Today, October 15th, is National Pregnancy & Infant Loss Remembrance Day. Tonight, here in Danville, Sunset Funeral Homes hosted a memorial service for families that have lost tiny, precious babies. I was blessed to share my testimony, as I have done for several years now.
The service was brief, solemn, and bittersweet. There were parents and grandparents, even young siblings. Some families have been there before, showing that it takes time to heal from the loss of a child. My son, Gabriel, would be 19 years old if he was still alive on this earth. He would be a freshman in college...or perhaps he would have joined the Navy like his dad and grandfather.
Every child conceived is very real, made in the likeness and image of God. I believe these innocent babies have souls which now reside in heaven, eternally alive! But while there is great joy in this realization for me, I know that many families are facing their grief with fresh tears. Even when we say good-bye to adults, even when we trust they are in "a better place," there is a natural feeling of loss. Whether someone lives for 33 weeks in the womb, like Gabriel, or for 101 years, each life impacts someone! That is because every person matters! Every life matters! Oh, that our culture would believe this to be true!!
As I was getting ready to leave, a young dad came up to me, to thank me for sharing my story. His wife had twins, born prematurely. One is still surviving, the other one is gone. I could tell the grief is still very raw, so I hope I offered just the right words...whatever those are. Yep, 19 years of sharing my story...but everyone's story is different. The "right words" are hard to find. But trust me. The presence of a friend, the hugs from family, the permission to grieve can make a huge difference.
If you have lost a child through miscarriage, stillbirth, infant death, or abortion, please know that it is okay to feel sadness and emptiness. I encourage you to name your child. Remember your child. Count your child. Every child matters.
After all, as I often say... Gabriel is the little boy who made me a mommy."
And his mommy, I'll always be.