“What the heart has once known, it shall never forget.”


You took the sourest lemon that life has to offer and turned it into something resembling lemonade.”

-Dr. K, This is Us

When Rebecca Zent lost her son Bennett shortly after birth 9 years ago, she knew her life and family would never be the same. She had carried twins and prepared to bring home two healthy babies during her pregnancy, (the double stroller, the second crib), but a checkup revealed an anomaly inconsistent with life for one of her sons. 

“There was joy every day,” Zent remembers, “because I had my oldest son and a newborn to care for. But the grief was like a tidal wave. It would come and crash into me to where I couldn’t catch my breath.” 

Zent shares that the grief is still a part of her life, but she can see the waves coming and brace herself for the impact. 

Sometime later, Rebecca heard about the TEARS Foundation, a nonprofit that helps those who’ve experienced pregnancy or child loss with grief support and financial assistance.

Wanting to do something that honored Bennett and helped other families, she reached out to offer cookies for their 5K run’s bake sale. That first step led her to becoming the Executive Director of the entire North Dakota chapter. 

She recently secured a downtown location where she runs monthly support groups, featuring a kid’s corner for siblings and a remembrance tree for parents and grandparents.

“’How do I move on?’ is the question I get asked the most,” shares Zent. “I tell them, You’ve changed. Your life has changed. And now, it’s up to you to learn how to live a whole new life.” 

She knows from experience the taboo around losing a child and people are afraid to talk about it, but Zent is hoping to combat that fear.

On September 9, TEARS is holding their 6th Annual Rock-n-Walk at the DSU Pavilion. Participants can register at the TEARS Facebook page (facebook.com/NDTEARS.) The walk includes rocking chairs for parents to stop and hold their child’s memory. The path is lined with children’s names and there will be a butterfly release at the end of the event. Families can even order custom shirts from the Foundation or create their own designs. 

“I want those who have lost a child to know they are not alone,” says Zent. “And your child is not forgotten.” While this was not the life she’d planned for, Rebecca carries Bennet with her every day as she serves families around the state. 

Kudos is a program of the local nonprofit organization Women Empowering Women. The program recognizes the good work women do. These are women who’ve lived quietly, joyfully, or creatively to influence our lives. They are an inspiration and deserve to be recognized for their efforts and impact. Women Empowering Women is dedicated to the collaboration of women to meet needs and help women become the best versions of themselves. To learn more, see wewnetwork.org.