What about Limbo?

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.

Jesus Blessed Them

How wonderful it is to know that Jesus blesses our children…

Happy 8th Birthday Keaton!  We love you to the moon and back, and around n’ round again….we miss you dearly.

Mark 10:13-16New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)

Jesus Blesses Little Children

People were bringing little children to him in order that he might touch them; and the disciples spoke sternly to them. But when Jesus saw this, he was indignant and said to them, “Let the little children come to me; do not stop them; for it is to such as these that the kingdom of God belongs. Truly I tell you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God as a little child will never enter it.” And he took them up in his arms, laid his hands on them, and blessed them.



He Will Gather the Lambs in His Arms…

We usually like to attend evening Mass at our Parish.  Faith-filled young adults from the local Catholic college also come to this service which is really nice to see.  We love singing the mixture of traditional and contemporary music led by the talented and upbeat youth choir.

Yesterday, we decided to go to morning Mass which is popular with younger families and thus the pews are filled with adults and children of all ages.  Sometimes the choir sings hymns which are appealing to the younger children as they can easily follow along and sing the melody.  A good example was the entrance song that we sung, a beautiful repetition of one simple phrase;

Prepare ye the way of the Lord…

Before lighting the Advent candles, Father called God’s “little people” aged 3 yrs. – 7 yrs., up to the front to gather for the Children’s Liturgy.  I was busy craning my neck to catch a glimpse of the excited children as they scurried towards the Advent wreath, when it suddenly dawned on me — Keaton will be 3 yrs. old next month. 

“Keaton should be there with all of them too” I whispered to my husband who sat beside me; I tilted my head slightly towards the group of children.  He looked at me knowingly, squeezed my hand and nodded.  I did my best to hide my emotions and quickly wiped the few unexpected tears away as Mass continued.

I couldn’t help but think about the little milestones that would have been celebrated in our family.  Next month, our son would have been old enough to be to be a part of the Children’s Liturgy and listen to the Gospel in kid-friendly language.  He would be one of those sweet boys and girls who would come running back to the pews, with a brightly coloured picture or craft in his hand eager to show us what he learned from the teachers.  We would be the ones to look over our shoulders to make sure Keaton found his way back to us, kiss him on the head upon his return and admire the beautiful, messy artwork that he proudly would have presented…

As I thought of my son, I wondered what he must be doing in heaven.  Do they have Children’s Liturgy there?  Jesus must teach our children Himself, right?  Does Keaton already know all he needs to know?  What if-

And almost mid-thought, I was no longer distracted.  I felt the Holy Spirit re-directing my attention to the readings as they were being spoken out loud.  I was keenly aware of the following words as I listened;

*Isaiah 40: 1 – 5, 9 – 11

Comfort, comfort my people, says your God…. He will feed his flock like a shepherd, he will gather the lambs in his arms, he will carry them in his bosom, and gently lead those that are with young.

*Peter 3: 8 – 14

But do not ignore this one fact, beloved, that with the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day…. But according to his promise we wait for new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells. Therefore, beloved, since you wait for these, be zealous to be found by him without spot or blemish, and at peace.

*Mark 1: 1 – 8

As it is written in Isaiah the prophet, “Behold, I send my messenger before thy face, who shall prepare thy way;…John the baptizer appeared in the wilderness, preaching a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins…I have baptized you with water; but he will baptize you with the Holy Spirit.”

*From EWTN for Dec.4, 2011.  Note bold emphasis is my own.

Fittingly, the first Communion Hymn that was sung was “Like A Shepherd

Like a Shepherd He feeds His flock

and gathers the lambs in His arms

Holding them carefully close to His heart,

leading them home….

Let’s just say, the scripture readings and Communion Hymn spoke for themselves and I no longer felt a need to wonder and try to figure out what Keaton was doing.  My son was in the arms of Jesus and at the same time, our son was also very much with us as well.       


**Name changed

Remembering Baby’s First Christmas in Heaven

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.


All Saints’ Day – Remembering Our Little Innocents

It is Halloween, the night before All Hallows or All Saints’ Day.  As I write this, various firecrackers and fireworks can be heard screeching, ‘ka-booming’ and crackling throughout the neighbourhood.  The chatter of excited children are in the background.  On this nippy October evening, it is not surprising that we’ve had dozens of trick o’treaters at our door already. 

