Families of deceased babies gather to share support, loss

Published: Friday, Oct. 11 2013 5:24 p.m. MDT

Her sentiment is matched by Jaynes, who said that after she got over the various stages of grief from losing her daughter, some of which still come up once in a while, she was able to take pride in the family she still has with her.

But Jaynes said she hopes others understand that "it's not something we ever get over."

"Don't be afraid to talk about my baby with me," she said.

Support groups emphasize that the loss becomes a part of their life, and that life must also go on.

"He'll always be in my heart, but he wouldn't want me to miss out on life," Clemens said of Luca.

The Share organization helps participants understand that sporadic bouts of emotion are completely normal. It exists to "provide support toward positive resolution of grief experienced at the time of or following the death of a baby," according to Share's mission statement. "This support encompasses emotional, physical, spiritual and social healing, as well as sustaining the family unit."

Events held throughout the year bring struggling families together.

"It is so healing, and it warms your heart to see the camaraderie of people who have been through similar loss," said Marci Nellessen, Jaynes' mother and Share event organizer.

Nellessen attended Share's bi-monthly support groups with her daughter after Kelsie died, and she, too, has benefited from the support.

"The hardest part about losing her was seeing my daughter go through that grief and not being able to help her," she said. "As a mom, you just want to make things better. It tears at your heart to see your child go through that."

Her continued involvement with the group, Nellessen said, helps "make sense of all the chaos."

The walk, one of several held in October throughout the country, attracted nearly 800 people last year. It is held annually to commemorate Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness month. More information can be found online at www.utahshare.org.

Registration for the walk begins at 10 a.m., and a brief program starts at 11 a.m. at the Ed Kenley Amphitheater, 403 N. Wasatch Drive. Families will walk carrying a balloon that will be released when their infant's name is read aloud.

"We welcome anyone who has lost a baby, any of their family or friends, too," Nellessen said. "We're there to remember and honor our babies' memories, to walk the steps they were never able to take."

Email: wleonard@deseretnews.com, Twitter: wendyleonards

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