Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Any suggestions?

I have a meeting with my priest tomorrow afternoon to talk more about my idea for a Mass/liturgy/prayer service for babies lost to miscarriage, stillbirth and perinatal death.

If anyone has any suggestions at all for such a service, please e-mail me or leave me a comment here with your thoughts. I have some ideas I want to run by him, but I would love to hear from anyone who has been to such a service or helped organize one.

And if you've never been (I haven't either, by the way - I'm flying by the seat of my pants here) but, as a bereaved parent, know what you'd like to see and experience a ceremony dedicated to your lost children, please feel free to share that too. Every little bit of information will help me to present the very best possible plan to my priest tomorrow and, I hope, make for a very healing and memorable service.

Thanks so much.


Lori said...

I am, unfortunately, no help at all with suggestions/ideas, but I would really love to see what other people think. I have been thinking about approaching my minister to do something similar, and so I would welcome this input as well.

Mad Mommy said...

I wrote a long comment, so if you got it via e-mail or something, disregard this. But in case you didn't, let me give it another go:

We had a Quaker-style meeting for our stillborn son. For real Quakers, it would mean no officiant, everyone sitting in silence, and only if someone feels led by the spirit do they stand up and speak. Of course, for non-Quakers, the silence can be daunting, and you run the risk of the sort of people who ALWAYS feel they must talk anyway feeling the same way in the service (which of course is not the same thing as receiving divine inspiration, but given the opportunity those people have trouble telling the difference).

So what we did for our son's memorial (and for our own wedding, btw) is to send notices in advance, explaining how the service would work, and suggesting anyone who wanted to contribute prepare in advance. I spoke first, my husband spoke last, and in between various people read letters to our son, poems they had written, song lyrics, and scriptures. A few people spoke from their hearts, and a musician friend played a classical piece on his guitar. It was personal and perfect (as such an event can be).

This idea could be adapted to your mass, I think. People who've had losses could be given the opportunity to prepare a contribution; the priest could lead things but it would be relevant parishoners (sp?) who would fill in the blanks. I think it would be especially effective (if that's the right term) for two reasons: it would be more meaningful to the people who need it most if they have a part in it, and being ministered to by people who "get it" will beat being ministered to by people who just feel sorry.

This is a great thing you're doing - good luck with it.

Heather said...

I've never been to anything like that. I just wanted to let you know that I think that you will help a lot of people. I'm sure there are people still grieving who need this. I think you are amazing.

Abby said...

A fairly simple idea, so you've probably already thought of it, but you asked for suggestions, so here you go...

I think it could be meaningful and eye-opening to have a special part of the service where anyone who's lost a child can go up to the front and light a candle (or candles) for their child(ren). Turning down the lights during this part of the service could make it an especially quiet and memorable moment.

Good luck with the meeting today. You'll do great! H&S! :)

Anonymous said...

I love Abby's idea and think that would be extremly moving for anyone who has suffered a loss...this is wonderful and will be thinking of all the sweet angels who have left us much too soon.

Beruriah said...

Oh, I'm late to this....I've not been to such a memorial service. I can only imagine individual memorial services. I think the candle idea is wonderful - I was thinking of a moment where parents and family's could say the names of their babies before beginning a prayer, but this may not be supportive of those who lost their babies too early to choose a name.

I hope the meeting went well. Thank you for doing this.

Not on Fire said...

I am not particularly religious but I wanted to pass on something that gave me comfort when I was mourning a miscarriage after IVF. It is an article by Peggy Orenstein about how the Japanese dealing with miscarriage and mourning infant loss.
I hope that it helps you. It helped me.