I always enjoy handing out the candy; the delight on the little painted faces when I hold the bowl of treats in front of them is priceless.  But I understand how Halloween can be such a sad time for babylost parents.  For example, one bereaved parent that I know came up with the term “Boo-humbug” to express her feelings about Halloween.  For us, the last few years have been more difficult of course, but for some reason, there is a part of me that still enjoys seeing the children and I feel compelled to be the one to give out candy in our household.  

The toddlers dressed up in warm, fuzzy costumes make my heart melt like chocolate.  This year, my favourite costumes were a chicken, bumble bee, and fairy.  This evening, when I heard a light knock at the door, that sounded about knee-high, I braced myself because I knew it was likely a smaller child around Keaton’s age, who would greet me with a smiley “twick-o-tweet!”.  Awww, they were all so cute!

I imagine Keaton – who would be around 3 yrs. old now – would have enjoyed going to the pumpkin patch and getting his photos taken.  I know he would have ran around with the other kids, picking out a pumpkin that was just his size and we would have taken it home and carved a friendly face on it together.  My guess is that our son would have been a cutie hanging out with his 6 month old “dinosaur” cousin, all dressed up in a costume too.  I wonder what Keaton would be like right now?  What costume would we have chosen for him?

But, what if Halloween represented much more than just dressing up in costumes and running around the neighbourhood trying to get as much candy as possible?  From my Filipino roots, I knew that relatives spent time at the cemetery around this time of year and today, I wanted to learn more about what this was all about.  It turns out that in certain cultures, All Hallows begins at midnight on Oct.31st and marks the beginning of All Saints’ Day and celebrations for the Day of The Dead.

Solemnity of All Saints     

The Feast of All Saints’ is celebrated by Catholics and other Christians on Nov.1st  in honour of all Saints who are known and unknown.  In Mexico, deceased infants and children or “angelitos” (little angels) are remembered and honoured on this first day of celebration also called Día de los Inocentes (“Day of the Innocents”).  Click here to read about ways to honour and remember relatives who have passed on and for more specific prayers that can be said. 

As for me, I’ll be attending Mass tomorrow and visiting my little angelito at his gravesite.  I will also be praying for bereaved parents and taking time to remember the heavenly saints whom we know, love and adore.  Happy All Saints’ Day children…


Prayer For Our Family

Dear Lord, thank you for blessing us with our child. May we always cherish this gift, dedicating in faith this little one to You. Watch over our child’s life and shine Your guiding light upon us all. We pray our home is filled with love and laughter, helping us to be genuinely kind in mind, heart and soul.

As Mother Mary and St. Joseph adored their Son, we wish to treasure our child forever and pray that the love of the Holy Family be with everyone.  Amen.

 Note:  Prayer cards available.  Pls. contact us for more information.

Prayer written by Keaton’s Mommy & Daddy (2011) – representing the intimate thoughts of our hearts while we were expecting baby Keaton’s arrival. 

Father’s Day Prayer Intentions

We wish you and your family a gentle Father’s Day as we take time to remember our heavenly children and all the fathers in our lives.  Below are prayers that can be included this weekend.  I know it means a lot for bereaved parents to be recognized during church services on special days such as Mother’s and Father’s Day. 

Thank you to others for remembering that even though our children may not be here on earth, they always remain close in our hearts and minds.  Even though all Father’s may not show it, they grieve too…We love you Dads!

We pray;    

For bereaved fathers mourning the loss of their children/grandchildren who have died.

 For couples who are struggling with infertility and those trying to conceive


For fathers who are expecting and those waiting to adopt; as well as parents who lovingly chose to give up and/or welcome children through adoption and fostering.


For those whose fathers and spouses have died and gone before us.

In thanks for all the father figures in our lives.

God bless,

Keaton’s parents

Prayer for Our Child in Heaven

Dearest Little One, we thank Our Heavenly Father for blessing us with your sweet, yet brief life.  Know that you have touched our lives forever and we will always love and miss you.  We trust Jesus will keep you safe in His care, and pray that one day, we’ll also be able to hold you for eternity.  Holy Spirit, may You heal our hearts; inspire us to live faithfully in the hope of everlasting peace and joy in Heaven, and may we all be together as a family again.  Amen.

