This morning marked a significant day for Wings of Hope as the central monument was put in place, just the day before our first Evening of Remembrance. It seems surreal that just over a year ago our small committee sat together, pouring over ideas and images for how this memorial site should look, and how it could best serve the community.
As if someone pressed the "fast forward" button, I stood this morning at the site and watched as the monument, carved by Tom Miller, was set in place. Also set in place was one giant step forward in support for families in the community who lose children in pregnancy. We can't express our heartfelt thanks enough for those who have worked with us to make this day a reality - Terry Miller who has been a guiding hand, Kevin Satre at Mankato Mortuary for joining us in the journey, and Tom Miller, whose artistry brought our hopes to reality. - Chris O
Last night when I stopped by the Wings of Hope memorial site to check on the new fence, I was met with a bittersweet surprise. The first of the pavers had been engraved, and among them were my own and those of my family. As I circled the walkway, reading the names, sentiments, and remembrances, the tears fell as I was struck with a mix of emotions.
Names of babies loved and lost. Some lost decades ago and some achingly recently. Words of comfort from community members. Yet these words on the pavers are more than just carvings in stone. They are steps in healing for women, for families, and for a community as we come together to find a way to support each other in pregnancy loss. They are reminders that we are not alone, and that the lives of our babies lost in pregnancy are still cherished.
- Chris O., Wings of Hope Chair
[NOTES: There are more pavers completed than pictured, and there are still pavers to be engraved. If you would like to know if your paver has been engraved, please send me a note with the description of the paver - I have pictures of all completed pavers. We will update you here when all of the orders have been engraved. There are also still pavers available for engraving. All proceeds go to pay for the central monument, which we hope to have installed next week, and for the costs related to Wings of Hope services.]
As the Wings of Hope committee continues to plan and prepare for the Evening of Remembrance, we are reminded of the generosity of the community of Southern MN. In less than a year we have gone from a bare plot of ground at the cemetery to planning for the first burial and remembrance service - the circle of the monument site representing this full-circle moment. And none of this would be possible without the support from the community.
An example about this support comes in the way of flowers - but it is much more than just flowers. Hilltop Florist and Greenhouse will be donating white carnations for each family who wishes to recognize their children lost in pregnancy. During our Evening of Remembrance these families will be invited to place a flower at the burial urn, and say the name of that child if they wish. Each carnation will represent the life of a cherished child, and will provide an opportunity for some of these families to, for the first time, publicly recognize that significant loss.
At the entrance to the memorial site we have two pillars, and in preparation for the Evening of Remembrance, a family touched deeply by the grief of pregnancy loss is donating two beautiful planters to rest atop these pillars and welcome visitors to the site. So when you go to the memorial site, you'll see not just the flowers, but symbols of love and support - in memory of the Demuth 9.
These are more than just donations of flowers. The generosity of Hilltop Florist and Greenhouse is a demonstration of the kind of community support that we need and so appreciate, a way of embracing all of those in the area affected by pregnancy loss. The generosity of the family donating in memory of the Demuth 9 reminds us all that in grief we can rise to help lift others. These flowers are hope.
Thank you to all who have donated time, money, and resources to help support families of Southern MN who have experienced pregnancy loss - and for a future in the area where those who experience this type of loss will feel embraced by our community.
The members of our committee have all been on the journey of pregnancy loss, but in different ways. Learn more about why they are all so passionate about bringing awareness and comfort to families who lose a child during pregnancy.