Those gathering at the Muskoseepi Park Amphitheatre Saturday afternoon will come together to remember the little ones they lost during the 11th Annual Walk to Remember.
The annual event is put on by the Tiny Hands of Hope Society and is described as a day where parents, families and friends can “remember and celebrate those babies who have been lost through miscarriage, stillbirth, SIDS, neonatal and infant death.” Society President Tia Sheehan says when you attend the walk, there is a different atmosphere and feeling because everyone is there for the same reason.
“This day just brings our whole community together; we write the names on the sidewalk and read the baby’s names out loud,” Sheehan says. “It allows those unspoken names to be read, remembered, honoured and celebrated.”
Sheehan says the walk is one she knows many look forward to because it is one of the only times these babies can be remembered and celebrated. However, she also acknowledges those attending for the first can feel hesitant as it is a different experience.
“You don’t know the type of feelings you are going to have during it, but then the more that you come, it does get more comfortable.”
Before the actual walk portion takes place on Saturday, September 23, there will be a short program beforehand that will include a proclamation by the City of Grande Prairie and the babies’ names that are written on the sidewalk being read aloud, as well as a parent who has experienced loss will share their story. Sheehan adds she has heard some say that they find sharing their story freeing, but it takes strength.
“Lately, I have been doing some reading, and I have read that volunteerism is the sixth stage of grief, so I think that has a lot to do with it because you are volunteering your venerability.”
Check-in for the 11th annual walk will begin at 12 p.m. on Saturday at the Muskoseepi Park Amphitheatre, with registration opening simultaneously for those who still need to register. The program before the walk is scheduled to start at 1 p.m.
The Tiny Hands of Hope Society helps families deal with pregnancy loss, neonatal loss, stillbirth, SIDs and infant death up to 24 months. Along with the yearly walk, the society also puts on the Annual Illuminate the Night Gala in the spring and is a partner in creating the Blossoming Garden of Hope in Maskwôtêh Park.