9-15 October is Baby Loss Awareness Week. On Tuesday 15th October, Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Day, bereaved parents can commemorate their babies' brief lives and take comfort from knowing that they will join thousands of others around the world. Simply light a candle at 7pm and leave it burning for at least 1 hour. As each time zone reaches 7pm, this will create a continuous wave of light around the world. Wherever you do this, you will be joining a global ‘Wave of Light’ in memory of all the babies who lit up our lives for such a short time. Always loved, never forgotten.
This was our second Facebook 'wave of light' where people were invited to post their own candle photographs. It was an amazing night, thank you so much to everyone who shared their own wave of light with us or who stopped by to share the feeling of comfort, of not being alone in their loss. Lovely too to see so many FB pages and groups sharing their own wave of light.
Guernsey held their own Wave of Light service at Forrest Church and by all accounts and photos shared, it was a beautiful service.
Hospital Baby Remembrance Candle Lighting Service, Sunday 29th September, at All Saints Church, Parade Gardens, St Helier, Jersey at 3pm. Remembering our precious babies. All are welcome. This is organised by the Hospital Chaplaincy xxx
A new school year, a poignant reminder for those of us who have lost our baby. We will never experience that special first day milestone, our 'baby' looking so grown up in their new uniform, or maybe starting secondary school or university. For those of you who don't get to make these memories with your precious child, remember you are not alone in your loss nor your feelings, and I wish you a gentle day xxx
Thank you to Hill Engineering in Guernsey who have one of our collecting tins and badges (min £1 donation please). They are located in Les Grand Marais on the site of the San Lorenzo Garage. They also do very cheap petrol and lots more besides! Thank you again!
A big thank you to the Mums (and maybe Dads) who attend Baby Sensory Jersey who raised £34 buying our badges and the staff of Jersey Maternity who raised £30. Thank you so much!
When we first started Philip's Footprints and were a little budget conscious, we included a little favour box to hold precious items. We have been able to upgrade this and now offer a 4" box that matches the memory box and is just the right size to hold the candle, ceramic remembering heart with space for a few other precious things.
If anyone has received a memory box from us and would like one of these, and/or a candle, please message me (there is no charge).
Also, a big THANK YOU to Jane James Coastal Ceramics who are now donating the ceramic remembering hearts to us. Jane makes small numbers of the hearts at a time, so the inner and outer hearts come from the same piece of clay. What a lovely thought.
Another difficult day if you have lost a baby (or your own father) is Father's Day. Especially difficult when you have no living children as many do not see you as a father. This one is for you, Dads xxx
A Father's Grief
It must be very difficult
To be a man in grief,
Since "men don't cry"
and "men are strong"
No tears can bring relief.
It must be very difficult
To stand up to the test,
And field the calls and visitors
So she can get some rest.
They always ask if she's all right
And what she's going through.
But seldom take his hand and ask,
"My friend, but how are you?"
He hears her crying in the night
And thinks his heart will break.
He dries her tears and comforts her,
But "stays strong" for her sake.
It must be very difficult
To start each day anew.
And try to be so very brave -
He lost his baby too.
5 years ago today, June 1st 2008, 3 months after we lost Philip, we took the decision to go public with our very painful loss and created Philip's Footprints. To date we have given about 100 boxes to Jersey families and 70 to Guernsey families (data protection prevents us from knowing which families we have helped). We have also just donated our mini memory boxes for early 2nd trimester losses.
In addition, we have set aside £5,000 towards the renovation of the family room (away from the bustle and noise of the labour and post natal wards). This was held back pending some planned restructural work at Jersey Maternity however the plans for a new hospital - even though many years away - have scuppered this so it's back to plan A.
On a personal note, I have been touched by the kindness of friends and strangers, honoured that people have shared their stories and I thank all of you for your donations and support xxx
Mini memory boxes donated to Rayner Ward (Jersey's gynae ward). There are also mini memory boxes in Guernsey. They include 2 teddies, an angel wrap, blanket, inkless hand and footprint kit (not shown), ceramic 'remembering hearts' (not shown), candle, pin badge and contact details and a camera memory card. We have donated a camera. Rayner Ward provide the leaflets shown below.
Jersey's Rayner Ward support and information leaflets. Rayner ward deal with first and early second trimester miscarriages.
Our latest addition to our memory boxes, a beautiful personalised candle that reads "Cradled for moments, Loved forever, Cherished always and Forgotten, Never" and on the reverse "You are not alone, with love from Philip's Footprints". They are packed in a little organza bag and tied off with some tiny white roses.
Our other latest addition to our memory boxes, ceramic Remembering Hearts "May you find comfort in remembering there remains an unbroken connection between you and your baby".
Wrapped in a little white organza bag. The tiny heart is left with the baby and the large heart is a keepsake for their parents.
The death of a child is a very sad time indeed and whilst there may be months and maybe years to make memories, it will never be enough. Last month, I was honoured to be invited to Jersey's children's ward, Robin Ward, to discuss what we provide in our memory boxes with a view to helping them create their own for the rare occasion it is needed.
Following this meeting, we have given Robin Ward some empty memory boxes, inkless hand and footprint kits and 'remembering hearts' and to this they can add items suitable for the age of the child. I hope that this will give parents some small comfort by making final memories of a beloved child and not having to leave with empty arms.
In memory of Matt's baby son Edward, he (left) and friend Tom ran the Warwick half marathon for Philip's Footprints. They completed it in under 2 hours, in heavy freezing rain. Tom's work also has a 'match it scheme' for charity fundraising which has raised another £600, bringing the total to £2,795. What an amazing achievement! Thank you so much!
March 15th - Philip would be 5 today. We have few tangible memories of that shell-shocked day when we heard the words "I'm sorry, there's no heartbeat". But thanks to your support we can keep giving memory boxes so that bereaved parents can make as many memories as possible, in the short time available. This is so, so important in those early days when you walk away from Maternity with empty arms. "Those that we held in our arms for a little while, we hold in our hearts forever" xxx