only children or siblings but those closely affected by violence.

Parents of Murdered Children was founded in Cincinnati Ohio after Charlotte and Bill Hullinger lost their daughter Lisa to violence. Programs sponsored by POMC include the Parole Block Program, Murder Is Not Entertainment, the Big Turn-Off, and Second Opinion Services. Which are programs to keep offenders in prison, advocacy against the insensitive use of losing someone to murder as a means for entertainment, a yearly event to bring awareness to the prevalence of violence as entertainment on tv, and a means for cases to be looked at more closely that have been unsolved or are especially complicated.

On a more personal level survivors can be in contact with one another for support, advocacy through court accompaniment, have a network of contact persons nationwide, receive anniversary cards of support, and keep up to date with a newsletter dedicated to the interests and concerns of survivors. Ms. Hill also plans to help people navigate things like how to clean their homes after violence has happened or how to find trauma informed care for those with Autism. Hill is incredibly proud of her family and wants to keep them moving forward. She said that “I know Isaac would have changed the world if his life hadn’t been cut short, but maybe I will change the world through his sacrifice.” She says “we will not let the legacy of Isaac’s murder destroy us.” The pride for her family is obvious and she continues to be strong through the struggle of losing a child. Hill says “I want to use my pain for power and purpose.”

For more information about the support groups listed above please visit: https://www.facebook.com/NWOPO