Browsing the blog archives for October, 2011

Service of Remembrance

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Last month, a card from Riverside Methodist Hospital came in the mail.  It was an invitation to a Service of Remembrance which Riverside’s Perinatal Loss Committee hosts.  The event is called “Remembering Special Babies,” and the card said, “For those who have briefly touched our lives, but have forever touched our hearts.”  The event was held yesterday at the Healing Garden of the Elizabeth Blackwell Center.

We had no idea what to expect.  When we arrived, there were a large number of people, some with kids, some without and some with their own parents or siblings.  I was surprised by how many people were there until I realized that most people have been attending every year no matter how long ago their loss occurred.  This is an annual event, rain or shine.  It was a standing-room-only event with a spot for the speaker under a trellis.

When we first walked in, I saw Dr. Yvonne G., a parenting education counselor who runs the New Moms’ Group at the EBC on Tuesday afternoons.  The effect of seeing a sympathetic, familiar and friendly face was the equivalent of offering a tissue to someone already on the verge of crying.

The service was simple but beautiful.  Dr. Yvonne started by telling us what to expect in general.  A couple of the chaplains from Riverside read Ecclesiastes 3:1-8. They played a song about seasons, but we weren’t close enough to the front to be able to hear all of the words.  One of the chaplains then talked about the song and a little about dealing with the grief of perinatal loss.  She then opened it up so that families could come up one at a time to say their child’s name and date of loss.  Those who know me won’t be surprised that I was second in line to do this.  It meant a lot to say Evangeline’s name and birthdate at this event.  After this, they had tulip bulbs and shovels for everyone.  We were allowed to plant a bulb anywhere in the garden.  Ryan planted near one of the trellis posts so that we would have a good landmark to find the tulip later.

I held it together pretty well, but it tugged hard on my heart to see the other people crying through the whole event.  I am thankful that Riverside puts on this event every year.  Considering that October is pregnancy and infant loss remembrance month, it is a fitting time.