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Posts Tagged ‘SIDS’

Support is available for bereaved families of pregnancy and infant loss in the Piedmont Triad Area. Heartstrings  is our local non-profit working with families who have lost a pregnancy or baby from conception to one year of age. This is done through a variety of supports designed to help them grieve, mourn, and begin to reconcile themselves to the death of their baby as well as cope with the emotions of a subsequent pregnancy.

The 6th Annual “Walk to Remember” of 2010 was held at Triad Park in Kernersville, NC. Families come to remember their children who briefly came into their lives and forever in their hearts.

The morning was beautiful and perfect for remembering angels.

T-Shirts were provided for the walkers.

Tammy Councilman is our local photographer representing the non-profit, Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep.

Handmade Quilt by families of the babies passed.

The children are missed and remembered.

Every year symbolic ornaments are presented to the parents, which are then hung on a tree while the baby names are read.

This year, a butterfly.

Many sponsors provide refreshments, signs and donations.

Many people walk the 1 mile track to honor babies and their families.

To help those comforting bereaved parents of pregnancy and infant loss, please take a few minutes to answer a few questions to be published within Just a Cloud Away, Inc. Journal. It is only by sharing our experiences, will others know how to comfort those walking in different shoes. We thank you for your time.

Journals are published online at, Read Journals Online.

Peace Love and Hugs from Above

Diana Gardner-Williams  publisher

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Workshop for Families-Creating Love Memorials™ in Greensboro, N.C.

Are pictures sitting in a box with journals, recipes, or other handwritten memorabilia of loved ones passed? Bring your keepsakes to create beautiful works of art with your own hands, where no experience is necessary and all supplies are complementary.

 Just a Cloud Away, Inc. ™ Journal and other local organizations are sponsoring the first Creating Love Memorials™ Workshop for families. Feel free to bring any 2 dimensional papers, fabric or tags to incorporate, whether from a loved one or beloved pet. Professionals will be on site in the craft area to assist children in creating paper keepsakes.

Adults will have the opportunity to design an awareness ribbon for the cause of their choice. Below is a ribbon for a Grandmother with Alzheimer’s Disease.

A Love Memorial™ is a keepsake or sympathy gift, going beyond the typical cards, flowers or food. It is a thoughtful creation showing compassion for each specific situation. Many samples will be provided, including; pressed flowers, metal, jewelry, scrapbooking, woodwork, decoupage, gardens, stone, glass, photography and photo montages. Community resources will provide literature on babysitting classes, support forums, alternative funeral options and more. Also joining us are local animal rescue groups with adoptable pets. Our fire and police departments will share safety tips.  After school food and beverages will be served. Energy work sessions will be offered, and music performed by Jennifer Cockman during the workshop.

Thursday September 23rd

2000 East Wendover Ave. from 3-6pm

 Bring and share your own memorial keepsakes. These may be an inspiration to someone else.

Come and meet our resources (click for more information)

More resources include

  • Ameriprise Financial- planning for the future
  • Colonial Life- employee benefits counselor
  • New York Life- life insurance protecting families
  • GDR Credit Solutions- affordable help for those in need of improving credit scores

It is never too late to remember……………..

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Mothers Day is typically a joyous time where mothers are treated like queens by their children. What happens on this day when the children are deceased?

Mothers Day is different for some families.

What could have been, is not.

There are numerous books regarding pregnancy and infant loss from all perspectives. Unfortunately, most people reading them are only those directly affected. If others took some time to look over these resources, when or if a tragic event occurs, they may be the shoulder of comfort for the bereaved parents.

Definition of a mother: a female person, whose egg unites with a sperm, resulting in the conception of a child. Mothers Day is arduous for women who have lost their babies due to society’s view for a day of happiness and appreciation. Many women forego church due to the sadness of not having their child present and unsure whether to stand while being recognized by members. Mothers long for acknowledgement, even if in private.

Tracey Holyfield, founder of Heartstrings, suggests sending a thinking of you email, card, or phone call, recognizing her and her baby. Making donations to Heartstrings, Haven of Hope and Healing or March of Dimes in the child’s memory is another kind gesture.

