As families gather during the holidays in celebration, this season can be especially sad for bereaved parents who have suffered the loss of a child through miscarriage, stillbirth, during a baby's infancy, or anytime during childhood. To help ease their grief and offer support for families whose dear children have died either during pregnancy, after pregnancy or later in childhood, Santa Rosa Memorial Hospital is hosting a non-denominational, bilingual memorial service on Saturday, Dec. 1, from 4:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. All members of the public are invited.
"Whether your loss was recent or happened years ago, we welcome you to attend the service as an individual or with family and friends," said Gudrun Reiter-Hiltebrand, RNC-LRN, a nurse in Santa Rosa Memorial's neonatal intensive care nursery who annually organizes this remembrance. "We offer parents, relatives and friends an opportunity to quietly reflect, to grieve, and to honor these precious children."
Attendees are encouraged to bring along a special memento of their child to share during the ceremony on an altar of remembrance. The memento may be a photo, a handprint or footprint, a garment, a favorite toy, or another keepsake that holds special meaning to the family. Parents, siblings, relatives and friends are welcome to join representatives from the hospital's Women and Children's services and Spiritual Care departments who will lead the afternoon's reflections. Interpreters from the hospital staff will translate the readings offered during this free service for Spanish-speaking participants.
The service will be held just off the hospital's main lobby and cafeteria, in Conference Room D. A reception will follow in the adjacent Conference Rooms B and C. Participants are welcome to bring finger food to share during the reception. Participants are asked to RSVP to Gudrun.Reiter-Hiltebrand@stjoe.org if they will need childcare during the service; childcare will be provided in Conference Room A, next door. Please also let Gudrun know if you would like to include a beloved child's name in the memorial service's printed program, as a remembrance.
For additional information, call Gudrun Reiter-Hiltebrand at (707) 542-4534 or Spiritual Care at (707) 525-5300, extension 6105.
St. Joseph Health, Sonoma Countyis an integrated healthcare delivery organization founded by the Sisters of St. Joseph of Orange and sponsored by the St. Joseph Health Ministry. Its mission is to improve the health and quality of life of the communities it serves. Entities include Santa Rosa Memorial Hospital, Petaluma Valley Hospital, Memorial Hospice, Hospice of Petaluma, North County Hospice, St. Joseph Urgent Care Centers, St. Joseph Home Care Network and more. St. Joseph Health offer residents of California's North Coast a spectrum of healthcare services. These include general acute care hospital services, regional Level II trauma services, health prevention and promotion, outpatient behavioral health services, hospice and community benefit programs that improve the health of our communities and the quality of life in Sonoma County.