Readings for an Infant's Memorial Service/Funeral
A Reading for a Miscarried Baby
Today we come together in sorrow over the death of _________ and ___________'s baby, ____________. Their child, created in love and eagerly wished for, has died - - never to be nestled securely in their arms in this lifetime. To these parents, the pain and the disappointment is great and their loss will be carried heavily in their hearts for all their days. In the weeks and months ahead, they will miss their child terribly and will be in need of love, compassion, time and understanding from all of us.

Each life comes into this world with a mission. Sometimes the mission or purpose is clear; sometimes it is vague and shrouded in misunderstandings. In time, we will see what the baby's mission was on earth. Could it have been just to add a little flicker of love that otherwise may never have been lit? Was it to soften our hearts so that we may in turn comfort others? Could it have been to bring us closer to our God and each other?

This child's life was short, yet the death has left a huge void in all of our hearts and lives. Let us remember today and for always the tiny baby who will never see childhood or adulthood, but will remain our tiny baby forever.

Naming Ceremony
We meet today in hurt and with a heavy sadness for this precious baby whose life ended too soon. Thank you all for gathering with us as we acknowledge this baby as an important part of this family.

We come with sorrow, mourning the loss of this baby, known to the mother and father who created and carried him/her, and to us in hopes and dreams. We do not seek to understand the mystery of this baby’s death, but seek healing and a new journey in life without this precious baby.

We name this baby today so that we will remember him/her being born into our hearts.  As a devotion of your love to this baby, __________(parents), what name do you give your baby?

__________(Parent’s answer)

__________(Baby’s name) has briefly entered our lives but has touched our hearts in ways we had not thought possible. His/her memory began in our hearts, and will continue to live on as an important part of us. We honor __________(baby’s name) memory and give recognition to __________(parents) as his/her caring and loving parents. We also honor the family and friends among us who are not only grieving for this precious child, but for __________(parents) as they grow together in their grief.

Personal Reflection/Shared Grief/Letters to the Baby/Word of Encouragement/Poem

In this baby’s death, hopes and dreams were shattered. The pain is real and their loss is beyond measure. It will take time for __________(parents) to piece together their new life together, but they will find a new hope and love again with your support. Please help hold up these parents with strength and courage as they mourn their loss. Please offer your patience and allow __________(parents) to talk about their sorrow when they feel the need or cry when they want. Please comfort our friends as their hearts grieve.

In time, the grief will lesson, but the memories will remain. His/her gift of life, no matter how brief, has brought us together in love. __________(Baby’s name) has touched our life, and we will never be the same.

Special Note:
Not all parts of this ceremony may be applicable to you loss. This ceremony can be adapted so that you can include spiritual readings or so that the parents are reading to the participants

Living Memorial
We have joined together to recognize the significance of __________(baby’s name) short life, and Share in our grief and love of this cherished baby. It is with the shortest of lives that we can be largely impacted, as we mourn not only the loss of __________(baby’s name) but also the loss of our hopes and dreams for the future together.

We stand today with a special tree/plant to help us honor __________(baby’s name) and also to help us recognize that nothing dies, rather life is transformed into a new beginning beyond our sight. This tree/plant will become a special place that we can come to honor and remember __________(baby’s name).

Remembering helps us to grow in our grief, just as watching this tree/plant grow will be a continual recognition of life’s renewal. This tree/plant will be a reminder that the memory of this child grows in our hearts and lives on.

Responsive Spiritual Reading
Leader:  We are hurting, Lord. With our baby's death went all our hopes, our dreams, our future.

All:  God, give us the strength we need to get through each day.

Leader: Some people tell us it was your will; that it was for the best; that you needed an angel in Heaven. They say, "God doesn't give us more than we can handle." I don't believe any of it. My faith is sorely tested.  I find myself doubting your love and even your existence.

All: Please be there Lord, when we are doubting you.

Leader: I feel helpless, empty, aching, and depressed. There are no answers to my searching for "why?" and "why me?" Should I have prayed harder? Should I have been a better person? I feel so angry and guilty at the same time.

All: Help us in our pain and questionings. Even in our anger, we feel free to turn to you, Father, because we know you understand our feelings and accept us as we are.

Leader:  But, even in our grief, we can now fully appreciate the little things in life.  We are thankful for even the short time we had with our child.  We realize how fragile and brief life can be. We now take nothing for granted.

All:  Help us to remember to celebrate your gifts, Lord, however small or fragile.  Thank you for being with us in our time of sadness and grief.  We look to  you for strength.

(Adapted from a reading by Janis Heil, UNITE, Philadelphia, PA, and printed in Bittersweet...hellogoodbye, Volume 2, 1989)

The White Rose
By Myrna Cox
All the earth's mothers were gathered together at God's Garden of flowers; those beautiful budding spirits, who would someday come to earth, were nurtured and tended in the garden. A loving Father, spoke to the Mothers, "See the works of my hands, someday you will be the mothers to these radiant spirits." The garden glowed with the mixture of all kinds and colors. "Choose ye," he said. Now in the East corner of the garden pure white roses stood as sentinels. They were not so colorful as the rest, but glowed with a kind of purity, which set them apart. One by one mothers stepped forward. "I want the blue eyed curly haired one, who will grow to maturity and be a mother in Zion." Yet another chose a brown eyed, brown haired boy, full of life and love who would someday be a prince in a grand country. The garden buzzed with excitement as the others chose their own special spirits, those whom they would welcome into warmth and love of an earthly home. Once again the loving Father spoke, "But who will take the white roses, the ones in the East corner of the garden? These will return to me in purity and goodness, they will not stay long in your home, for I must bring them back to my Garden for they belong with me, but they will gain bodies as was planned, you will miss them and long for them, but I will personally care for them." "No, not I," many said in unison, "I couldn't bear to give one back so soon." "Nor I," said others, "we will take those who remain and grow to maturity and live long lives." The loving Father looked out across the multitude of mothers with a longing in his eyes for someone to step forward. Silence! Then he said, "See the most pure and perfect of all the white ones? I chose Him. He will go down and be a sacrifice for all mankind. He will be scorned, mocked and crucified. He is mine own. Will not anyone choose like unto Him? A few mothers stepped forward. "Yes, Lord, I will." Then another, and another. "I as well." "Yes we will Lord." Soon all the pure white roses were taken, and they rejoiced in the choices of the mothers. The Father spoke again. "Oh blessed are you who chose the white roses, for your pain will be a heavy cross to bear, but our joy will be exceeding, beyond anything you can understand at this time." The white ones, embraced their mothers, and so full was their purity and love that it filled their souls with such endearment. Each mother knew they could endure the tasks. And the greatest of all the white ones, gathered them as a hen gathers her chicks, and the outpouring of love surrounded each mother and child, consuming all the white ones as He prepared them for their task. And each mother who bore the weight of the White rose, would feel the overwhelming love of god, as they all shouted, Thy will be done."

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