Tracey purchased stackable rings for her deceased twins and other living children on her first mother’s day. Surviving the first year is twice as difficult because while mothers are grieving, communicating needs to family and friends is also necessary and exhausting.

It is a testimony of love by the numbers of families attending yearly pregnancy and infant loss events each year to remember the babies who briefly stayed.

Bereaved parents are able to compose a quilt square in remembrance of their children.

Some bereaved families will plan the day and exchange ideas with a spouse beforehand. This process may alleviate tension on an emotional day where feelings are easily hurt. Even if living children are present, the family is incomplete and mourning the baby.

Please think about all Mothers on Mothers Day

Peace Love and Hugs

Diana

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Pregnancy and infant loss leave little for parents to cradle, including tangible objects associated with their deceased baby. Early pregnancy losses are known to society as “Silent Grief” because of the misunderstanding of those who have not endured this tragic loss. Even before the positive pregnancy test, parents could hear the words, “Mommy and Daddy, I Love You.”

 

These babies will never be forgotten by the parents who have planned the glorious arrivals. Planting a tree memorial offers visual symbolic growth of their baby, angelversary recognition, and the various phases of healing. If bereaved parents are not in a permanent residence, certain trees will thrive in large transportable containers. The variety of tree differs for each baby due to season, angelversary, gender, birthstone color, and property limitations. Planting tree memorials are considered to be “Green”. Wood was not utilized for a casket, trees produce oxygen and absorb carbon dioxide in addition to lowering temperature, improving ecosystems and positively impacts mood.

 

In zone 7, Greensboro and the surrounding areas,  many trees will thrive including; Oak, Maple, Crape Myrtle, Magnolia, Carolina Silverbell, Japanese Snowbell, Smoketree, Redbud, Fringe Tree, Dogwood, Ash, Cherry, Zelkova and Plum. There are several factors to consider; blooming period, autumn color, mature size, shape of leaves, and more. Planting a strong tree resistant to insect and disease problems is desirable for a long and healthy life.

 A tree memorial sympathy gift can provide the family with new traditions including; yearly family pictures, picnics, decorations and a place for reflection.

Peace Love and Hugs

Diana

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If this subject doesn’t affect you, you are blessed. If a friend or family member looses a baby and you are aware of supportive resources, you may be their angel when most needed. No one ever dreams of loosing a baby, however, 1 out of 4 pregnancies end in miscarriage and 26,000 stillbirths occur in the USA every year.

If the parents have not named the baby, you may want to suggest thinking about this. Even if the loss was an early miscarriage, naming the baby will give them an identity and validation.

What do I do to help a friend who has lost a baby regarding the funeral or memorial service?

If you have not lost a child yourself, it may be very difficult to find the words to comfort them. There is a list found here to help  support your friend. Another list is available regarding, what not to say to bereaved parents.

Some funeral homes offer free memorial service for stillborn babies and give discounts for a funeral. Help them by making these necessary phones calls.

When the parents of the deceased baby have decided to have a funeral or memorial service, they may need additional help from you with the logistics. It is important to involve both parents as much as possible in the decision making. Even though this is a very sad time, this event will be remembered for a lifetime.

Areas of the funeral:

  • Notifying people of the service
  • Location
  • Music
  • Readings, Poems or Stories
  • If a priest or pastor will be present
  • Does the baby need to be baptised
  • Cremation or Burial (small caskets for later miscarried babies are available at Heaven’s Gain)
  • Burial Clothes
  • Container or urn for ashes
  • Headstone or marker
  • Obituary in paper
  • Would the family like flowers or encourage donations
  • Helping to assemble the altar with keepsakes and other memorabilia
  • Contacting Now I Lay Me Down To Sleep if  parents want professional pictures of the funeral and baby after declining at the hospital
  • Choosing an outfit for the baby
  • Donating organs

Remember that the scents of the season, colors, music on the radio, the landscape, the ambiance of the month will all attribute to the memories etched into the minds of the  parents, later triggering thoughts of  their baby.

Usually about the time of the service or funeral (2-5 days after the baby’s death) the mother’s milk will come in if she was further along in the pregnancy. The milk can be donated to save another child’s life. The program is The Breast Milk Project.

