Parents to commemorate young lives lost

Walk of Remembrance planned Sept. 30 at Nash hospital

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ROCKY MOUNT — The sixth annual Walk of Remembrance for Steps Never Taken, a celebration of life to honor all children lost to miscarriage, stillbirth or infant demise, is planned for 3 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 30 starting at the Bryant T. Aldridge building on the Nash UNC Health Care campus.

“The Walk of Remembrance is about celebrating the lives of these precious babies, however short they may have been,” said Mary Strickland, director of the Nash Women’s Center. “It’s also a time of fellowship for parents, grandparents, and siblings. Losing a child is one of the most difficult experiences a person can go through, and comfort can sometimes be found in talking with others who have suffered this same loss.”

Registered nurse Karen Joyner, a nurse in labor and delivery at the Nash Women’s Center, came up with the idea for the Walk of Remembrance.

“Each year, there are families who suffer the loss of a baby, and they often grieve in silence,” she said, “Parents with a stillborn baby, or a child who only lived a short time after delivery, will always remember and sometimes even celebrate birthdays or due dates for many years.”

“Friends and family with good intentions sometimes try to console parents, but comments often center on getting over the loss. Instead, most grieving parents prefer to remember and celebrate the child they knew so briefly. Three years after one mother lost her child, she said, ‘Today is my baby’s birthday and nobody remembers him but me.’ Forgetting is not an option and is one of the many reasons we choose to remember these babies and celebrate life,” Joyner continued.

Parents are encouraged to send their baby’s name and birthdate to karen.joyner@unchealth.unc.edu so that it can be added to the honorary banner and read aloud. Families will also be invited to join in for a balloon release.

After the ceremony, everyone is invited to take the short, symbolic walk for “footsteps never taken.” In addition to honoring these young lives, organizers say this event also helps participants more fully appreciate their loved ones and to share their love with family, friends, and all people.

All community members are invited to participate. Refreshments will be served after the walk. Registration begins at 2 p.m. Sept. 30.