Angel Whispers Care Package & Newsletter

This non-profit organization sends care packages to bereaved families which includes their current newsletter and mementos for your child.  I received a cute little angel bear for example, and it sits on our mantle next to Keaton’s photo.

In the latest Spring 2011 Angel Whispers newsletter is the following quote, which I love:

If ever there is a tomorrow when we’re not together, there is something you must always remember.  You are braver than you believe, stronger than you seem and smarter than you think; but the most important thing is, even if we’re apart…I will always be with you.

~Winnie the Pooh~

Visit:  www.angelwhispers.ca to view their newsletters and order a free care package.  There is also a memory page called “Angel On a Star“.  The support programs are located in various areas of Alberta.

Baby & Infant Memorial Service Details

*Baby & Infant Memorial Service & Teddy Bear Tea*

NEW date:  June 11

Where:  St. Matthew’s Parish, 16079 88 Ave., Surrey, BC

Memorial Mass Service:  5:30pm – 6:20pm celebrated by Pastor Augustine Obiwumma, with the Chorus Angelorum Choir

 “Teddy Bear” Tea:  6:30pm – 7:30pm (in the Fireside Room) hosted by St. Mattew’s Parish & local Elizabeth Ministry Chapters

*RSVP:  Ann & Donna – info@littlelightofheaven.com

Prayers will be included for parents and family members who wish to honour the lives of all young children gone-too-soon, including;

- Toddlers and infants

- Babies lost during or after birth

- Babies who have died during pregnancy such as those who were miscarried and stillborn

Couples who are struggling with infertility and those trying to conceive; parents who are expecting and those on a waiting list to adopt; as well as parents who lovingly chose to give up and/or welcome children through adoption and fostering will also be remembered on this day.

 TEDDY BEAR TEA

Coffee & tea will be available at the social gathering immediately after the service in the Fireside Room.  Please consider bringing a new small teddy bear in honour of a baby or child which will be donated to bereaved families through Elizabeth Ministry. 

Families can enter the name of their child in the “Little Book of Life” and light a candle for their little one. 

This Mass and social is open to everyone from all faiths and backgrounds, especially bereaved parents and other family members including children, as well as those who support grieving families. 

*Please RSVP so that enough programs, candles & refreshments are available.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

NOTE:  The Teddy Bear Tea is the official launch event for Elizabeth Ministry in BC.  Future programs and events will be scheduled.  Contact Donna or Ann to receive updates. 

Elizabeth Ministry is a faith-based, peer mentorship volunteer organization that celebrates the sanctity of life and honours the lives of all children.  If you are interested in donating a teddy bear, volunteering or starting a chapter at your Parish, please contact us:

