Hundreds expected for annual Footprints on my Heart event

October 14, 2018 | 3:03 am

Updated October 13, 2018 | 9:54 pm

“When a child loses his parent, they are called an orphan,” said President Ronald Reagan. “When a spouse loses her or his partner, they are called a widow or widower. When parents lose their child, there isn’t a word to describe them.”

In 1988, President Reagan spoke those words as he proclaimed October National Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month.

“This month recognizes the loss so many parents experience across the United States and around the world,” Reagan said. “It is meant to inform and provide resources for parents who have lost children due to miscarriage, ectopic pregnancy, molar pregnancy, stillbirths, birth defects, SIDS and other causes.”

In observance of the month, Footprints on my Heart, a local support group for those who have lost a child will meet Sunday at 3 p.m. at Owensboro Memorial Gardens to celebrate their babies.

Sharing stories, their babies’ names and being around others who have experienced similar situations has been therapeutic for the group.

Lara Casey, founder of the group Footprints on my Heart, said many people don’t talk about losing a child. She started this event to get people talking and for them to have a place to publically remember their children.

“It’s a beautiful, but hard thing to do,” she said. “We don’t want to make it funeral-like. It’s more of a celebration, recognizing the babies and their life.”

During the event there will be songs, prayers and poems read to the group.

The guest speakers are Matt and Kayla Curry, a husband and wife duo who will speak on how the loss of their daughter Annsley affected them both.

As long as the rain stays away, there will be a walk through the baby area at the Memorial Gardens. In case of rain, everyone will gather in the mausoleum. Bubbles will be blown for the babies and people can write messages on balloons that will be released during the service.

Cathy Mullins, who lost her 21-year-old son Brandon in 2011 in Afghanistan, will perform a song for the group.

To recognize each and every baby, their full names will be read aloud and a bell will ring. Currently, the list holds 280 names to be read.

Casey, who has experienced two miscarriages herself, said when she going through the pain she didn’t know one other person who had suffered a miscarriage, and is hoping to remind others that they are not alone.

“Once I started to talking about it, I started learning about others who had gone through similar experiences,” she said. “But no one knew what to say or do.”

Casey said she founded Footprints on my Heart after the previous support group fizzled out.

The first year of the event there were 18 people in attendance, which Casey thought was a huge number. In 2017, more than 225 people attended the service.

Owensboro Memorial Gardens is a park-like cemetery located on Kentucky 144, adjoining Reid’s Orchard. It is Daviess County’s only locally-owned private cemetery.

The remembrance event is sponsored by Glenn Family Services. There’s a support group for grieving parents the first Thursday of every month at Glenn Funeral Home.

October 14, 2018 | 3:03 am

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