HSHS St. Elizbeth’s Hospital recently held a memorial service for parents and family members who have experienced prenatal and infant loss. These commemorative services will be held quarterly to offer comfort, closure and hope to families.
The service was held at Lake View Memorial Gardens in Fairview Heights, which generously donated the location for St. Elizabeth’s memorial stone. The stone is inscribed with the following message: “An angel opened the book of life and recorded my baby’s birth, then whispered as she closed the book, too beautiful for earth,” and “The Lord stood with me and gave me strength.” 2 Timothy 4:17, HSHS St. Elizabeth’s Hospital.”
“With one in four pregnancies ending in loss, we are pleased to be able to offer special memorial services to area families,” said Jessie Mesa, RN, Share Coordinator for St. Elizabeth’s Hospital. “Even though early pregnancy loss is common, the feelings bereaved parents experience after the death of a baby can be overwhelming and intense, as the death of a baby at any stage is very real. Parents not only begin a journey of recovering physically, but also emotionally and spiritually, and our hope is that these memorial services will help in this process.”
“We sincerely thank Lake View Memorial Gardens for their donation to St. Elizabeth’s Share Program to help our grieving families on their healing journey,” noted Reverend Ralph Williams, of the Spiritual Care Department at St. Elizabeth’s Hospital.
Each year there are 900,000 early pregnancy losses, over 26,000 stillbirths, and approximately 19,000 neonatal deaths in the United States. Too often, the grief and loss felt by parents may not be understood or accepted by society. Parents are often expected to simply pick up the pieces and move on – back to “normal” life. Even close friends and family sometimes struggle to understand the depth of emotions bereaved parents may experience which can both strain relationships and unnecessarily prolong the grief process.
St. Elizabeth’s partners with Share, a national pregnancy and infant loss support organization, to best assist families as they navigate losing a child. Share provides support toward positive resolution of grief experienced at the time of/or following the death of a baby. This support encompasses emotional, physical, spiritual and social healing, as well as sustaining the family unit.
To learn more about support services through Share, visit www.nationalshare.org or contact St. Elizabeth’s Share Coordinator at 618-234-2120, ext. 31254.