RMH will hold its 27th annual Bereaved Parents Memorial Tree Service 7-9 p.m. on Dec. 2 in the first floor concourse.
The Bereaved Parents Memorial Tree Service, held annually on the first Monday in December, is open to anyone in the community who has lost a child in miscarriage, stillbirth or early infancy. It provides an opportunity for anyone who has lost an infant to honor the child’s memory by hanging an ornament on the tree, if they desire.
“The loss of a child is one of the most devastating losses life can bring,” said Nancy Shomo, GC-C, coordinator of Bereavement Services for the Sentara RMH Center for Behavioral Health
. “It is frequently said that the grief of bereaved parents is the most intense grief known. When a child dies, parents feel that a part of them has died, too.”
One in 5 pregnancies end in miscarriage and 1 in 100 end in stillbirth, Shomo said. She added that one in 110 newborns dies within the first 28 days of life. Loss through miscarriage in particular tends to go unacknowledged by friends and family, she noted.
“A lot of times, miscarriage is a loss that’s not recognized,” she explained. “People have a hard time knowing what to say or do. It is gratifying to be able to offer this service to the community acknowledging this is a very real and special loss.”
When the tree is taken down at the end of December, family members may take their ornaments home, or else they are lovingly removed and packed, then safely stored until the next year, Shomo noted.
“This may be your first holiday season dealing with your loss or perhaps you’ve endured others,” she said. “We invite you to attend this special event as we stand together to offer support as we honor the children and remember.”
To attend this special service, please register online
, or by calling RMH Healthsource at 540-564-7200 (855-564-7200). For more information on Bereavement Services at RMH or community support groups for miscarriage, stillbirth or early infant loss, contact Nancy Shomo at 540-433-4427.