I was in grade school during the first Gulf War. We prayed the Rosary for peace and for the deployed family members of students.
I also remember that when war was imminent, a priest at my Catholic parish announced he was becoming a Navy chaplain. I don’t remember if he already had a past in the Navy; it seems likely he did. But in 1990 he was not a young man.
He enlisted as a chaplain because our country was going to war, and he wanted to serve the spiritual needs of the men and women who were going to fight it. I remember feeling a kind of awe that Father Ryan knew instinctively what he ought to do at that moment in time–and that he so straightforwardly did it. His farewell was a lesson in selflessness and in doing what was right without fanfare, fuss, or delay.
Losing a baby before birth or shortly thereafter is heartbreaking. But mothers who have lost children say that the simplest things can mean so much to them when they are grieving.
About a year ago I volunteered to make a few tiny hats for a project started by a mother named Amanda in memory of her extremely premature son, Robby. She wanted to collect hundreds of caps for the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) that took care of her and her baby. She said the handmade cap she was given in the hospital was the only thing she had left to hold onto after he died, and it meant so much to her.
The August 2016 issue of Crochet World features a story about another project that helps parents facing infant loss: Bridget’s Cradles. Bridget’s Cradles is a nonprofit started by a woman named Ashley whose mother knitted a tiny “cradle” for Ashley to hold her baby in.