1). Love never dies.
2). Bereaved parents share an unspeakable bond.
3). I will grieve for a lifetime.
4). It’s a club I can never leave, but is filled with the most shining souls I’ve ever known
5). The empty chair/room/space never becomes less empty.
6). No matter how long it’s been, holidays never become easier
7). Because I know deep sorrow, I also know unspeakable joy.
I hope this town in Newfoundland inspires others to follow their lead. It doesn’t take a lot of funding, just a healthy dose of awareness, understanding and dedication to make our world more inclusive for those with unique challenges and abilities. How can we make this happen in more communities?
The Langley Hospice is hosting an open house for Children’s Grief Awareness Day on Thursday, Nov. 15 from 3:30 to 6 p.m. at the Langley Hospice Society, at 20660 48th Ave.
The open house includes activities such as: a tour of the program centre, crafts for all ages, light snacks, a volunteer meet and greet, and more.
For more information on the Langley Hospice Society and how to light up in blue, visit www.langleyhospice.com or call 604-530-1115.
I attended the Infant Memorial Mass earlier this month on Oct.15th, Infant Loss Awareness Day at Gardens of Gethsemani. It was one of the most touching services I have been to and we are honoured that Archbishop J. Michael Miller took time to be with us again this year. His homily was heartfelt and compassionate.
Afterwards, over steaming cups of hot chocolate, the Archbishop greeted bereaved families and asked us the names of our beloved babies as he looked at the candles we wrote on that lit up the steps of the altar during the Mass.
Over the years, I’ve learned that there will be many who are uncomfortable hearing about infant loss. When I feel people turn away, act like they didn’t hear me, or quickly change the subject, I remind myself that there was a time – not so long ago – when I felt the same way. It was before I had children of my own and I hadn’t experienced what it was like to be a bereaved mom.
In this article, Ask me his name: a mother’s request, Winetta Nguyen writes “There is so much love in our hearts when we get to say his name out loud. I know many people are uncomfortable with asking us about our son because they are afraid that it will resurface the pain and loss that we’ve experienced. The truth is, the pain and loss is always there. We can’t be reminded of something that is on our minds and hearts to begin with.”
I’m extremely grateful that we had this opportunity to remember our children at the Mass; to be surrounded by love and prayers within a supportive, faith-filled community. Over the years, I’ve reassure bereaved families that it’s ok to remember and to grieve; it’s ok to share our stories and to be able to laugh again; to honour the dreams we hold in our hearts, the joys of our pregnancy, the pain of death and the hope of eternity.
You never really know, by sharing the story of your little one, who might be touched or inspired to do the same. It may be your neighbour, a high school friend, the person standing beside you in a movie theatre – or perhaps, someone who might live thousands of miles away like this mother in Hawaii!
Happy Feast of All Saints! If you would like the names of your infants or children to be remembered, I’m happy to place them on the altar at Gardens of Gethsemani in the chapel. Simply send me the name/s of your beautiful child/ren and a team of Elizabeth Ministers and other bereaved families will keep your family in prayer.
October 15, 2018
15694 32nd Avenue, Surrey, BC V3Z 9V1
October 15 is National Infant Loss Awareness Day. This day we remember our little ones who have gone too soon. To honor them Archbishop Miller will be celebrating Mass at the Evangelist Chapel at the Gardens of Gethsemani. This is our third annual Infant Loss Awareness Day event. We will light up the cemetery in their honour, so please come and join us for this special mass.
It’s hard to believe that the concept of limbo still exists…
The writer Joanna Wahlund ends her article, The State of Limbo in Catholic Teaching in the words of St. Bernard of Clairvaux:
Your faith spoke for this child. Baptism for this child was only delayed by time. Your faith suffices. The waters of your womb — were they not the waters of life for this child? Look at your tears. Are they not like the waters of baptism? Do not fear this. God’s ability to love is greater than our fears. Surrender everything to God.
Should the level of compassion and support be available to parents who have suffered the loss of an infant? Voice your concerns and ask that motion 110 be supported. Here is the call to action as noted on MP Blake Richard’s site:
WHAT CAN I DO TO HELP?
You can write a letter or an email to your MP, the Prime Minister, and the Minister of Families, Children and Social Development asking that they support the Motion when it comes to a vote in the House of Commons. In particular, you can encourage your MP to show their support for the Motion by writing a letter to the Prime Minister and the Minister of Families, Children and Social Development.
More info. here on MP Blake Richard’s site.
One of my children starts kindergarten this week. Am I ready to launch him into the vast world of elementary school by himself!? Yes, I do realize there is only one classroom per grade, but still…
This milestone is a significant one. I fully expect to be one of ‘those’ moms, crying in the car after drop off. We’ll see. I made sure the box of tissue in the car wasn’t empty and will have my sunglasses ready.
I think gradual entry is just as much for our children as it is for us. As first time kindergarten parents, we need to ease in. Tomorrow, I’m scheduled to leave him in the classroom for a short time, “don’t worry, I won’t be long and will pick you up again.” I asked him tonight if he was ok with me dropping him off and my confident five year old ended up being the one reassuring me. “It’s ok mommy, I like my new school. You can leave me at kindergarten ‘for longer’. I know my teachers now, they are all so nice! I won’t act silly.”
Three years ago, Keaton should have been the first one in the family to start kindergarten. I remember it was a wistful week for me, seeing the proud “1st day of kindergarten!” pictures and posts on social media – especially the families who were in the same prenatal class as we were. Our babies were born within weeks of one another and Keaton was the only one who didn’t make it.
Driving to work, I was keenly aware of passing the children on their way to school as I slowed down cautiously – below the 30 km speed limit – just to be extra safe. This is what I would have wanted drivers to do had my child been the one walking hand-in-hand with me, excited to go to kindergarten at his new school.
This article called, “The Ghost At The Classroom Door” was shared by another infant loss mom on Facebook today and I thought it was fitting; although I like to use the term “saint” instead. I’m sure our little saints love to accompany their siblings when they go to school…it is a comforting thought.
I love and miss you my sweet babies, pray your brother has a great time in kindergarten and enjoy that time together as I’m sure you will.
This is a great read….Stifled Grief: How the West Has It Wrong
Michelle E. Steinke writes:
I’m here to say those who are honest with the emotions that surround loss are the ones who are the least “stuck” and have received the best therapy around. You see, getting in touch with our true feelings, embracing the honest emotions of death only serve to expand the heart and allow us to move forward in a genuine and honest way. Death happens to us all so let’s turn the corner and embrace the truth behind life after loss.