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Families come together to honor babies no longer with us, support one another

Families come together to honor babies no longer with us, support one another
Nearly two years ago, MaryBess Gordon left the hospital just one day before the annual Shining Light Memorial for Pregnancy and Infant Loss event. She so badly wanted to participate, but she was recuperating from postpartum preeclampsia that occurred after a C-section in which little Maggie was stillborn at 36 weeks.

“We think about Maggie every day and say her name every day,” she said. Unlike some families who do not know why their baby does not survive, it was clear to Gordon’s care team that Maggie succumbed to an umbilical cord incident. “It was just one of those unfair things. We had such great care at that time and since then we have been trying to do our part to help out.”

The Gordons – now with 6-month-old twins Owen and Annie – will participate in this year’s event to remember a pregnancy loss – miscarriage, stillbirth or infant - from 7 to 8 p.m. Oct. 15 at the Shining Light Infant Memorial Garden. Anyone is welcome to attend the event in person and those 2 years of age or older are expected to wear their protective face covering. Those unable to wear face coverings or who choose to remember in private may connect virtually through a livestream link at Participants may register through the same link to have their baby’s name recited at the event.

Speakers will be Jessica and Patrick Wolff, parents who experienced loss and sponsored a bereavement/consultation room in the neonatal intensive care unit at Carle Foundation Hospital in Urbana. Thanks to generous support from the Carle Health Center for Philanthropy, this event remains free and open to all.

“In a time when we have felt especially isolated in our grief, this event is an important time to come together to remember the babies we’ve lost. It is open to anyone who is grieving the loss of a baby or a pregnancy, in any stage of their grief.” Rachel Campbell, RN, Labor and Delivery and perinatal grief and bereavement liaison at Carle, said.

“No one wants to experience the loss of a child. When the unthinkable does happen, we want to help parents through this awful experience,” Tiffani Dillard, MD, Obstetrics and Gynecology said. “Their child’s life, at any stage of existence and no matter how brief, was important and we want to acknowledge that they were loved.
That is what this memorial is about. It is a yearly reminder that someone special was once here and is missed. Hopefully in some small way this will let parents know that we care.”

Gordon said, “It’s such a wonderful event.” Her family visits the garden regularly and remember Maggie on a garden bench they donated in her name. They also have a blood drive for family and friends to honor Maggie.

“You’re never whole, but you do heal,” she said.

Visitors to the Shining Light Infant Memorial Garden will find the garden beautifully decorated during the week of Oct. 11. The garden is visible from W. Church Street near Park Street. Visitors may park in the north parking garage near the hospital. The garden is made possible by generous donations to the Carle Health Center for Philanthropy.

Join the event livestream link at


Categories: Culture of Quality, Community

Tags: Giving, Infant, Loss, Philanthropy, Pregnancy