Mourning the Loss of Anna Cecelia

 

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Many couples know the pain of losing a child through miscarriage or stillbirth. Unfortunately, as a society we have not acknowledged that pain or the genuine need to mourn the death of these precious children.

Slowly we are gaining an awareness that we cannot simply "get on" with life, pretending that child never existed. Even when a woman miscarries a baby after being pregnant for a short time, she will remember that child forever.

This past year, we experienced the reality of miscarriage first hand. On December 31, 1998, we found out I was pregnant. That night, as we celebrated the New Year, I began to spot. Making the situation worse, my doctor advised me to treat the situation "like a regular period," thinking I may not have actually been pregnant so why think the worst.

After months of wondering whether or not I had actually been pregnant but knowing in my heart I had been (as well as being confirmed by two home pregnancy tests and other physical signs), I prayed to God for peace.

At Easter Mass during the consecration, He answered my prayers. In my heart, God communicated to me that I had been pregnant with a baby girl, and that her name was Anna Cecelia. (That was the name we had chosen to use if our son Peter had been a girl.)

I thanked God for giving me this knowledge which brought immediate relief to my anxious mind. But He did not stop there. During the elevation of the consecrated species, He also planted the thought in my mind that now that we knew of Anna's existence, He wanted us to honor her life through a memorial service.

We have been advocates for the sanctity of human life for several years and we faced the challenge of putting our rhetoric into action. If we truly believed life begins at conception, then our tiny baby deserved to be recognized as a person and given due respect and honor.

We planned a simple prayer service held at the Memorial to the Unborn at our church's cemetery. Nathan's father, a deacon, led the service. Afterward, we had a potluck dinner at our home to celebrate Anna's brief life.

This event helped heal the sense of loss and eased our pain at not having been able to hold and see our daughter. We know she awaits us in heaven and we look forward to being united with her there someday.

Here is an outline of the prayer service and the invitation we used to celebrate the gift of our daughter, Anna Cecelia.

 

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Invitation:

Please join us as we remember our daughter

Anna Cecelia

at a memorial service and celebration of her life.

In January of this year, we joyfully discovered we were expecting another child. Sadly, we lost the baby shortly thereafter.

God, in His love and mercy, has comforted us with a certainty that the child we lost was a girl, Anna Cecelia.

On June 13 at 3:30 p.m. we would like to honor her memory at St. Mary's Cemetery at the Memorial to the Unborn. A potluck will follow at our home, so we can celebrate her brief precious life with us.

Gifts are not necessary, but if you would like to make a donation in Anna's memory, please send it to:

Pro-Life Wisconsin

PO Box 221

Brookfield, WI 53008

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Outline of Memorial Service:

 

Anna Cecelia's Memorial Service

June 13, 1999

3:30 p.m., St. Mary's Cemetery

 

Welcome: Deacon or Priest

Opening Song: Here I Am Lord (Dan Schutte)

Opening Prayer: Deacon or Priest

First Reading: Isaiah 49:1, 13-16a

Psalm Response: Psalm 34:1-9

Second Reading: 1 Cor. 15:51-58

Alleluia

Gospel: Mark 5:22-24, 35b-43

Reflection: Deacon or Priest

Song: You Are Near (Dan Schutte)

Laying of Roses: During the song, we had a box of roses next to the memorial. We invited anyone who had lost a baby through miscarriage or still birth to come forward and lay a rose on the memorial in memory of those babies. We also invited them to do so in memory of a baby that they may not have lost personally, but knew the family involved. (For example, if a close friend or sister had miscarried a baby.)

Our Father

Closing Prayer: Deacon or Priest

Closing Song: Step by Step (by Rich Mullins)

 

Thank you for joining us at this special prayer service. Everyone is welcome to celebrate with us at a potluck meal immediately following the prayer service.

 

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