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CHILDREN’S CEREMONY OF REMEMBRANCE

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HELEN AND GRAEME COOK WILL BE ATTENDING THE CHILDREN’S CEREMONY OF REMEMBRANCE ON MONDAY, AS THEY HAVE FOR MANY YEARS.

THE Ballarat Bereavement Support Network will host the Annual Children’s Ceremony of Remembrance at 6.00 pm on Monday December 18 at the Ballarat Cemetery main entrance, Corner of Lydiard and Norman Streets.

The Ceremony gives our community an opportunity to join with others to remember a child who died at any age and for any reason.

Participants have the opportunity to write a message on and release a balloon for their loved one.

Grief is never ending, and this service allows people to honour their child at a special time of year in a positive caring environment.

Helen and Graeme Cook have been attending the Ceremony of Remembrance for a number of years.

Helen went to her first Ceremony of Remembrance in 2010.

“It was different for me,” she said.

“It was to support Graeme. I had also had a miscarriage 42 years ago but was never allowed to grieve.” Without meaning to be hurtful people were saying things to Helen such as ‘you’ll get over it’, ’try for another one’, ‘you were barely pregnant at 3 months’.

“After about 17 years I had to go back and grieve for the child I’d lost but when I started going with Graeme and I heard a speaker and it was just the same experience as me, the thoughtless comments, and when he spoke of the hurt his family went through…I came home and all of that bubbled to the surface, again,” Helen said.

“So I wrote and wrote and came to terms with it, and then it was 39 years, but that had been simmering, all these negative things.

“For me (the Ceremony) it’s just lovely to be there as one of a group.” The ceremony is peaceful and while everyone there has experienced loss, and there are many different types of losses that people are grieving for, it is that feeling of solidarity, of being at one with like-minded people that Graeme and Helen draw strength from.

“It’s listening to the different stories, it’s a lovely time to reflect and I particularly like the balloons – you can hold onto the balloons, you can write your messages of love, you hold those for the entire service and then it’s a release.

You are able to let go and release and the hundreds of coloured balloons that go up, it’s amazing how you can track your own,” Helen explained.

“I would encourage people to go to the ceremony. It’s beautiful and each year it is different.” Graeme added, “It opens up the services and different organisations for people, if they want them. It’s not a religious ceremony, it’s for anybody.” After the death of his first grandchild, many years ago, Graeme finds comfort in the ceremony.

He says it’s a time to reflect, to ponder what they would be like today.

“I think it’s pretty hard for men to show their emotions but with a service like this you can go to because you know everyone else there is in the same boat… it’s good…and when the balloons go up, whether you believe or you don’t believe you still reflect as you watch it disappear into the sky,” Graeme said softly.