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 expect that if I attended one such as this, 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 to me with the idea for a memorial service a few weeks ago. At first, I thought it was a great idea. Let’s 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 both endured nasty, rash, and unthoughtful remarks due to all of this. Some people don’t think before speaking when talking with/trying to comfort someone 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 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 for each of our children.
Deanna and I were talking about the service afterward. Although the loss and hurt are still raw, we both felt a freeing “RELEASE” in our spirits due to the service. I think it helped that friends and family showed up in force. What a fantastic 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 me. As the old hymn states, I can honestly say, “It is well with my soul.”