NOTE:  Prayer cards featuring the “Light of Life” image by Libby Dulac are available.  Pls. contact us for more information.

Tears At Church

All children, every single one, are a gift.   In early days of my grief journey, seeing little ones had the power to take my breath away as I missed my baby boy with such raw intensity, but I always considered the children around me as blessings.

Other babylost moms just shook their heads when I told them that I was still able to go to baby showers and rarely declined invitations to play dates when my friend’s got the kids together.  I have always enjoyed being around children and did not stop loving those around me.

Just because Keaton was no longer here physically in my own arms, does not mean I resented that there were others who had healthy babies resting in theirs.  I love going to church and seeing young families there.  You may catch me cooing at babies and adoring infants, and watching with wonder toddlers who are around the age that my son would be.

What would Keaton be like?  Would he be charming the people in pews behind us during Mass and playing peek-a-boo?  Would he be smiling and laughing at other children and trying to break free from my loving embrace when we were supposed to be kneeling silently?  Most likely.

Admittedly, there are moments when I miss Keaton so much that it is almost too much to bear.  Innocent triggers that remind me of him tug at my emotions, and no matter how hard I try to be strong, the flood of tears are just too much to hold in and I have to simply let them flow freely.

One morning during Mass, every little voice, whimper and giggle of a child, even in the very back of the church, I was able to sense clearly.  No matter how hard I tried to tune out the faint cries of the hungry newborn, it stood out above the rest and that is all I could focus on.  All I wanted to do was to cuddle my son.

Being at church is my sanctuary, it is my time to open my heart to Jesus and to consciously wipe away any kind of mask that I find myself having to wear to protect “others” from seeing my grief.  Mass is also the time when I speak directly to my little boy and tell him how much he means to us and how much he is loved.  The peace I feel after talking to him is an incredible blessing that I wish I could share with all bereaved parents for them to also experience.

I am so grateful for these special moments during Mass that give me joy, they greatly outweigh the painful ones, like these 

The Love I Still Have, On Mother’s Day

This was written a few months after my son’s birth/death and published in *The BC Catholic May 11, 2009.  Wishing you all a blessed and gentle Mother’s Day as we remember our children knowing that we will always be mothers to these precious children in heaven. 

 ~ Written in Loving Memory of Baby Keaton Dominic ~ 

Born into Eternal Life Jan. 16, 2009.

Almighty God, giver of all that is good, we thank You for the precious gift of human life:  for life in the womb, coming from your creative power…

(Beginning excerpt from the Prayer for Reverence for Life, Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Vancouver)

On the Friday before Mother’s Day last year I was driving to work in a semi-conscious state, as I had slept in and was running a bit late.  I had skipped breakfast, so my stomach was grumbling and I was only half-listening to the radio.   

My ears perked up when I heard the female announcer say, “Happy Mother’s Day weekend to all the mothers-to-be out there!”  The other radio DJ jokingly answered, “They aren’t mothers yet!  Can we say that to a pregnant woman?”

“Of course!” The female DJ shot back in a cheery voice.   “They count!”  This little tit-for-tat got me thinking and I was now fully alert.

“What if I am going to be a mom?’ I wondered.  This thought took my breath away.  “What if I am pregnant and I don’t even know it?!”  I whispered out loud with a lump in my throat.  My eyes began to mist, and the tears that started to emerge took me by surprise. 

My husband and I had only started trying to conceive a few months earlier, and I did not want to get my hopes up by getting too excited or emotional.  We had been married for almost nine years and because of some health issues, I had to be on medication for quite a long time. 

I had been warned by several doctors that the drugs I had been prescribed could harm a baby and should not be taken while pregnant.  On the other hand my doctor knew how important it was for me to have a child and urged us not to wait too long. 

I finally decided to stop taking the medication after a distinct dream I had one night.   The only thing I could remember was waking up startled and the faint echo of a young voice exclaiming, “Mommy, I want to be born!”  How could I argue with this request?

