HEALING HEARTS: Members of the Comfort and Support After Loss Committee organized the event. From left, back row, Haywood-Baxter; Kathryn A. Beauchamp, RN; Clorinda Cottrell, LCSW; Brenda Miller, RN; Catherine Harris, RN; April Kim, RN. Front row, Melissa Anne Whitty, CCLS; Nancy Leventhal, LICSW; Zuckerman; Kate Stakes, RN; Leslie Kerzner, MD; and Jamie Lee Rossi, CCLS
“The tragedy of losing a child is like no other,” said one parent. “It is an inexplicable, inconceivable event,” added an MGH obstetrician. Both were speakers at the 20th annual MassGeneral Hospital for Children (MGHfC) Neonatal, Pediatric and Obstetric Memorial Service held Nov. 6.
“The service is dedicated to MGH families who have experienced the death of a child, whether an infant or adolescent,” says Fredda Zuckerman, LICSW, of MGH Social Services, who moderated the event. “Many families and staff return year after year to participate.”
The service included touching remarks from several clinicians, including Phoebe Yager, MD, of the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit, Susan Caffrey, RN, nurse director of Labor and Delivery, and Anjali Kaimal, MD, of the Vincent Department of Obstetrics & Gynecology; a prayer led by MGH Chaplain Ann Haywood-Baxter, MDiv; and the personal stories of parents who described the pain of their loss and the gradual healing process.
After a musical performance by Lorrie Kubicek, MGHfC music therapist, accompanied by Kimberly Khare, parents, families and friends participated in a naming ceremony and were given pewter hearts and daffodil bulbs to plant in memory of their children. Each family held a lit candle and shared a moment of silence and then hung decorated pieces of fabric that will be placed in an annual memorial scrapbook.
Following the service, a reception was held in the East Garden Room, where families had the chance to reconnect with their child’s providers and share their experiences with other families.
Read more articles from the 12/09/11 Hotline issue.