the releasing

Deanna and I had a memorial service for our three unborn/miscarried children yesterday.  It was a unique experience.  I’d never attended a service like this before and didn’t ever expect that if I were to attend one such as this that it would be in honor of my children.

The past few months have been hard on my family.  Deanna miscarried in October and then again in January after hardly recovering from the grief and shock of the first.  Also, Deanna’s first pregnancy, back in 2001, ended in miscarriage.  Holding onto the grief building inside of us both was becoming unbearable and we — especially Deanna — found ourselves falling into despair.

Deanna came at me with the idea for a memorial service a few weeks ago.  At first, I thought it was a great idea.  Let’s just get together with family and mourn.  We needed a release… a way to process this, I thought to myself.  But then Deanna started talking about inviting friends and our church family, too.  Then I started wondering… Would people come?  Would they even understand or acknowledge the pain we’ve gone through?

Not to be insensitive, but we’ve both endured some pretty nasty, rash, and unthoughtful remarks as a result of all of this.  Some people just don’t think before they speak when it comes to talking with/trying to comfort someone who is going through what we were.  We’ve heard everything from “the timing just wasn’t right” to “God just wanted to be with them sooner” to “why were you getting pregnant during this busy time in your life anyways?”  OUCH!

My emotions have gone from hurt, to despair, to love, to anger (yes, at God), to fear (of more loss), and back again.  I’m grieving these babies as I believe any believer would: as if I’ve held them in my own arms (even though I never had that chance).

We named our children: #1, Kodak, #2, Hampton, and #3 Julia.  They are VERY real to me and the loss is also VERY real.

The memorial service went like this:

* Deanna did the WELCOME

* Pearl (Deanna’s mom) introduces the DRUM SONG featuring a local Native American Drum Group

* I sang a solo version of Chris Tomlin’s “I Will Rise”

* MESSAGE by Pastor Scott Wiley of Word of Hope Wesleyan church here in town.  He is the multicultural director at the School of MInes and has been a new friend and pastor to both Deanna and I.  We wish that our pastors, Brent and Tani, could have been here, but since it didn’t work out (they were out of state on vacation) we were so glad that we had Pastor Scott available to share.  He did a great job.

* WORSHIP – I led a short time of worship singing “I’ve Had Questions” by Tim Hughes.

* FINAL WORDS and PRAYER over our family by our friend, Stacey Wollman, the director at the local CareNet Pregnancy Center.

“Over the Rainbow” played as Deanna handed out roses to our parents and we dismissed everyone out to the parking lot where we symbolically released three balloons into the sky (pictured above) for each of our children.

Deanna and I were talking about the service afterwards.  Although the loss and hurt is still raw, we both felt a freeing “RELEASE” in our spirits as a result of the service.  I think it helped that friends and family showed up in force.  What an amazing support system we have!  What amazing people we have surrounding us!

Thank you so much for all of your prayers.  They mean so much to Deanna and I.  I think I can honestly say now, as the old hymn states, “it is well with my soul.”


Shawn Michael

Husband, father, musician, pastor, Internet junkie, and Foursquare District NextGen Rep for the Gateway District

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