Ann, Elizabeth Minister St. Matthew’s Chapter – annamsing (at) yahoo.com

Donna, Elizabeth Minister St. Nicholas Chapter – info (at) littlelightofheaven.com

~~~ 

*SHORT DESCRIPTION* 

The following is a short summary of the service for email invites and church bulletins etc.

Baby & Infant Memorial Service & Teddy Bear Tea

Sat. June 11th 5:30- 7:30pm at St. Matthew’s Parish 16079 88 Ave. Surrey

Come celebrate the lives of all young children who have died including those miscarried, stillborn, lost during or after birth, infants and toddlers.  Bereaved parents, relatives and friends of all faiths and backgrounds welcome.  Families are invited to light a candle and enter the names of their children in the “Little Book of Life”.

Teddy bear donations to be distributed to bereaved families through Elizabeth Ministry (St. Matthew & St. Nicholas Chapters).  Please RSVP:  info (at)littlelightofheaven.com.  Visit littlelightofheaven.com for more info.  

Goodnight Sweetheart…Prayer for Our Baby In Heaven

We started teaching our son prayers in utero and are grateful that we did!  From the very first day we were given the news that our baby existed, we spoke to, and prayed with our tiny Sweetheart. 

Throughout our pregnancy, I wrote letters to our little one, and then shared them afterwards with his Daddy.  Instinctively, these little notes often included a prayer.  Our day always ended with night prayers together as a family; “let’s pray baby!” we would say.  In our hearts, we knew our baby was listening no matter how small he or she happened to be. 

The following prayer is included in a book called A Treasury of Prayers (2010) which is published by the Parishioners of Saint Nicholas Roman Catholic Church.  We submitted this in honour of Keaton and to perhaps inspire others to remember their little ones when they pray.  

It brings us a lot of comfort knowing that although Keaton is no longer in our arms, we are still able to pray as a family each and every day, just like we did when we were pregnant and expecting the arrival of our first born.  We have faith that as we hold hands in prayer here on earth, our son also joins us with praises from heaven. 

Goodnight sweetheart, we love you…     

PRAYER FOR OUR BABY

Dearest Little One, may our Heavenly Father bless and protect you, keeping you safe wherever you may go.  Mommy and Daddy love you very much and always will.  We are so thankful to be given the gift of life from God, our Creator.  Pray my child, that Jesus will cradle you in His arms as you continue to grow in His peace and love.  May you be nourished spiritually by this love, remembering that our love for you is also never-ending.  We joyfully anticipate the day when we will be able to see you face to face, look into your innocent eyes and hold you in our arms together.  Amen

                               

Healthcare Professionals That Care

On the day we lost our son, we were very fortunate to be taken care of by a number of professionals such as our Doula, Doctors, Nurses and a Social Worker.  Our GP even drove to the hospital after a full day of seeing patients at the clinic to see us.  The Manager had assigned a Nurse to my husband and I which was a huge blessing because she exactly what we were going through.  This Nurse took care to answer all of our questions and eventually shared with us that she herself had lost a baby.  It struck me at that time, that infant death isn’t all that rare after all.

What can Nurses, Social Workers, Doctors, Doulas and Midwives do to help parents who have just lost an infant?  From our own experience and from speaking to other parents, there are are some key things that healthcare providers can do to help facilitating how the parents will eventually say “goodbye” and these rituals can make all the difference.  Even if the parents are somewhat in shock, the healing process can begin to happen soon after hearing that their baby has died.

There is an innate desire to love and take care of your baby.  Not everyone will react the same to the news that their child is gone, however, newly bereaved parents time and time again have expressed that they need some kind of guidance at the hospital.  Read about the bonding activities that parents can do with their child before it is too late in Tips for Healthcare Professionals.

Miscarriage Prayer by Mother Angelica

I wanted to share this prayer, one that was brought to my attention at a special Celebration of Life Memorial Mass held at St. Ann’s Parish on the Feast of The Holy Innocents.  It was a beautiful service and words such as these featured in the program were comforting.  To read a Blessing of Parents After Miscarriage, click here:
 
My Lord, the baby is dead!
 

Why, my Lord—dare I ask why? It will not hear the whisper of the wind or see the beauty of its parents’ face—it will not see the beauty of Your creation or the flame of a sunrise. Why, my Lord?

 “Why, My child—do you ask ‘why’?  Well, I will tell you why.

You see, the child lives. Instead of the wind he hears the sound of angels singing before My throne. Instead of the beauty that passes he sees everlasting Beauty—he sees My face. He was created and lived a short time so the image of his parents imprinted on his face may stand before Me as their personal intercessor. He knows secrets of heaven unknown to men on earth. He laughs with a special joy that only the innocent possess. My ways are not the ways of man. I create for My Kingdom and each creature fills a place in that Kingdom that could not be filled by another. He was created for My joy and his parents’ merits. He has never seen pain or sin. He has never felt hunger or pain. I breathed a soul into a seed, made it grow and called it forth 

I thank You for the life that began for so short a time to enjoy so long an Eternity.

                                                                                        ~ Mother M. Angelica

Wish I Had Known

A couple of things I want to share with healthcare professionals at birthing and NICU units are the letter to parents and an accompanying letter to caregivers. These letters provide tips on how to guide grieving families through the difficult process of having to say “goodbye” to a child.

My goal is for the letter to parents to be given to families at the hospital after being told that their little one has died — before it is too late. This letter outlines what parents can do to bond with their baby within 12 hours of receiving the news. From my experience, and from what other parents have shared, some of these rituals may significantly impact their journey of grief and healing. Families may rely on caregivers such as nurses, doctors, midwives, doulas and social workers for clear direction.

After pouring over books and reading ways that parents could have spent more time with their children before saying their final “goodbyes”, I was prompted to write something that could be passed on to families right away. To be honest, there are things we wish we had done with our son that we never got a chance to.

After hearing that other parents also had regrets and cringing when I heard comments like “I didn’t know I could have had a volunteer photographer take pictures” or “I wish I had known that I could have bathed my baby myself…”, this prompted me to create the letters so that parents could become aware of ways they could spend time with their infants.

About nine months ago, a close friend of mine called and I sensed panic in her voice. Her friend **Nicole was in the hospital and just delivered her full-term daughter who was born still. “What should I do, what can I tell her?” my friend asked. I knew I still had time and rushed home to email the letter to parents before the family left the birthing unit.

Nicole contacted me a few weeks later thanking me for the information and suggestions. This newly bereaved mother wasn’t sure at the time if she wanted photos, but 8 months later she proudly showed me the scrapbook featuring her beautiful daughter’s pictures. “Thank you” she said with sincere gratitude, “I look at the photos of her often, and it helps a lot”.

I’m working on getting this letter out to birthing unit staff, doulas, midwives and social workers. If there is anyone you know who might wish to have this letter via email, feel free to have them contact me directly and I can send it out.

This is what Little Light of Heaven is all about, being able to share with grieving families and caregivers and to let the light of our babies shine through as we reach out to others with faith, hope and love. This is how the healing begins and may it continue…

** Name changed

Slowing Down

I’m learning a lesson in patience.  I don’t consider myself technically savvy so it is quite a miracle that I got this site up and running in the first place.  You might notice a few glitches along the way — sorry about that. 

Unfortunately, I’m stuck indoors with a cold, but as I look out my kitchen window at the bright, but grey-ish sky behind the gentle sway of the evergreen trees, I have come to the conclusion that sometimes we need to slow down, but can be awfully stubborn about it.  Our bodies can send us a clear message that we need rest and after catching a cold or flu, we have no other choice than to do so. 

There have been times when God has called me to listen, but sadly, I blocked it out.  We’re all human, it happens…and yet the question is, when will we be ready to listen?    

Insights on Ash Wednesday

Today is Ash Wednesday marking the 1st day of Lent.  Over the next 40 days, to help prepare for Easter, I hope to quiet my mind and to be open to true reflection and contemplation.  My desire is to replenish my soul and focus more on my spirituality, to simply listen and be grateful for the blessings in my life. 

A lot of healing has taken place since the death of my son just over two years ago, and I pray that The Heavenly Father continues to bring comfort by speaking to my heart knowing that I deeply love and will always miss my baby boy.