Remembering the ‘little angels’
“I don’t think my wife even had a chance to hold the little one in her arms. He was whisked out of her sight…there was a coldness there,” said Daryl, who has requested we use only his first name.
Daryl was speaking of the Melbourne hospital in the late-1970s where he and wife Jocelyn lost son Peter who was stillborn.
“Though [that was over] 40 years ago Peter has been with us all the time,” he said.
Daryl was one of many parents, relatives and friends who gathered last Friday evening in Canberra to remember their “little angels”.
Every year St Benedict’s Mission Centre at Narrabundah holds a healing Mass for those who have suffered infant loss, including babies lost to miscarriage, abortion, stillbirth or who have otherwise died in infancy.
This year’s Mass was celebrated by Frs Baiju Thomas, Rembert Fernando and David Tremble.
Event coordinator Carmel Henry says the Mass provides an opportunity for parents and family to grieve the loss of a baby in the womb and to light a candle in their memory, along with leaving a short prayer or letter for them at the altar.
Carmel has had three miscarriages which she describes as her “three beautiful angels in heaven”.
Robyn* who came to pray said there had been “lots of babies lost in my family. I’ve had a miscarriage and a stillborn baby, and I’ve had daughters who’ve had miscarriages.
“And one of my daughters had an abortion, which she’s never fully come to accept. She hasn’t grieved for that baby.
“I remember her and I remember that child, and I just pray the grace of God to bring healing into that situation.”
Fr Thomas said in his homily there were no pious words of comfort he could offer to those present as what they had experienced was beyond words to express.
Instead, “we all have gathered here to weep with you as you weep,” he said.
“And we pray with you as you pray.”
*Not her real name.