First….a 42 second video for you to watch. Sorry that I couldn’t figure out how to embed it into this post-you’ll have to click on the link to watch it.
She asked us if we wanted to be invited to the memorial celebrating all of the babies lost that year. She was a member of the pastoral staff that came to pray with us before surgery after we lost our fourth baby, Lainey Lynne’. My first response was “well, what about last year? What about Noelle?”. Our baby’s were sent to the University of Nebraska Medical Center for testing but were brought back and buried with all of the other babies lost at this hospital. The hospital does this annually and celebrates the hope of life that once was by having a memorial service at the grave site. Somehow, we didn’t receive our invitation in 2014. But, we did several weeks ago for this year’s memorial.
We had the perfect dress for Lainey to wear to celebrate her sisters and brought two gerber daisies, my Nana’s favorite flower. The memorial was right at the edge of what they call “baby land” in the cemetery. There were wind chimes hanging from shepherds hooks at so many of the baby headstones and it was breezy-you can hear it in the video….a delicate lullaby that plays 24 hours per day for all of the babies in baby-land. They sang a few songs and although done by a Catholic priest, the service was essentially nondenominational.
There was a somewhat nondescript headstone there that you can tell has been there for quite some time. Little toys, flowers and other what-nots have weathered the elements and lay at the base of it. This is where everyone was standing….After they sang, the priest asked everyone in attendance to come forward towards the burial site. I can honestly say that prior to him saying this we didn’t even see it. It was covered with sod. The place where all of our babies rest was barely visible. I don’t know what I expected but seeing that patch of earth that I knew was disrupted (for at least Lainey Lynne’) was upsetting. Noelle had to have been nearby as this whole plot is where they bury these babies every year. For the first time in months, tears ran down my face for a different reason than happiness. It was like all of that grief we went through just flooded back into me full-force. Adam was holding Lainey and she began to fuss every so slightly so he left my side to walk with her. We had decided before we came that we definitely wanted to go to this as a family but if she cried he would go to the car with her as undoubtedly there would be other parents there that are not as blessed as we are. Hearing a child cry is such a beautiful sound when you never got the chance to hear it.
The priest asked the parents that were there to acknowledge the lives lost by saying their baby’s names out loud. No one said anything. Adam nudged me. I said both girl’s names. Noelle-and-Lainey. Several parents were crying when they said their baby’s name aloud. Every name was beautiful. As they said during the service, each life that was lost took a little bit of hope with it. I know we had none. Hope, that is. So much was restored to us on January 22, 2015. Praise God for this!
They then invited all of the parents to take a pink rose and move it from the vase on the left to the vase on the right with the baby’s breath, which was to be left at the grave site after the service. Everyone was also given a rose when we left.
We are so thankful for this experience. It was just another step in the right direction of the grief process. Having a “place” to go, a “place” to perhaps bring a flower to our babys is priceless and just knowing where they lay means more than I can put into words.
Thank you, thank you to Good Samaritan Hospital for giving us this gift.