Each year, about 100 families gather to mourn a loss from miscarriage, stillbirth or neonatal death. The ceremony – open to all families who have suffered loss whether or not affiliated with UK – is a chance to remember and to ensure those children are never forgotten.
“This service provides a way for families to honor and remember their child and to let them know they are not alone in their grief,” said Michelle Steele, chair of the NICU/Labor and Delivery Bereavement Committee. “Many families didn’t have a funeral or service when their infant died through miscarriage or an early loss, and this is a way to help provide that closure and outlet for their grief.”
The event also reunites families with healthcare providers and staff members who provided compassionate care for their child. The walk occurs on Oct. 1 because October is National Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month.
The Walk to Remember includes a craft table for children, a tree planting that includes an engraved memorial plaque, special readings and music, a balloon release, and the walk through The Arboretum.
Families who wish to can write a message to their baby and plant the message with the tree. The tree also includes an inscription and bronze plaque provided by UK HealthCare administration that reads, “In memory of your baby’s life, gone but still cherished. Your baby will always be remembered.”
“The walk has become an important annual event, and some families now come year after year and bring their children they have had since their loss so they can also remember and honor their lost sibling,” said Sandra Mojesky, divisional charge nurse in Labor and Delivery and a longtime committee member. “It is really meant as a time for healing and remembrance, and we hope anyone in the community who has suffered an infant loss will feel welcomed to attend.”
It is not necessary to register for the walk, but those who need additional information may contact the UK Pastoral Care Office at 859-323-5301.
- Learn more about the Level IV NICU at the Kentucky Children’s Hospital.
- The NICU at UK HealthCare is moving into a revitalized space in the spring of 2018. Find out more.