For almost half a year I became sick, struggling as I no longer had a crutch to suppress my immune system.  I had faith, however, that God would help me, and I knew that staying off the prescription medication was the right thing to do.  My maternal instincts were very strong and I knew that it would be worth the pain.

“Please, God, gift us with a baby.  All I ask, is for You to bless us with at least one.”   I did not know at the time, but it turned out we were already a few weeks pregnant last Mother’s Day.  Perhaps it was God Who sent me that special message that morning as I drove to work. 

After my doctor confirmed that I indeed was carrying precious cargo and my baby was growing inside, we were slightly stunned, but still thrilled.  My prayers were finally answered, and my dream of starting a family was about to come true! 

“This child is Yours, Lord, and will always know and love You.  Please keep our baby safe.”  This was my daily prayer and heartfelt promise to Jesus.   

We considered this child, our first and only one so far, to be a miracle because we had to wait so long, but we were beyond excited and could hardly believe that we would soon be meeting our little one. 

Our beautiful baby at 34 weeks

Several months ago, while I was in the last few weeks of the pregnancy, I thought about how we would celebrate my first Mother’s Day, all three of us finally together.  However, for some reason, I was still cautious. 

Our son or daughter was due to be born on January 19, 2009.  This was extra special because the baby was expected to arrive almost 20 years after our first date back in January 1989 as we had been high school sweethearts since then. 

Sadly, we did not celebrate our 20th anniversary.  Instead, our dreams were shattered, because on Jan. 16, only three days before he was due, our son was born sleeping.  Our precious baby had gently passed away in my womb only hours before his birth; there was nothing the medical staff or I could have done to save him. 

We were absolutely devastated.  The agony and excruciating pain I felt as I cradled his lifeless body was indescribable.  I did not want to let my baby go…

We named our little angel, Keaton Dominic and we miss him terribly.  Our beautiful boy was born with such a peaceful look on his perfect and plump face.  His sweet lips formed an unforgettable smile reassuring us that he was happy and that he had already soared to heaven.  We take great comfort in knowing that Keaton is now safe in heaven and that he will always love and be loved by Our Lord. 

It has been difficult, but I have slowly come to terms with how God answered my prayers.  On Sundays, when we pray the Reverence for Life prayer during Mass, I instinctively touch my tummy and often have to fight back tears.  This prayer has such special meaning now. 

I cannot help but visualize Keaton’s tiny white casket placed in front of the altar at St. Nicholas Church, where we held his prayer service and offered his funeral Mass.  The baptismal font where Father John would have baptized our son was just a few strides away.  When I go to church and look at the water, it stings knowing that Keaton was just not meant to be baptised in our our arms.   


This Mother’s Day I will joyfully honour my mom and mother-in-law, but my heart will also weep, as I will not be able to hold our baby on what was to be our first Mother’s Day together.  I am still a mother and always will be; as our Catholic faith teaches, we became parents the moment our son was conceived.  Even though Keaton did not take a breath and I did not get a chance to gaze into his innocent eyes, I love him just as fiercely as any other mother loves her child. 

Keaton, Mama & Papa

Thank you, my little angel, for the blessings you have given us, as they are many.  We love you very much!  Thank you, God, for giving us baby Keaton, our miracle child who now resides with You in heaven and will remain in our hearts forever.

Like Blessed Mary, may we always say “YES” to Your gift.  May we defend it and promote it from conception to its natural end. And bring us at last, O father, to the fullness of eternal life in Jesus Christ, our Lord.   Amen.

(Ending excerpt from the Prayer for Reverence for Life,  Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Vancouver)

This was written in loving memory of our son and dedicated to all the mothers and fathers who will “celebrate” Mother’s Day with empty arms.  Here is my heartfelt prayer to you:

May God grant us the strength and peace needed to endure our grief so that we are able to celebrate, on this day, our babies, who have died and were born into Eternal Life.  We parents pray that the Holy Spirit will give us direction so we can live our lives with great purpose and meaning.  We thank You, Lord, for all Your blessings, and have faith that Your ultimate desire is for us to join You in heaven, where we hope to be reunited with our children.  In the meantime, may You and Our Blessed Mother hold them safe in Your loving arms.   Amen. 

 *Reprinted with permission