Monday, June 25, 2007

Bellevue's memory garden could be a treasure lost

As the wrangling over the fate of Bellevue Woman's Hospital continues, some former patients fear the closing of the facility will mean losing a connection to babies, lost.

"When you walk up through the archway and you see the brick with your daughter's name, what do you think?"
"Well, I did think and I still I hope to think it'll be there forever and ever,"
says Joanne Ryan, a supporter of Bellevue.

But with the fate of Bellevue Woman's Hospital on the line, this special garden of hope could be lost. The garden is an outgrowth of the new beginnings support group for families who lose a baby. Debbie Chesky, a social worker and now Bellevue's Director of Marketing founded that group after she suffered her second miscarriage.

"This is a cemetery for many people, even tough there aren't any babies that are buried here. This represents that to them and I think it's gonna be devastating for the parents," says Debbie Chesky.

The parents do all the planting and maintenance of the garden.

"I had a late term loss and I am here and I weeded and I planted flowers and I took care of these plants because I couldn't take care of my daughter. This is how I take care of her," said a tearful Joanne Ryan.

Debbie, Joanne and all the other parents whose memories are bound up in this garden fear having to deal with another loss if the hospital closes. There would be no guarantee the garden could survive.

"It's a community; it's so much more than just a hospital. I can't for the life of me understand why they picked this place to close," said Joanne Ryan.


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