Monday, October 18, 2010

A Loss Not Forgotten

On October 15th we went to A Loss Not Forgotten, a remembrance ceremony hosted by the hospital where Harper was born.  It was put on by the Parent's Advisory Council and they did a very nice job.  My Mom joined us and we met Chris's parents there.  We all walked in together and signed in.  The receptionist asked me if I was 'Mom'?  Are you Mom?  That's not something that I get asked very often, not ever actually.  I like being called 'Mom'.  That's when the tears started and they didn't stop until the program was over.  I answered, "yes" and signed in.  She handed me a program and a bookmark and told me to take a rose of the appropriate color once inside the reception area.  

Inside the program was a list of the different types of loss and the color of rose to take.  For me: Miscarriage...Coral Rose & Preemie born between 23-34 weeks...Lavender Rose.  I had two roses and my heart was just broken.  Two roses. Two losses.  They started with a nice introduction and guest speaker.  I don't remember much of what the guest speaker even talked about but he closed with a lovely poem about the living with the loss of a child.  I can't even remember much of the poem but I do remember it saying that our children live on through us and they will always live on in our hearts.  I really felt comforted by his words.  

Then the rose ceremony.  The social workers stood up and started reading a description of each type of loss and when they were finished reading we all repeated the words, "We Remember".  And then the Moms and Dads of the babies in that particular category walked to the front of the room and put their rose in the vase.  They read narratives for Miscarriage, Stillbirth, Preemie born before 23 weeks, Preemie born between 24-34 weeks, Full term birth, and SIDS/infant death.  The narratives were just beautiful.  I could tell that the women reading them had either experienced that type of loss or had spent a lot of time with someone who had.  There were so many mommies & daddies with roses.  So many babies taken too soon.  So much loss.  So many tears.  As we put our rose in the vases, we were given a yellow rose, a HOPE rose.  

Then the slide show of names.  All of the sweet names of our babies.  The tears were drying up a bit until Harper's name came on the screen...

Harper Grace Johnson  
June 25, 2010 

There it was, our sweet girls name.  It was like a knife in my chest, it hurt so bad.  I just put my head on Chris's shoulder and sobbed and I saw that he had tears in his eyes, too.  He misses her so much, too.  I loved seeing her name up there though.  I always love seeing her name.  I just stared at the screen, I didn't want to miss seeing her for even a second.  She is our baby and very much with us, if only in our hearts.  

There are so many other babies that were not listed on that slide show that were being remembered that night also.  Babies of all the sweet mamas I have come to know here.  Jacob, Kai, Drew, Charlotte, Peyton, Riley, Lily, Bailey, Laken, Kennedy, Josey, Oliver, Stevie, Mikayla, Audrey, Aidan, Stella, Olivia, Kenny, Liam....the list goes on.  So many heartbroken parents that are missing their children every minute of every day. 

I was so sad thinking that we, as parents to angels, don't get to do normal parent things.  No soccer games, no dance recitals, no PTA meetings, no play dates, no volunteering to be the 'homeroom mom'.  We get to attend memorial ceremonies, butterfly releases, balloon releases, memorial gardens, and walks in honor of our children.  Our children may be gone but they will live on through us, we honor them by living our lives and by doing all of the things that they will never get to do.  We will speak their names, we will remember them, we will honor their memories in any way that we can.   We wanted so much for our children but this is all we have....Love.

"And if I go while you’re still here…
know that I live on, vibrating to a
different measure behind a thin
veil you cannot see through. You
will not see me so you must have
faith. I wait the time when we can
soar again, both aware of each
other. Until then, live your life to
its fullest, and when you need me
just whisper my name in your
heart…I will be there."
-Author Unknown


Dana said...

That ceremony sounds beautiful. I love all the little touches...a certain colour of rose for each type of loss, the vase at the front that slowly filled with roses. Each family being recognized as they brought their roses or roses up. And I LOVE that you were called Mom. You are a Mom and I am so happy that you were recognized as one.

I can just imagine the feelings that swept through you as you saw Harper's name on the screen. The whole ceremony brings tears to my eyes.

I love the poem you posted.

Olivia's Mom said...

I have yet to attend any ceremonies like this, but it sounds like a beautiful way to honor our babies. I'm so glad you and your family were able to be there, as representation of your two sweet angels.

Jennifer said...

This entry brought tears to my eyes, Rhiannon. There are just so many bereaved parents out there and so many lost babies, it's just heartbreaking. Our way of 'parenting', you described it so well. How true it is that we won't ever get to do the things normal parents would do for and with their children. And living with that fact brings this grief so much deeper, so much painful within us. Yet despite all these things, we continue living because that's the only thing we can do for them, that's the only way we can show we LOVE them so very dearly.

I'm glad your hospital organized such a wonderful remembrance ceremony for all lost babies. It was truly a blessed way to remember and honor your beautiful daughter, Harper, and the precious little one you miscarried. I give kudos to your hospital for doing this. They are not afraid to acknowledge that death happens and that even babies die. Other hospitals just don't take the time because they'd like to think their facilities are where people get healed and get to live.

Thank you for remembering Kai in this ceremony, too. And for thinking of all the baby lost moms and their babies. I love the poem at the end of your post. It's very comforting. Hold onto that yellow rose of hope, keep it and cherish it for Harper would want you to. Big hugs to you, sweet mama.

KAM said...


Thank you for remembering Josey. I'm amazed at your strength to be able to go to the ceremony. We were invited to ours at the hospital where she was born, but I just can't do it. Not yet. Maybe next year.


Angela said...

Thank you for mentioning my sweet Charlotte. That ceremony sounds wonderful. I love the roses idea, it is beautiful. When we went to our memorial walk on Saturday I was thinking the same thing - this is all we get to do our babies. It's heartbreaking.

Jessica said...

What a beautiful ceremony - I especially love that they gave you a yellow rose for hope! I balled my eyes out at the Walk to Remember that we went to on the 10th - there were over 700 people there just in my small corner of the world. So much loss, so much pain. SO sad! (((hugs))) <3 Also I put that quote on my facebook - LOVE it!!! <3

Drew's Parents said...

What a beautiful and powerful ceremony. I had tears in my eyes when you described seeing Harper's name. My heart breaks for you and Chris. You two are adoring and loving parents to your sweet angels. I do believe that they are with us and can feel how much love we have for them. We may not be parents in the ways we thought, but we are parents to their memory. I am so glad that they called you mom. You are a mother and a wonderful one at that. <3 Thank you so much for remembering Drew. It brings me peace to know that through all of us connecting maybe our baby's spirits have also connected or met in some way. Sending much love and support your way <3 <3 <3

Sarah S said...

I am so sorry for your loss.

That sounds like a beautiful memorial service.

Here from ICLW

Anonymous said...

what a heart touching ceremony, I am so sorry for your loss.

ICLW #136

daega99 said...

It sounds like it was a beautiful ceremony. Many, many hugs to you.


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