Mission in Motion: Compassion for Grieving Parents

Women's Hospital Saint Joseph East

KentuckyOne This Week is now bringing you Mission in Motion, articles from the KentuckyOne Health Community Benefit Report. These stories demonstrate KentuckyOne's community outreach efforts that are impacting more than individual patients or families; they are changing communities. 

Mission in Motion: Solace for Grieving Parents

As many as one in four pregnancies end in miscarriage. Usually, the miscarriage is not acknowledged by others.

But the caring staff at Saint Joseph Hospital and Women’s Hospital Saint Joseph East has a long history of reaching out with compassion for patients who experience miscarriage. They even send their patients cards after they are discharged. As a faith-based health ministry, the care team had longed to bring their patients wellness, healing and hope at an even deeper level. And for more than two years, a small group of dedicated people worked to find a way to enhance care and healing for these patients. Their work came to fruition at a prayer service and burial in February 2015 at Calvary Cemetery in Lexington.

Invitations were sent to former patients, other area hospitals, physician offices, to churches and community groups. The response was overwhelming. The crowd filled the Via Dolorosa Mausoleum and sang, prayed scripture, shared experiences of grief and loss, and commended the miscarried babies to God’s loving care.

A woman who experienced a miscarriage decades ago shared her story. Others with more recent miscarriage sat with quiet tears. Many expressed gratitude for the gathering, remembering and offering an experience of healing saying, “You have no idea what this meant to me.”

A similar gathering is now held every other month. Twenty to forty people – parents, children, grandparents, pastors, friends and others – come together to acknowledge, grieve, pray and heal. They gather before the crypts that are inscribed with a quote of Pope Francis: “All life has inestimable value, even the weakest and most vulnerable … are masterpieces of God’s creation, made in his own image, destined to live forever, and deserving of the utmost reverence and respect.”

They celebrate the lives that have been lost – each represented by a candle that family members may keep. Other hospitals have asked how they might join us or begin such a service.

Grief never ends ... but it changes. It’s a passage, not a place to stay. Grief is the price of love.