Every year Arnold Palmer Hospital and Winnie Palmer Hospital each hold a remembrance ceremony commemorating the children and babies who have died.

It’s a time for parents and families to come and remember their loved ones with us. The names of the children are read aloud, and the family comes forward to light a candle in their memory. We honor their memories through beautiful music and thoughtful words.

Chaplain Mark Bartel

Chaplain Mark Bartel officiated the service for Arnold Palmer Hospital this year. He explains, “We assist families in celebrating their child. There is great power in hearing your child’s name spoken again and seeing their photographs shared on the screen. There is great power in gathering with other parents whose children have also died.”

The ceremony also provides an opportunity for hospital team members to come together to celebrate these children. We have walked hand-in-hand with the family on an incredible journey, and also feel the loss.

Chaplain Bartel says, “These families enriched our lives greatly. It is very helpful for us to see families return having traveled further down the road of loss and grief, doing better, able to smile and thank us for the part we played in their child’s life.”

 

He recalls one of his treasured memories that shows the healing power of this ceremony:

A few years ago, a mother called me and asked how long we keep photographs of newborn babies, for her baby had died shortly after birth. When I asked when her baby was born, she replied, “1970” !

I had to explain that we did not have photos from that long ago, and we had a long discussion about her loss and about how she felt her grief had not gone away, some thirty-five years later.

She and her husband came to our Remembrance Day ceremony the next fall, and she was able to walk forward as her daughter’s name was called. It was one of my favorite moments of any ceremony we’ve done.

For some of these families, it feels like the world has forgotten their little one. But they haven’t forgotten. It helps them to know that we haven’t forgotten them either.

If you mention my child’s name I may cry. But if you don’t mention it, you will break my heart.   -Author unknown

 

2 Discuss

Discuss: Remembering the ones we’ve lost


  1. avatar
    Carolyn Mack says:
    November 18, 2011 at 9:23 pm

    I first met Chaplain Mark when my daughter Meghan was diagnosed with bi-phenotypic leukemia and we stayed on the Hem-Onc floor for weeks at a time. The nurses and doctors on that floor are unbelievable and words can not show my gratitude at what they did for my daughter. Chaplain Mark was so compassionate and tried his best to help us in our time of uncertainty. After Meghan lost her battle in February 2003, we were delighted when we got pregnant again the same year. Unfortunately, we lost our second daughter to Trisomy 18 that December (2003) and much to my surprise, Chaplain Mark showed up that evening to offer his comfort and support. I will be forever greatful to everyone at APH for what they tried to do for my girls. In loving memory of Meghan Marie Mack 7/23/2000- 2/7/2003 and Taylor Delaney Mack 12/19/2003……

  2. avatar
    ronnell hardy says:
    November 19, 2011 at 12:11 am

    My sweet lil Samuel and my little fire Egan,
    With every breath I love and miss you more! I am undone and always broken without you! My sweet boys you will always hold my heart in your tiny little hands, all that touches you, touches me!

    To each of you that cared for my children and carried me through for so long I can never repay you. For every second, minute, hours, days, and months you kept my boys and myself in your love and care. I will always love and remember each of you! Not a day goes by that I don’t think of each of you. With all my heart “thank you”
    Mom Hardy (Patches)

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