Dungarvan lights up with love for babies gone too soon 

October is Baby Loss Awareness month and a leading support organisation for families whose babies lives are all-too short has lit up Dungarvan with a wave of light. 

Vicky Wall, spokeswoman for the support group, Every Life Counts, said that families were “really touched by the love shown by Dungarvan in remembering these precious babies, and giving public witness to the value of each of their lives.”

She said that a special ceremony of remembrance was held which brought families together for a moving, deeply emotional and poignant event to honour every child, and that the additonal public measures which were visible throughout the town “was really very special and meant the world to all the parents who have lost their babies”.

The local Church of Ireland church was lit up in baby loss awareness colours, as was the Dungarvan causeway and Devonshire bridge by the county council. “It was beautiful,” Ms Wall said. “It felt like the whole town had their arms around us, and was saying ‘we know how much you loved your babies and we know how important they were.”

Parents from Waterford, Limerick, Cork and Dublin attended the ceremony in St Mary’s Church where the names of 120 babies adorned hand-made butterflies which were placed on a specially prepared remembrance tree. “All these babies had short lives, but they knew nothing but love,” the Every Life Counts organiser said.

“The name of each one of our precious babies was then read out in the church as part of a beautiful, uplifting service which brought such healing. The church was just filled with love, it was deeply emotional and very special,” Vicky Wall said. “We had a blessing from Reverend Hugh Nugent, Yvonne Gilbert read the letter she had wrote to her son Noah when he passed away, Ann Keegan read a poem for her grandson Jake titled grandparents grieve too, which was such an important mesage. Families hold us up through these very sad and difficult times, we all comfort each other.”

 

“Emma Tobin also spoke about losing her son Ben and how he inspires her every single day, which is something that I think resonated with every parent there. Our children’s lives brought great joy and love and it is our fervent hope that every parent can be supported in pouring a lifetime of love into that too-brief time together,” said Ms Wall.

“Everyone got to talk and to share about their babies and to show photos and talk about their lives, it really was beautiful,” she said. “We are so grateful to the local community too – the bakers who made the gorgeous cakes, the florist who crafted the lovely flowers, it means the world to our families and to all bereaved parents when people show how much they value our children.”

 

Every Life Counts is a national support network for parents whose babies have been diagnosed with a life-limiting condition such as Trisomy 18 or anencephaly. It provides factual information, peer to peer support,  memory-making and much more to families throughout the country and abroad.

The work of the organisation, which is a member of the Bereavement Standards Committee set up by the HSE, was highly praised by those attending the Wave of Light event.

“Such an emotional but amazing weekend in Dungarvan for Every Life Counts Wave of Light. Met the most amazing mammies no doubt their precious babas have become friends with my Jake. So so so proud of Vicky Wall for how she celebrated our precious children she went above and beyond as always,” one mother shared on social media. “And so proud of my own Mammy Ann Keegan the best nanny to my boys for reciting a beautiful poem about a grandparents grief. I know Jake is so proud of his nanny too.”

 

“Back to work and under pressure there today but I will always remember the ELC evening, I feel almost like I went on a long awaited pilgrimage. Even though I never set eyes on anyone there before except you, it felt like a community, and a safe space to take comfort and take time to value all the little babies’ lives and express love for them,” was one heartfelt message.

“The support, education and resources you provide are a Godsend to families at times  when making decisions is so very hard and the medical community isn’t providing the support being sought. Just wanted you to know with every post I see, I thank God for all you are doing,” said one family.

With increasing numbers of midwives and medical experts valuing the support provided, Vicky Wall said the group has never been so busy. See more at  https://www.facebook.com/EveryLifeCountsIreland  and at www.everylifecounts.ie

 

There was a beautiful tree lit up with paper butterflies hanging from it with the name of each child

 

Dungarvan Council lit of the local bridge in blue and pink baby loss awareness colours and the Church that the event was held was lit up in blue and pink

 

 

 

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