Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Still Missed Garden offers grieving spot

Abby Schenck, 1, is too young to understand the ceremony. For her parents, though, Wednesday held special meaning as they grieved a lost pregnancy for a second time.

Brandon and Heather Schenck sat with Abby, doting over her as any young couple would with a toddler. But their grief is fresh; they just learned Tuesday that a second miscarriage has touched their family.

Olmsted Medical Center Hospital had a memorial service Wednesday for loved ones who have died. Heather Schenck said she knew as soon as she heard about the ceremony at the medical center's Still Missed Garden that they would attend. Families plant annual flowers as remembrances.

"It's just nice to have something to remember them by," Schenck said. About three dozen staff members, family, friends and presenters gathered to remember.

Olmsted volunteer chaplain Anne Metcalfe read a poem entitled "Willow" about grief and about the willow trees in her hometown that were small but are now full grown.

"Tears will come and go from time to time, and gradually the pain will ease," she said.

As yet-to-open peony blossoms swayed in the breeze, a guitarist sang, "You'll always be a part of me, as I am a part of you, and the afterglow I leave behind will help to see you through."

"Whoever we loved remains with us in our hearts," said Dr. Barbara Loring, a member of the Olmsted Perinatal Loss Committee that planned the memorial. She said people sometimes suggest survivors should let go after a person dies. Instead, she said, it's OK to "lean into" emotions "kind of like waves. Let them take you up, and kind of back down again."

For some, Loring said, Wednesday's event might have been too soon or there might have been too many people. She invited those who are grieving to visit the Still Missed Garden -- to the right of the hospital's main entrance -- when they are ready, possibly at a quieter moment when they can take time to reflect.

"That's always welcomed," she said.

During the remembrance, each child, including Abby, was given a balloon to release. Abby patted hers, and the family spent a few minutes enjoying the balloon and the moment together.

Then Brandon let the ribbon slip through his fingers, and the balloon went up and over the building. Parents had been told to let their grief release with the balloons.

Heather and Brandon watched as the balloon climbed high in the sky and turned their heads upwards again as the service continued. Later they planted dahlias in memory of babies who were never born.

"This will be a really beautiful way to remember them by," said Heather Schenck.

Source: http://www.postbulletin.com/newsmanager/templates/localnews_story.asp?a=294478&z=2


Anonymous said...

Hi. Sorry I couldn't find another way to contact you. I stumbled upon your blog and found this article. I am Heather, the woman interviewed for this article. I'm just curious how you came upon this story. I am so surprised that people have been interested in hearing my story. There are so many women out there who have suffered many more losses than my husband and I have and we have been overwhelmed by the responses we have gotten after this story ran in our local paper.

Please feel free to contact me at spartangirl320@yahoo.com Thanks!

Catherine McDiarmid-Watt said...

I am so sorry for the loss of your precious babies, what a wonderful way to remember & honour them.

I found your story while I was doing a Google search on miscarriage. It seemed an important one to share. Thanks so much for how you are helping others who've experienced loss.