At the rear of the premises is a Memorial Garden filled with stones that bear the names of little ones no longer with us, whose families miss them dearly.
The Remembering Ceremony started with a welcome and Acknowledgement of Country, and then a beautiful memorial candle-lighting ritual. Battery-operated artificial pillar candles were used in the ritual, which involved nominated volunteers, staff and supporters of NALAG explaining what each candle represented as it was symbolically lit:
This was followed by several wishes for those grieving, to provide strength, support, reassurance, understanding, acceptance, peace, hope and comfort.
Attendees were then invited to place flowers and notes and symbols in a small pond while a beautiful song by John Williamson was played. Called "Flower on the Water", it was inspired by the loss of life in the 2002 Bali bombings. Some of the lyrics include these lines:
"Lay a little frangipani gentle on the water,
Remember how we loved you."
A poem about connection was then read, focusing on the invisible connections of love that bind us together.
To end the ceremony, families were invited to visit the memorial garden for some quiet reflection, and to place their commemorative stones with the others there honouring little lives gone too soon.
At 7.00 pm, those who remained were invited to join the NALAG team as they lit the lights surrounding part of the complex as part of the global international Wave of Light commemorating Baby Loss Awareness Week.
It was a privilege to be present during the ceremony, and to talk with people experiencing grief and loss in different capacities. Grief is such an individual journey and there are no set paths to follow or places to navigate to or from with it.
If you would like to know more about NALAG, or to become a volunteer, you can find its website at www.nalag.org.au.
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How people say goodbye is a very personal thing. This blog is by an experienced, professional civil celebrant who provides bespoke (custom-designed) ceremonies for people pre-planning their farewell, or for family members organising a goodbye for someone who has passed.