ROCKFORD, Ill. (WIFR) – Nothing can be more devastating than losing a child, but every year The Haven Network and the Fitzgerald Funeral Home hold a walking tour to remember the event – to give grieving families a chance to see theirs to honor and remember lost loved ones.
The 33rd annual Walk to Remember is for all families who have seen the death of a child, and on Sunday afternoon, many Rockford residents honored their children with a memorial service and the dedication of special engraved bricks.
A day to honor the lives of many babies who left prematurely.
“Today we recognize the journey you have made and continue to make,” said Delinda Grindle, advisor to The Haven Network. “Although the tiny body that your child’s spirit lived in has faded, the beauty that your child will live on in you for all your days is there.”
The 33rd annual memorial walk gives grieving families an opportunity to honor a lost child and to reconnect with others in similar situations.
“It never gets easier, you get stronger, and it’s true, I mean, we are all a group that we have to rely on through our family and friends,” said Matt Becker.
Becker lost his son Samuel in 2017, and now he goes for a walk every year to tell Samuel’s story.
“After we lost our Samuel, we had a moment where we didn’t know if we were going to try to have another baby or not and we finally made up our mind, yes, we will and our little guy is ready to be here again on Tuesday, ”said Becker.
Families placed flowers next to their child’s memorial stone while organizer Melinda Hagerman said a prayer.
“There was a time in our society when infant death was not even recognized and now you can say, ‘I had a baby, he didn’t live, but that’s what he was, that was his name, and he was’ loved’ said Hagerman.
“You just always remember your little one, wherever he or she is. You will be with this baby when our time comes, ”said Becker.
The Fitzgerald Funeral Home has been planting trees, dedicating memorial plaques and installing benches for 33 years. Now these memorial stones are being added to a hiking trail along the Rock River.
Young children at the event were also encouraged to decorate memorial stones that could be displayed in the park or taken home.
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