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Parents remember lost children

LaGRANGE – Mothers, fathers, brothers and sisters gathered together on Tuesday night to remember the children who left this world too soon at the 11th annual Angel of Hope Ceremony in front of WellStar West Georgia Medical Center.

LaGrange’s Angel of Hope statue was dedicated on Dec. 6, 2005, and local parents have gathered to remember their children at the statue on that day every year since. The statue itself is based on an angel statue that was dedicated in 1994 in a Salt Lake City cemetery that was based off of the story “The Christmas Box.”

“Each of us brings our own memories, but the common thread that unites us is the loss of our children that left us too soon,” said Kathy Reyes. “It is only in this community with others who share this warmth that we can find renewal. … No one can know the places your heart has been, but the walk of a grieving parent is a journey we all share here tonight.”

Life is forever changed for parents who lose their children, but some of the parents present searched for meaning within their loss.

“We decided, in lieu of flowers that we would just ask people – that wanted to do or give something in memory of Clint – that they would donate for a respirator that we would keep at the hospital and keep it in the nursery where Clint was at first,” said Sherry Hart. “… It was about nine months after Clint died, and I got a phone call from… (the nurse in charge of the nursery) and she said, ‘Sherry, I just had to tell you that Clint’s respirator came in yesterday afternoon.’ And I said, ‘Oh, really? I am so glad.’

“And she said, ‘Oh, no. You don’t know how thrilled you are. Yesterday afternoon it came in, and we got it all set up and everything. And this morning Dr. Fluke was delivering full term twins that were supposed to have no problems whatsoever, and when the twins were born, neither one of them could breathe on their own. And if Clint’s respirator had not come in when it did – yesterday afternoon – we would have had to make a decision on which child lived, and which child died.’”

Because of the respirator bought on Clint’s behalf, countless children were saved at the hospital. Other parents have gained a community of understanding with their loss that is irreplaceable in their time of sorrow.

“Each of us is all here tonight because we all know too well that not all grief is equal,” said Angela Burdette. “The death of a child is a sorrow that is so deep, and a pain that is so intense that it is almost beyond words.”

Another memorial for parents of lost children will be held on Monday, Dec. 12 at 6:30 p.m. at Advent Lutheran Church, 1416 Vernon Road.

Reach Alicia B. Hill at alicia.hill@lagrangenews.com or at 706-884-7311, Ext. 2154.