HomeSicklerville NewsLocal woman transforms tragedy into annual community honoring

Local woman transforms tragedy into annual community honoring

The 6th Annual Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day Ceremony will take place at Cooper River on Oct. 15.

Courtesy of Brittany Meredith and NJ event Photography.

Five years ago, Berlin resident Brittany Meredith sent floating candles down Cooper River.

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Accompanied by her family and another family, the gesture was in wake of two miscarriages she suffered that year.

But, over the past half-decade, the private event evolved into Pennsauken’s Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day Ceremony. One of the only events of its kind in New Jersey, the event drew nearly 200 attendees last year.

This year’s 6th annual event will take place from 4 to 8 p.m. at Sunday, Oct. 15 at Cooper River Park, located at 5300 N. Park Drive in Pennsauken.

A traumatic and seldom-discussed topic, Meredith, a Sicklerville native, channeled her coping into creative forms of memoriam.

“The silence is being broken, because it’s not talked about enough,” Meredith said. “I had to make good out of it. That’s why I started right away, because otherwise, I would have sat home consumed in my own thoughts.”

Meredith has shifted her positive approach to grief into the community.

At the 2017 event, 43 “angel” babies will be honored.

Following an outdoor dinner and poetry readings, a series of symbols unfold in the sky and on the river.

After a name reading, balloons representing each angel baby are released, exemplifying returns to heaven. Then, multicolored rose petals are placed in the river.

At 7 p.m., the Wave of Lights commences. Pennsauken will serve as just one ripple in this global illumination that takes place each year at sundown on Oct. 15, Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day.

Meredith is handcrafting the 43 candles, each adorned with names of the angel babies.

“It feels amazing to do this. I’m happy I can do this for all these other families and to hear how much it meant to them afterward — it makes it all worth it,” Meredith said.

Meredith’s four-year-old rainbow baby Mila Marie.

For the first time this year, Meredith is making a point to celebrate sunshine and rainbow babies. Sunshine babies are children born before a miscarriage or stillborn birth, and rainbow babies are those born after.

She plans to establish an activity table for such children, giving them an opportunity to honor their passed brothers and sisters.

Meredith’s own rainbow baby, 4-year-old Mila Marie, continues to serve as Meredith’s chief inspiration. As a fetus, a 10-millimeter cystic hygroma miraculously disappeared from Mila’s neck before even reaching full gestation.

“I go off of Mila. She’s who I look at, and I know she’d feel pride over making something,” Meredith said.

Meredith expects close to 200 attendees again this year, as the event attracts people who have suffered pregnancy and infant loss, not just this year, but over the past few decades.

“Everyone feels like this is the one place that we can openly talk about it,” Meredith said. “The person next to you knows exactly what you went through.”

Donations to the 6th Annual Pregnancy & Infant Loss Remembrance Day Ceremony https://www.gofundme.com/NJPAILCeremony2017.

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