GALLATIN, Tenn. (WTVF) — Every single time she goes to work, Shirl Baker is reminded of both good memories and heartbreak.
Right next to her computer and on the walls are pictures of her 21-year-old daughter DeEbony Groves. This April will mark two years since her daughter's life was taken away in a senseless tragedy. Groves, a Belmont University student, was one of four victims killed in a shooting at a Waffle House in Antioch.
"She was really known for her million-dollar smile. She was smart, caring and loved children," Baker told NewsChannel 5.
She admits she still has her emotional days but gets through with help from family and friends. One way she eases her heartache: a weekly visit to her daughter's grave site in Gallatin rain or shine.
"If I can't even get out and walk over there to visit, I just sit in my car and talk to her from my car," Baker explained. "It's healing for me."
Baker says she has noticed during her grieving process how vital it is to be able to speak about the tragedy to other people. She finds many mothers who lost their child to tragedy feel isolated in a seemingly dark place.
In May, Baker started the DeEbony Groves Foundation to provide a healthy support group to other mothers. That same month she attended an event in Florida for the Trayvon Martin Foundation where she met more than 40 mothers who were going through the same experience. To this day they all communicate and encourage one another through an app.
Seeing a need for fellow grieving moms, the foundation is taking requests or recommendations until January 31. The goal is to invite 20 mothers in the Tennessee area to an all-expense paid weekend to be empowered, inspired, pampered and receive foundation information and knowledge from grief counselors.
The event will take place from April 24 - 26 at the Hampton Inn in Gallatin. So far, she has heard from seven mothers since taking requests on Wednesday.
"We are going to read all the emails and we'll pray over them and we're going to select 20 mothers," Baker said.
She asks mothers to submit their name, address, contact information and a brief paragraph on their loss and why they would be a good candidate to firstname.lastname@example.org. The foundation will choose a selection in its next meeting in February.
Baker is also planning to host a walk at Triple Creek Park in Gallatin around Father's Day to honor Groves' birthday.