In 1988 President Ronald Reagan declared October to be Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month. Not that it was to be a month of collecting money to find cures. The reasons for losing babies in the womb and soon after are endless. The awareness is in the fact that these babies are loved and remembered by their families and friends. It's a time to reflect on their short lives and what they mean to us and how they changed us forever.
MEND (Mothers Enduring Neonatal Death) is an organization for families who have been or are going through these exact circumstances. It's a Christian non-profit group based mostly in Texas, though it seems they are growing, and they are on facebook for support. This event was sponsored by MEND and paid for by many businesses in the area. I didn't realize it, but they did one in Dallas and Houston on the same day. This was the 16th annual Walk to Remember in Dallas and the first time we have ever been involved.
Captions below photos to explain the progression of the afternoon.
Me (Mama) & the most amazing husband (Big P)
Mom, C (16), Big P, P (13), B (8) below P, Kimbo, Brady (my BIL),
L (6), N (21 months), A (4), J (in the carrier, my nephew - 2 weeks)
There was a walk from the church to the field. Firemen in kilts
played drums and bag pipes. It was beautiful.
Some of the kiddos.
Daddy and N
Kimbo & Mom (we were freezing. The temp
had dropped and it was so windy.)
Each family received an ornament for each child they
had lost. One for our baby born/died April 6, 2007 and one for
Jaron born/died May 17, 2012. The walk was held 2 days
after Jaron's due date, which was October 4.
Every baby's name was called and each family got up to hang
their ornaments on this tree. The tree was covered with ornaments
as far up as people could reach. Most families who had lost multiple
children strung the ornaments onto each other and hung one
on the tree branch. It was beautiful and sad.
Nicole Sponberg of Selah came and sang a couple of songs and spoke.
She lost her son at 2 1/2 months (I think diagnosis was SIDS). She shared her story with all of us.
We then prepared for a balloon release. I think 1400 balloons were
filled in preparation of this event. Blue for boys, pink for girls, and white
if you did not know the gender of the baby. Each of our family
members got 1 blue and 1 white balloon to release. Some of
us wrote the babies name on the balloon and a little message.
Then we let them go. It was one of the most amazing silent statements
I have ever heard in my life. Our babies are loved and remembered.
We were near the airport, but this is where they have been doing
the celebration for years, so I guess it was okay.
There were many tears and smiles. It couldn't be helped.
I miss the babies I will never hold again, but will one day see.