Saturday, March 20, 2010

Angel of Hope

I recently visited the children’s memorial spot at a church in a nearby town. It is at the same location that we will be holding Janessa’s memorial service for her 1 year “angelversary”. They have an outside pavilion that we will be using.

It was overwhelming to see how many babies & children are remembered there.

This Angel of Hope statue is 1 of 73 in the world. You can read the full story of it HERE. It is worth the read.

You can purchase bricks & have them engraved with your child's name & info. There are babies, infants, toddlers, children, adult children & many stillborn babies remembered there. I was struck with so much sadness for all these families.

Every December 6th they hold a candle light vigil. They have music, prayer & readings & a moment of silence. Each parent is then allowed to place a flower at the base of the angel in memory of their child. We will be attending this year. I am also planning on eventually purchasing a brick for Janessa. I think it would be nice to include her in such a special spot. I hope to have Janessa's brick there in time for the candle light vigil.

I never knew this spot existed. The memorial spot is hidden away behind another building. I have visited this church many many times over the years and never noticed the pathway where it starts. The fact that it is almost hidden away feels just like this hidden world of baby loss. Not many know it exists & most think it no longer does or they choose not to acknowledge it. The problem with this is more families have to join our "secret society" due to that mindset.

At the memorial there is a sign that hangs on the fence that says “Compassionate Friends Network.” I have come across there info on the internet quite a bit over the past 10 months. I am happy to see they have a chapter so close to home.

Even though it is not “our” church, over the years I have always told people that I have always felt at peace there. Probably more at peace than anywhere else, ever. They have a beautiful candle shrine where I have lit numerous candles. They also have a great little gift shop. They have a very small child loss section but I was pleasantly surprised to even find that. I may at some point discuss with them possibly expanding it a bit by suggesting other materials. I may even drop some free handouts to place in the section for parents to take if they wish.

I wish I didn’t have to search out spots like this. I wish I wasn’t planning a memorial service for her. I wish she was cuddled up in my arms wearing one of the cute outfits I dreamt up in my head. I wish she was crawling or possibly walking around the house keeping my days full of new accomplishments & baby kisses.

I always thought of the one year mark as a huge mile marker on this journey. I am upset that it is approaching so quickly. I am frightened at how I will handle it. I am sad that it has to happen.

We are holding her service Saturday May 15th, the day after the anniversary of the day she was born. The 13th is when we found out she had died & she was born around 8 hours later on May 14th. My husband is taking the 14th off & I am debating having my son stay home. I am planning out how we are going to spend the day. I know I don’t want to spend it home alone upset. I have a few ideas floating around in my head.

It is quickly approaching…too quickly.

If you are reading this & have lost a child, what did you do in memory of your angel on the first year mark?


Jill said...

I wish all those things for you too. We are fortunate enough to have an Angel of Hope statue in my town. We do not have the bricks like yours does. I would love it if we could do something like that. It is so hard to see all those names, but I am happy that people have a place to gather and to remember. xx

Just Breathe said...

Thank you for sharing this information. What a beautful memorial with the bricks. I am going to get in touch with the local chapter of the Compassionate Friends Network and maybe attend a meeting and bring everyone a handkerchief. ((HUGSS))

Jaime said...

We have a brick for Sydney at our Angel of Hope. I love going there. It is so beautiful and peaceful there. I'm glad you were able to find one close to you.

In the few months before Sydney's 1st birthday, I was so worried and nervous about it. I didn't know how I'd manage to get through the day. In the last few weeks before, I decided that it would be a celebration of her. We started the day at her birth time, 4:30 am. DH and I got up, lit a candle, looked at her pictures, and listened to "her" songs. I had set up a Facebook event, a balloon release for her, and friends and family all over released balloons for her. It was nice to know that so many people were thinking of her that day. We went to the cemetery, released our own balloons, left some presents, sang happy birthday and had cupcakes for her. The wind blew just as we finished singing and blew the candles out. After that, we went to a local park to their Butterfly House. Butterflies remind us of Sydney, so it was so awesome to be around all of these free flying butterflies that day.

I have to say, I felt so much peace and my heart was so full that day. It was an amazing, healing experience. I wrote about it and posted pictures on my blog if you want to check it out.

Praying for peace for you as you plan Janessa's day. ((((()))))

Lisette said...

I too wish a baby's death didn't have to be so hush hush. I HATE that! I wish our church had something like that. The hospital where Sami was born does (we are getting her brick soon) and they hold a vigil on 10/15. We will definately be attending.
I just booked Sami's mass for her first birthday this week. It is still a few months away but my church is also so busy. I plan on having her mass and then going to leave flowers at the baby land at the cemetary. Even though she is not buried there I want to go back and do that. It made me smile doing that because everyone had fun doing it. I am going to ask all attending to bring flowers. We shared her flowers from the service since so many baby's did not have any. It was nice to see how much color we added to that place. After that we will realese her 100 pink and white balloons like we did for her service. I might add an extra special one for her.
I am sure you are going to find some way to make her birthday special in your way. Sending you a big ((hug)).

Tina said...

My girls' 1st birthday is just over 1 month away. I am having a really hard time figuring out what to do. I don't know if I want to be around a bunch of people that day or if I just want to keep it to just our little family. I just don't know...I will be checking back here to read everyone's thoughts though. What you have so far sounds lovely for your sweet girl. xx

AKD said...

I'm so glad you found so much comfort and peace at the memorial, but I am so sorry you have to go.

Our little girl's first birthday is this summer, and I'm trying to think of ways to make it special.

Check out my Etsy Shop!