By Mrs. Brandy Gill (Army Medicine)December 3, 2012
FORT HOOD, Texas -- Carl R. Darnall Army Medical Center Department of Ministry and Pastoral Care will host a Day of Remembrance Ceremony Dec. 6 at 3:30 p.m. in the CRDAMC chapel as part of an ongoing fetal demise bereavement support group effort.
The loss of a child could easily be described as the most traumatic event any parent can experience, Chaplain (Cpt.) James Russell, a CRDAMC chaplain, said.
"Many times it is associated with long lasting spiritual, psychosocial and emotional effects. Many parents may have very limited exposure to death especially the death of their child. Typically parents exhibit fear, confusion, and they want answers on what to expect, what services are available and the ultimate question of why," Russell said.
According to Russell, the ceremony, which will include a candle lighting, poem reading and balloon release, offers parents a safe place to express the thoughts and feelings associated with their loss, as well as provide a sense of comfort.
"It is our hope that we can help these family members get through what is one of the most stressful events a couple could ever go through," he said.
According to the Center for Disease Control 2006 National Vital Statistics Report, approximately six pregnancies (greater than 20 weeks gestation) in 1000 will result in a fetal demise.
That number doesn't account for pregnancy losses that occur before 20 weeks gestation.
Those losses can be just as painful, Maj. Dorene Owen, a CRDAMC maternal child health clinical nurse specialist, said.
"CRDAMC has one of the busiest Labor and Delivery units in the Army Medical Department. Since we are privileged to witness so much new life and happiness, we also experience the fact that there are and will be pregnancy and infant losses," she said. "It is our goal as providers and nurses to give comfort and care to all patients and their family members. We strive to make a sorrowful experience one in which families can find hope and comfort in the midst of sadness and tragedy."
The ceremony has evolved as part of an ongoing Infant Loss Support Group which meets in the hospital classrooms above the Emergency Department every first and third Thursday of the month at 3:30 p.m., Owen said.
"Our loss group consists of mothers and fathers who have either had infertility issues, a miscarriage, a second trimester fetal loss, a full term demise, or lost an infant. The one thing that they all have in common is the need to share their experiences and connect with others that have been through similar trying times. This is extremely healing and our group has formed bonds that are considered tighter and closer knit than one's own family. The group is also supported by the hospital's chaplain service and our social workers here at CRDAMC," she said.
All members of the Fort Hood community are invited to attend the ceremony, which will be followed by light refreshments in the CRDAMC Dining Facility.
To learn more about the CRDAMC Infant Loss Group or the Day of Remembrance Ceremony you can contact Chap. Russell at (254) 553-1853 or Maj. Owen at (254) 287-3489, or visit the Fort Hood Pregnancy and Infant Loss Support facebook page.
-- 30 --