As the weather gets warmer and we prepare for our next Evening of Remembrance, we wanted to take a moment to share information about the pavers at the Wings of Hope memorial site.
There are many tough questions - and answers - families often face when experiencing pregnancy loss. The following are some of the most common questions we hear about the common burial program offered through Wings of Hope. Please let us know what other questions you might have about this program, or other aspects of Wings of Hope. We need your help to make this organization as beneficial as possible for families in Southern MN.
What is a common burial? The phrase common burial in terms of pregnancy loss before 20 weeks gestation refers to burying more than one set of remains together in one burial vault. Babies lost after 20 weeks gestation are not allowed in MN to be buried in the same vault.
What does it cost to participate in the common burial? Wings of Hope, in conjunction with Calvary Cemetery, Mankato Mortuary, and other supporters, help to provide the burial at no cost to families. We rely on donations, paver orders, and fundraisers to support the services of Wings of Hope.
Do I have to buy a paver if I have my child’s remains buried at the site? No. The engraved pavers do offer many families a tangible way to honor the lives of their children. The pavers are also opportunities for family, friends, and community members to help support these families and Wings of Hope.
When are the burials at the memorial site? We currently have them scheduled for twice each year – the 2nd Thursday in May and the 1st Tuesday in October – at 6:00 p.m.
Where are the common burial plots? The plots encircle the central Wings of Hope statue and walkway. They will be marked with the date (month and year) of common burial.
How are my child’s remains buried? If you choose to participate in the Wings of Hope common burial service, representatives from Mankato Mortuary will respectfully place your child’s remains into a burial vault. We have a dear volunteer who sews burial blankets that enclose remains individually. The vault is sealed and then buried after the remembrance service.
*The information presented here are not intended to provide or replace legal or medical advice or regulations.
This is the time of year in Minnesota when we do so much in the dark. Some travel to and from work when it is still dark. If we grocery shop past 4:30 we're unloading those bags in the dark. And even though there might be Christmas lights twinkling in the distance, it can still feel cold, dark, and lonely, especially if you are moving through the holiday season while missing your child.
I encourage you to take a few minutes to stop by the Wings of Hope site in Calvary Cemetery (the gates are open 7 days a week sunrise to sunset). Nestled between evergreens you will find this place of warm remembrance. Bring a cup of coffee or cocoa and sit on the benches. Read the poignant paver inscriptions. Bring a friend and talk about your baby. Most of all, know that you are not alone in your grief journey. As we come together as a community and learn to support each other, we realize that we are not just alone in the dark, and we can be that light for someone else who needs it.
Since the central Wings of Hope monument was revealed, we've had questions about how we decided on the design, and who carved it. When our committee gathered a year ago to plan for the memorial site, we had several goals we wanted to achieve. The central statue - of an infant cradled in wings atop of a tapered pedestal - is the result of months of considering, talking, searching, and even some tears as we felt the emotions of such a memorial site.
We asked ourselves: What do we want the central statue to convey?
After looking at other pregnancy loss memorials, we were struck by how many of them were dark and heavy on the heart. Some were stark squares of dark granite or marble. Others bore images of crying mothers. Many images left us as a committee feeling a foreboding sadness. So it turned out we could more easily identify what we didn't like, and that in turn helped us identify those things we wanted from the monument.
After pouring over pictures and coming up with a list of emotions and ideas we wanted the statue to represent, we gave these to Tom Miller, a local stone artist who we were confident could pull our "wants" into a reality. He did not disappoint.
The central pillar rises up - for some perhaps representing a heavenly direction or to others an uplifting sense of hope. The wings offer a soft, protective home for the child who has been lost. Some see angel wings, others a soft cradle for this child who cannot be cradled by a parent. Some have said the shape of the wings remind them of gentle tears. And then there is this child. Perfect and peaceful.
It is our desire that each person who visits the memorial site is able to experience the peace of the statue and the hope that it offers. A special thanks to Tom for patiently listening to our words, understanding our hearts, and bringing it all together with his artistic talent.
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.