A time to mourn
She was 80 years old, and a widow. She’d been married for nearly 60 years. She and her husband had had a happy marriage, raised four children, enjoyed life together. Her husband had died 18 months before and she was finding it hard to come to terms with her terrible sense of loss. The pain and grief still seemed just as sharp as they had been when he’d first died.
As she talked about her grief, she began to realise something. She began to realise that she wasn’t only grieving for her husband. She was also grieving for a still-born baby. The memories she’d put to the back of her mind 50 years ago now came back. The baby being born. The shock of hearing that her little boy was dead. Being told by the doctor that she should go home and look after her other children. Keep busy. Forget about this baby. Have more babies.
And she’d done just that. Life had been very busy, and she’d put the painful memories to the back of her mind. But now they were coming back. Now she needed to grieve for her lost child.
The doctor at the time meant well, meant to be kind. But in the event, his advice wasn’t helpful. Nowadays hospital staff generally do a better job of caring for parents who lose a baby. Mums and dads are encouraged to name their child, and if it’s at all possible to take photos or make hand or foot-prints. Hold their baby. Grieve for their baby. But there must be many parents from earlier generations who never had to chance to do that.
This autumn we’re holding a special All Souls service for bereaved parents. So if you lost have a child through a miscarriage, or still birth, or not long after birth, whether that was recently or many years ago, you might like to come along. It will be a quiet reflective service, you won’t be asked to talk about how you feel, but there will be music, prayers and readings and an invitation to light a candle in your baby’s memory.
The date is Sunday November 5th, the venue Saints Church Branston and the time 6.30pm.
PS We’ll also be offering our usual All Souls Services for those who’ve lost someone close in recent years: Thursday November 2nd at 7.30pm at All Saints Church Nocton, and Sunday November 5th at 4.00pm at All Saints Church Branston.