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I just attended a memorial service. I just attended a memorial service.

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Unread 12-09-2001, 07:58 PM
I just attended a memorial service.

Hi all,

I want to tell you about a sad a lovely and healing memorial service I attended . I am a member of Sands/Sids here in Australia. Support for families whose babies have died.

I went with my friend and we drove a long way across town in a storm and rush hour traffic to get there.We took along my frind's baby girl who is nearly 2.

She breaks my heart, she is so gorgeous.

Carmel's first son died moments before birth. My daughter Isabel was stillborn too, coming too early after a placental abruption.
I also lost 4 babies to early miscarriage.

We were invited to bring a memento or photo for the altar. Ours were put there first and I watched as all the parents came in and hesitantly put their special things on the table laid out.

It was very quiet except there were various children there with thier parents.
It felt so sad yet so good to be there.

We were each given a xmas decoration to write our babies' names on and when they were read out, we could go and place them on the xmas tree.

Many tears, much support and companionship, and meaning to each of us. Facing a xmas without our precious babies,children can be extremely hard.

Relatives and friends do not know whether to mention your baby. I want them too. i think about my precious daughter every day..

I feel lucky to have a deep, spiritual connection with her as wel as my other babies. i feel blessed to be able to access deep feelings of love, gratitude and sadness.

I just wanted to share this experience here and to give my love and support to my hystersisters who are facing grief and loss this xmas.

I know many are facing the grief of never being able to have children.Your grief is real. your love is real too.

all for now tilly
Later we took them home.
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Unread 12-09-2001, 08:45 PM

What a wonderful tribute to your precious Isabel and your friend`s son and to all the lives cut short by circumstance. How caring that your community has such a ceremony. No, you will never forget and you will always love her and your other lost babies.

I hope this helped your heart to heal and for you to find some peace. I know Isabel looked down and smiled.


Unread 12-10-2001, 01:58 PM

Thank you for your warm and caring reply.

Yes, the service helped my heart to heal some more and to bring some more peace to me.
Yes, there were lots of tears and sadness but when we can openly express thse feelings and in community, it helps so much.

i feel sad that so many people are scared of such tears and our society still seems afraid to allow parents to acknowledge and greive for babies who have died.

My healing journey was long, complicated and arduous. When Isabel died, the thinking of the day then was to whisk her away and virtually pretend she didn't exist. Because of this, I wasn't told anything about her and except for siging a form for her burial(which I didn't realize what I was signing), she was never mentioned again.

I was left alone to bear this intense anguish. Another factor was my unmarried status( it was 1973) and there was shame and guilt heaped upon me. I learnt to be silent about my loss a nd to keep the grief locked away.

After a few years,i developed severe abdominal pain and was rushed to hospital to have my appendix out. Not much later, I have developed ovarian cancer with a huge growth and agin, rushed to hospital for surgery.

I had nagging and chronic pain for years, more surgey till i fuinally found my way to therapy and I made the link between my unrsolved grief and all the disease in my reproductive system.

I spent many years unlocking the secret, healing through the pain to the place I am in now.I have also spent many years doing volunteer work, helping other parents whose babies have died.
this has been very rewarding and healing too.

I am in a place of connection and deep love. I am sad though as I perhaps believe that my surgery this year was still my bidy being ill frm all that trauma(and more) that has been locked away.

The surgery has been another trigger for me for more helaing, throwing up lots of issues and more unresolved pain and losses. I am working on this, hard but positive.

My babies have given me the gift of motherhood. i have felt a baby growing inside me, kicking and moving. I have felt a baby being released from my body during her birth. I am so graetful for these experiences.
i have learnt a lot on my healing journey and am a better , stronger, more compasionte person as a result.

For this I am also grateful. A good note to end on. Gratitude.
Thanks again lots of love tilly
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Unread 12-10-2001, 02:04 PM

Does Isabel have a gravesite? I am thinking that visiting her and talking to her there might help you. Have you ever been able to do that?

I will wrap you in prayer.


Unread 12-11-2001, 03:03 PM
unmarked grave

Dear Kaatie,

my journey and search took me out to a large, peaceful cemetery out of the city.

At the office, I was thrilled to find they had a record of her burial. Stillborn babies were not then named but my surname was used.

I was given a grave number and a "section" to go and see. It is a public section where hundreds if not thousands, mosly babies, are buried. The area if overgrown and unkempt, rubbish blowing around and all the numbers disappeared.

I walked through this"jungle" (as I call it) and found a rock and a bushy site that I felt I could connect with her there. It was a very powerful and moving time. There on the rock, I lit a candle and left a couple of mementos for her.

Yes, I can talk to her, connect to her, write to her, "see" her, feel her spirit, ever so strongly.

It is a lonely sad place there where she is buried but I still go there now and then.I had thought of putting a plaque there but found that the area is often torched to keep the bush and t he weeds down .

I have since placed a plaque in the form of a star at a memorial garden at a different place in the cemetery. Not quite right but it's nice to have her name there for all to see.

I hadn't thought of visiting the cemetery latey and now think it would be a good idea. I will ask a friend to go with me (if she can).

My partner D is very supportive and thoughtful and has aleady placed something under the xmas tree for Isabel.

As to naming her, well it was part of my healing . However, several years ago, Sands support group successfully lobbied the govt to allow for birth certificates for stillborn babies.The registry of Births, deaths and marriages still had the record of my un-named baby.
I was able to apply for a birth cerificate, so great to have an official document which says she exists!!!

Thanks for your support. it is very nice to write about this again and to share this story here.
love tilly

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