Every expectant parent longs for The Moment -- the instant the nurse nestles your tiny newborn into your waiting arms.
You touch the baby's soft skin. You marvel at the beautiful wisps of hair, the delicate eyelashes, the tiny fingernails, the perfect lips.
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A Walk to RememberWhy: Proceeds support the Edward Hospital Foundation's SHARE Program, a support group for families touched by miscarriage, stillbirth and early infant death; and the Wings of Hope Angel Garden, which was dedicated at Edward Hospital in June 2010
When: Registration opens at 8:30 a.m. Saturday, Oct. 13; memorial service begins at 9:30 a.m.; walk at 10:15 a.m.
Where: Riverwalk Grand Pavilion, west of Centennial Beach, 500 W. Jackson Ave., Naperville
Cost: Donations accepted
You say hello, and never before has the word been filled with so much love.
But that tender hello moment is also a devastating goodbye for parents who experience pregnancy loss or infant death. They ache for the wisps of hair that won't be cut, the lips that will never say a word, the eyelashes that will never flutter open so the baby can see the world.
They pack a lifetime of love and emotion into a matter of minutes or hours. They bury their baby and then must figure out how to go on.
A Walk to Remember can be a step in parents' healing journey. The event remembers the babies who died and encourages families to honor their all-too-brief lives. In a memorial service before the walk, the babies' names are read aloud and parents are presented with white roses.
Author Monica Murphy LeMoine will serve as the keynote speaker during the memorial ceremony. LeMoine wrote the pregnancy-and-infant loss memoir "Knocked Up, Knocked Down" and "The Tough Girl's Pocket Guide to Surviving Miscarriage and Stillbirth," and founded Exhale, an online literary magazine for pregnancy loss and infertility. LeMoine also will host a literary circle at 7:30 p.m. Friday, Oct. 12, at the Edward Hospital Heart Hospital.
Donations collected at A Walk to Remember benefit the Edward Foundation's SHARE Program at Edward Hospital. The support group brings together parents who have experienced pregnancy loss and infant death so they can help each other accept the hurt and begin to heal. The SHARE program also offers counseling services, assistance with cremation or burial costs, bereavement training and education, and memory boxes to recognize the lost child. Proceeds also will fund additions to and upkeep of the Wings of Hope Angel Garden at Edward Hospital, an outdoor space that was designed to remember the deceased children.
The eighth annual A Walk to Remember, with the theme "Our Healing Journey," follows the memorial ceremony beginning at 9:30 a.m. Saturday, Oct. 13, on the Naperville Riverwalk. Today, three women tell us who they'll walk to remember.
Elizabeth Quinn, Naperville
When Elizabeth Quinn of Naperville was younger, she saw a picture of a man holding a newborn, not in his arms but in his hands. It was a sweet and romantic poster that made women swoon with delight, maternal instincts kicking in full force. Yet, on the night of Aug. 4, 2009, lying there in the delivery room, the image of her husband holding their son, Maddox, in his hands was nothing but devastating. Elizabeth's story.
Amy Murphy, Woodridge
It was March 20, 2009, a day that should have been one of her happiest moments ever. Amy Murphy of Woodridge was excited to bring her daughter McKenzie to her doctor's appointment that morning to listen to her baby brother or sister's heartbeat. Instead of hearing a heartbeat on the Doppler that morning, all they heard was silence, pure silence. Amy's story.
Debra Collins, Woodridge
Nov. 22, 2011, 11:48 p.m., is the exact moment in time Debra Collins of Woodridge felt a love so pure, infinite and breath-taking. A love so unreal it triumphed over any expecting parent's worst nightmare -- losing their child. This was the moment her son, Elias Randall Collins, was born. Debra's story.