Greetings to you for this first week of Advent! I wanted to share some ideas on ways to brace for and embrace Christmas this year in this BC Catholic article, Creating Meaningful Traditions in the Midst of Grief & Uncertainty.
On Oct.15th, people around the world honoured infants who have died much too soon. A special remembrance service will be held and a candle will be lit for my own three babies. Will you join us?
Pregnancy and Infant Loss Mass with Archbishop Miller
2:00 PM – October 17, 2020
Evangelist Chapel at Gardens of Gethsemani
Join us online as we honour our little ones who have gone too soon. A special Mass will be live streamed, and candles lit in honour of those we have lost. Mass will be celebrated by Archbishop J. Michael Miller, CSB.
Register to attend online. If you cannot attend, you may still register and we will light a candle in remembrance of whom you have lost.
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.
This is a tangible way one mother has decided to honour the life of her child. She hopes that the symbol of a purple butterfly to indicate the loss of a sibling in a multiple birth will be adopted by hospitals across the UK.
So many times I have heard families say that they wish they had learned about the option of having photographs of their babies before it was too late to do so. Here is a news story that features Now I Lay Me Down To Sleep (NILMDTS) and the wonderful work that volunteer photographers do to keep important memories alive.
If you hear of a family who has lost or will likely lose their infant, please consider letting them know about this volunteer organization. Many blessings to the photographers who offer their heart and soul to serving our community with their empathy and expertise.
All I can say is “wow”….this story is inspirational. Learn how a father’s grief after the birth of his daughter with downs syndrome, turns into a celebration of her life.
If you or someone you knows is pregnant and the baby has been given what some call a “difficult diagnosis”, consider watching this.
Today is Kindness Project Day. It is wonderful thing to do an act of kindness in memory of loved ones. I can imagine how proud our little ones are to have us express our love to them in this way. Kind acts are not limited to a specific date of course. Join other bereaved families around the world and honour your loved one any time you feel moved to do so.
Here are some ideas:
* Purchase someone’s coffee when you go through the drive-thu, it may inspire other customers to do the same
*Buy a package of diapers and give them to an organization that supports women who have unplanned pregnancies
* Add coins to someone’s expired parking meter
* Leave flowers at someone’s door who needs encouragement
For our random act of kindness, our family has decided to have extra MISS Foundation kindness cards “done in loving memory of our beautiful child _____ ” printed. If you would like us to send you some, please email info(at)littlelightofheaven(dot)com. Please note that a limited supply is available so contact us soon.
Another “angel” mama shared this youtube video “A Saying Goodbye Film…Every Baby Matters” and I thought it was also worth sharing…
A friend of mine, who lost her son a few years ago, posted information about a ministry called the Child Casket Fund. Trappist Monks of New Melleray Abbey hand make wooden caskets as a corporal act of mercy and offer them as gifts to families who may not otherwise be able to afford one.
There are both infant and toddler caskets available as well as ones for children, youth and adults. It makes me sad just thinking that small size caskets are even available, but as some of you are well aware, the little ones are needed too.
After the loss of a child, there are many logistical things to consider which seems very cruel and unfair to have to think about when you are grieving – especially if the death is sudden and unexpected. Maybe knowing that your child’s final resting cradle has been embraced with a lot of love and surrounded by prayers, may offer a little bit of comfort in this time of intense suffering.
The monks also plant a tree seedling for each child and a Mass is celebrated in your little one’s name. What a wonderful way to honour the life of a child gone-too-soon.