Sunday, December 23, 2007

Some people don't get to be Vintage!

I started this blog with the thoughts of dealing with aging. At the ripe of age of 59 (which is the new 39) I have come to grips with the fact that I will never have a 26 inch waist again, nor will I be able to dance until dawn. 10:00 usually sees me sound asleep.

But something happened this week that made me think of the very young and the effects of birth as it relates to aging.

My darling hubby works for a funeral home and is very sensitive to the grief and wonder that is death. When one of our older family members passes over, it is often sad but the family feels blessed to have had years with their parent, sibling or friend. When an accident or illness takes a contemporary or a young person, it is even more tragic.

But when a tiny little baby is prematurely stillborn and never experiences the things we take for granted; a mother's touch, a father's laugh, the lick of a dog, sunshine on your face or snow, it can absolutely break the heart of the toughest of us.

Quite frequently (in our small town, anyway) these infants are born to families who are extremely young, extremely under financed and who often are borderline legal with no family support.

One of the saddest parts of arranging for the burial of such a tiny infant, is that there is no clothing available. This presents a problem to hospitals with premie wards, all over the country, and there are website devoted to supplying this tiny doll size clothes for babies to wear while in the incubator. But those needs are different.

An infant in an incubator needs clothing to allow for IV's and diapers and a certain amount of movement and handling. The tiny angels do not have those needs. They simply need to be clothed as prettily as possible. All mothers want their children well dressed and especially for that final crossover.

What I'm trying to explain is that there is a need for "something special". I found some sites that offer these things but they are extremely expensive. So I put out a request on a couple of private groups I belong to and the response has been amazing.

The offers of help have been overwhelming. And some members are even sending things to each other to accomplish this task. Some are sending patterns and materials to others who sew, crochet or knit.

What I hope to do is establish a collection of varied size doll size clothing that is appropriate for these tiny infants so that when the need arises here in my community, we will be prepared and not have to scramble to find something for these babies and their families.

I just wanted to share my thoughts and my gratitude to my wonderful friends for stepping up to the plate to help those less fortunate. For some reason today, my arthritis is hurting less and I've got a bit of spring in my step again. Still don't think I can dance until dawn though.


BigAssBelle said...

what a wonderful thing to do. i have been involved in the burials of many children, from infants just a few days old to 16-17 years old. because of the nature of my involvement with those children, the families rarely had resources and most certainly, those tiny babies who died were most often born to those least able to provide for them.

we had funeral homes in this big city i live in who would bury the children at no cost; but finding something appropriate for burial of that precious child was always difficult.

i salute you for your efforts!! good for you and those who have helped.

CEMETARIAN We Dig Memories said...

Yes, Belle, our particular funeral director often does pro bono burials (or below cost) for these unfortunates and I just wanna help what little I can.

My Jewel's Blog said...

What a wonderful and loving thing to do.

Judy said...

What a nice idea. Would be great to see it spread to other communities too.

mynamescheri said...

I was very touched by reading your post in the forum we belong to and gave it much thought through the night. This morning, when my husband awoke, I told him of your plans and how I felt he and I should check with the local funeral home here to see if they also had such a need. After contacting a friend who assured me that she could make bereavement gowns for such tiny babies, my husband told me that however much I could financially contribute towards purchasing some, he would double that amount. I also, hope your idea spreads and if anyone would care to contact me for the name of the seamstress, Id be glad to hear from you. What a wonderful seed you've planted, Rita!

CEMETARIAN We Dig Memories said...

How wonderful Cheri. Maybe we can get a National Movement going.........these sweet babies families shouldn't have to bear a financial burden on top of everything else..........

Hoardmeister said...

I second Belle, what a wonderful thing to do. There are no other words. You are truly a fabulous woman.

Gabrielle said...

I really enjoyed your site and your sentiments. I can't imagine the overwhelming grief of losing a child and adding insult to injury in not being able to clothe them. I think that your efforts are valiant!

Myra said...

We buried a premature infant nearly 6 yrs ago that was less than a pound. We couldn't find clothes, of course, and under a few days constraint, the best we could do was my MIL made a satiny blanket for him to be wrapped in. Doll clothes-sized would be excellent, even if it is just a long kimono sacque (like on the old layette patterns) and is tied on.