Wedding gowns can be donated to the Mary Madeline Project or Heavenly Angels in Need  to make burial gowns for babies that have died. Sewers are also in great need.

Some of the smallest burial gowns were made for 18-22 week old babies.

Here is the Triad, Busy Bee Crafters, a non-profit, volunteer their time sewing, knitting and crocheting. This group, led by Sandra Vernon and has been in place for over 20 years. Some of the garments created are: bereavement pocket or bereavement dress and blanket, and prayer shawls in pastel colors. 

These are some of the logistics family and friends can help organize for the bereaved parents of pregnancy loss or infant death. Having this knowledge could someday be the gift providing a grieving family direction and assistance in a time of devastating grief.

Please feel free to leave additional suggestions and comments.

Peace Love and Hugs

Diana

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No child will say they want to take pictures of deceased babies when they grow up. Tammy Councilman, a native of Greensboro, NC is providing this service. She decided to do so after a simultaneous pregnancy with a friend whose baby did not live.

Because Tammy had not suffered an infant death herself, she searched the internet looking for baby loss support and found Now I Lay Me Down To Sleep. The non-profit offers professional portraiture for bereaved parents of babies born at 25 weeks gestation and greater, stillbirths, terminally ill babies on life support, Sudden Infant Death and can also be prearranged for Tammy or another volunteer to be present in the operating room if the baby’s diagnosis is not positive. Volunteers can come and take pictures during the first 24 hours or later, if the baby is preserved and conditions permit. This service is available even if the parents change their mind about having photographs taken. If this is the case and the funeral home allows, volunteers may photograph the memorial or funeral service at the parents request.

Tammy Councilman has been practicing professional photography for 14 years and volunteering for Now I Lay M Down to Sleep  fulfills a community need while honoring a friend’s deceased baby. Tammy was approved by the organization in September 2006 and had her first call from the hospital June 2007, with assistance. In this case, a baby was going to be taken off life support in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit.

“These are the only images you will have of your child and they will provide comfort by having something tangible. We say very little in the room and strive to take the best pictures of your babies in a sensitive manner,” comments Tammy.

A brochure is presented by the hospital to the parents regarding services from Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep. A signed consent form is needed for the photographer and they will be happy to read for you. A special outfit may be suggested, each family member may have photographs taken, you may change your baby, give them a bath, or just kiss them. If you have out-of-town family, you can ask the hospital to keep your baby until they arrive.  It may take up to 4 weeks to receive a CD of high resolution images and musical DVD slideshow from the session. 2-8×10 portraits will be provided immediately for the baby’s memorial service or funeral.

It is not uncommon for family and friends to make donations to Now I Lay Me Down To Sleep in the baby’s memory.

Tammy Councilman has 3 children ranging from 17 months to 13 years old, a supportive husband and 2 animals, one from an animal rescue. Her hobbies are photography, modern ballet and she is active with the Guilford Interfaith Hospitality Network at, St Paul The Apostle Catholic Church.

This national organization was co-founded by the mother of Maddux, Cheryl Haggard, who lost her son in February 2005. They are always looking for new volunteers for photography, assistance and retouching. Please visit their site for additional information.

Thank you for helping the bereaved parents of our community.

Peace Love and Hugs

Diana

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Heartstrings is a local support group for those suffering from the loss of an infant, pregnancy or stillbirth. Tracey Holyfield, the founder of this much-needed support group, began the organization stemming from her own sorrow.

Every year many volunteers and bereaved families gather together to walk, listen, read and remember the lives of so many babies who briefly stayed with us physically.

Not only is this a special time to remember and honor tiny lives, the money raised helps this non-profit program to thrive and continue to support the families suffering pregnancy and infant loss.

Vendors providing products and services to assist bereaved families also attend the annual walk.

Memorial jewelry to remember the angelversary  birthstone.

Special ornaments with the child’s name are hung on the tree during the brief service.

This year the ornaments were beautifully hand carved from wood.

A bereaved father was able to share a song he composed for his angel playing an acoustic guitar. The area was so quiet and still while he shared the heartfelt words with reference to a snowflake.

Heartstrings has many needs and if you feel you could offer support , please contact Tracey.  An extra pair of ears could be just what a bereaved family needs from you.

Peace Love and Hugs

Diana

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