In 1983, my daughter Karen who had Down Syndrome died at 5 1/2 months from a complication of pneumonia just before her open heart surgery. In 1984, we suffered a miscarriage at 10-12 weeks.
My 7 year old son and 5 year old daughter were devastated and asked what the name was. Since the doctors could not determine the sex of the baby, I had each of my children select a boy’s or girl’s name. Naming the baby Jeff Candy helped make my children feel better but then they questioned why Jeff Candy did not have a funeral like their sister Karen. Good question!
I brought this up to my mentor Fr. Joe Naumann (now archbishop of Kansas City) when he headed the St. Louis Archdiocesan Pro-Life Committee and the next thing I knew, I wound up on a committee. Now we have “The Order for the Naming and Commendation for an Infant Who Died Before Birth” (copyright 1989)
I am so proud of the results of my children’s long-ago question and I am so happy to see the long-term results in this article which should be shared with every Catholic. Here is an excerpt:
by JoAnna Wahlund • June 10, AD2015
The loss of a child is a nightmare for every parent. In the first few hours and days of grief and shock, it’s hard to know what to do. It’s especially hard when the loss occurs in early pregnancy, since our culture isn’t accustomed to treating unborn babies as human beings — and this happens even in pro-life circles.
If you are reading this article because you recently lost a baby via miscarriage, there are three things I want you to know:
1. I am so sorry for the loss of your baby.
2. You have the right to bury your baby.
3. If you did not bury your baby, do not not feel ashamed or guilty. We can only do our best in the circumstances we’re in according to the knowledge that we have.