I’ve met some new babylost moms this year and my thoughts are with them; I know this will be a tough holiday season. I welcome you to join me in sending prayers to these bereaved families as this will be their 1st Christmas without their little ones.
Here are some thoughts about what helped us as we celebrated our son’s first Christmas with Jesus. It was written in December 2009.
Merry Christmas, Baby!
Gardens of Gethsemani Cemetery at Christmas a place of prayer, comfort and Nativity Spirit too
(Original article published in The B.C. Catholic January 4, 2010)
We were not quite sure how to celebrate Christmas this year, and to be honest, I didn’t even know if I had the heart to. We still planned to attend Mass of course, and spend time with family, but other than putting out the Nativity scene and a stocking for our son, I did not want to decorate the house this year.
A few weeks ago, we drove up to this beautiful spot, and experienced first-hand the true spirit of Christmas. It simply took my breath away. “K-e-a-t-o-n,…..look!” I whispered, and quickly scrambled out the car door. My husband was only a few steps behind. When we finally stood in the middle of it all, tears were streaming down my face. We kept scanning the scenery around us in awe, and our hearts were filled with joy!
Upon first glance, this may look like a regular park or yard decorated for this cheerful Christmas season. There are candy canes on the fence, bright big bows glinting in the trees, and red and white poinsettias lined up perfectly. This is a photo of Gardens of Gethsemani cemetery, and more specifically, Rachel’s Garden where the infants and children are buried. This is also where we laid our baby boy Keaton Dominic to rest in January. Our son died at birth on Jan. 16th, 2009 and this year would have been baby’s first Christmas.
At Keaton’s funeral, a woman whom I did not know approached me before Mass. She had tears in her eyes and sadly said, “You don’t know me, but I am also a parishioner here at St. Nicholas. I am so, so sorry for the loss of your baby boy…it has been awhile, but we also lost our son before he was born.” She gave me a big tight hug, and in that instant, it felt as if I had found a long lost friend.
This mother later told me that every year for Advent, someone lovingly takes time to decorate the children’s area at Garden’s of Gethsemani. For over 10 years, this person voluntarily trims the trees with wreaths and bows, and a generous bunch of poinsettias are carefully placed at each of the infant gravesites. My husband and I want to thank this person for remembering our children at Christmas. God bless you! It is so nice to be able to openly celebrate our heavenly children, but more so this time of year.
To those who are grieving the death of a baby or child: I am sorry that your little one is not here with you. Our little saints are very much alive in heaven, and waiting for us! I find comfort, and peace knowing that God loves all of his children, but now know that Christmas time can be bittersweet. No matter how long it has been since the death of our loved ones, we will still miss them during the celebration of Our Lord Jesus’ birth at Christmas.
Merry Christmas children, give Baby Jesus our love. Please pray for us, and ask the Blessed Mother to hold and take care of you until we get there. Love always, your faithful and loving parents.