By: Jenny Bliley, LCSW, Bliley’s Funeral Home, Guest Blogger
“Sometimes love is for a moment,
Sometimes love is for a lifetime,
Sometimes a moment is a lifetime.”
Over thirty years ago, Bliley Funeral Home created a memorial service called Interment of Angels for families who experience a miscarriage or stillborn loss. The service was originally created because the funeral home recognized a need in the community to help families deal with the very real and unique grief they were experiencing with the loss of their baby. This communal service helps an average of 200 families a year and provides a dignified and healing memorial for these babies. The hope is that this blog post will provide guidance and information on the importance of these services.
“It helped to give us physical closure to a difficult situation.”
Losing a baby at any stage in its development is earth shattering and disorienting for the parents. Parents often feel alone in this process and unsure of how to express their grief. A communal service not only helps each individual parent find healing and closure, but it also provides them with the physical reminder that they are not alone in this grief. They are with other families who are experiencing similar feelings and emotions.
Seeing the infant casket, seeing the baby’s name in the program and on the casket, and seeing the final resting place help the parents know that their loss is real and often validates their feelings.
“So many hopes and dreams perished before they had a chance to become realized and it meant a great deal to me to acknowledge them.”
A memorial service is a time to remember the baby that was so longed for and loved. It is a time for the parents to think about the dreams they had for their baby. Hearing and seeing their baby’s name at the service can be healing. Even if they did not have the chance to see or hold their baby, the parents can honor them with a name and that name has a special meaning to the parents. Memorial services are a safe space to fully express grief and allows the parents to feel all of their feelings.
“What a gift the well thought out service was to each of us and all who were there.”
Losing a baby so early can be very hard for other family members to understand and relate to. They want to support the mother and father, but they often do not know how. Most people do not know what to say or say things that they think are going to be helpful but often are not. Everyone grieves differently and has different needs and coping mechanisms. Being able to have family and friends attend the memorial service can help family/friends feel like they are “helping” the parents. It can also help them recognize the pain and grief the parents are sadly experiencing. It gives the family and friends the time they also need to grieve and express their feelings and sadness over the loss of the baby.
“Words cannot describe how the service touched my heart and my husband’s!”
All lives are precious ad should be honored no matter their length of time on Earth. Memorial services provide this opportunity while allowing space for family and friend to being the important process of healing.
The quotes used in this blog post are from families who attended an Interment of Angels service.