GRIFTON, N.C. (WITN) - Sunday was Mother's Day, a day to celebrate every mom for all that they do, but here at WITN, we're recognizing amazing moms all year long.
On the third Monday of each month we announce our new Mom of the Month.
Our May Mom of the Month is a woman that defines strength and resilience, turning a tragedy into a way to help and comfort others and she says being able to help others has become a blessing in disguise.
Her Grifton home is filled with love and laughter.
Erica and David Curington have been married for three years now, but when they met, it wasn't just Erica he had to impress.
"I knock on the door and Erica lets me in and here is this little 15-month-old beautiful baby girl," David recalls.
That little girl, Harper Grey, immediately stole his heart too. And soon, the family of three was about to grow.
"That's all she wanted to be was a big sister," Erica says. When she became pregnant, she says Harper had a calendar counting down the days until her baby brother was due.
Now a year and a half, Dawson is a beacon of light for Erica and David, brightening every day, and guiding them through very dark waters.
On a Wednesday in November 2015, Harper's doctor said she had a virus. By Saturday, their world changed forever.
"She was at home, she hadn't been feeling well and then all of a sudden, all I remember is my husband yelling at me that she wasn't breathing," Erica says.
"We were sitting on the coach and talking and then she just kind of left," David tells WITN.
Erica says they could tell something was seriously wrong with Harper. They were getting ready to rush her to the hospital when she stopped breathing.
David carried Harper out to the driveway to meet the ambulance.
"I just remember begging and asking why," Erica explains. "You told me it was just a virus, like this isn't supposed to happen, she's perfect, she's healthy. That Monday she was gone."
"My heart just ripped right out," David says.
To this day, Harper's room has remained mostly untouched, even her dance bag is still packed.
"All packed up and nowhere to go," the grieving mother says.
In nearly every picture, Harper can be seen wearing her trademark hair bows. Those bows now enshrine the monogrammed "H" above her bed.
Around Erica's neck is Harper's birthstone, picture and tiny thumb print.
"For whenever you feel like you really need to touch a piece of them, this really helps sometimes," she says.
David says he's tried to remain strong for Erica, but it's clear how much this Pitt County deputy is also still grieving. "I've tried to be here for her, somebody for her to talk to, a shoulder for her to cry on."
Erica says the doctors still don't have an exact diagnosis, but say it was a complication from a birth defect that almost never happens.
She says that lack of diagnosis has left her feeling isolated from other grieving parents, so she created a nonprofit called #LoveforHG.
"I just want people to know that regardless of the loss, from holding them in your belly to being able to hold them in your arms, that they still matter," she says. "That the moms, the families, they still matter."
While the family works to find a new normal while raising this beautiful baby boy, they know Harper is watching and proud of this mother turning an unimaginable loss into a way to help others.
"All the money we raise goes to the children's hospital," Erica explains. "Throughout the year, whether it's just random designation days, we've done balloon releases."
Last year was the first gala for #LoveforHG and they raised $3,000 for the James and Connie Maynard Children's Hospital. The event featured dinner, raffles, silent auctions, with the purposed of raising awareness for child loss and bereavement.
This year's gala is on August 11th and you can contact Erica if you're interested in helping or buying tickets at firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also donate using the link on the right side of this page.
David couldn't be more proud of her. "She's an amazing woman and amazing mother. I could not have asked for any woman better or stronger or more beautiful to spend the rest of my life with."
The James and Connie Maynard Children's Hospital is also near to the hearts at WITN. Don't forget to also mark your calendars for our CMN telethon on June 2 and 4.
Every featured Mom of the Month will receive a $100 gift card, as well as free oil changes for a year from Johnny's Tire Sales and Service in Greenville.