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Viewpoint from Rev Marilyn Zipfel 28/11/2014 

MARILYN ZIPFELRev Marilyn Zipfel
Lead Chaplain – James Paget University Hospital

 
Every year at this time, in an effort to help those who grieve the loss of a child, we hold a difficult yet caring service in the Chapel at James Paget University Hospital, the STARLIGHT SERVICE

In this service we remember precious children whom have been loved and lost – maybe a stillborn child … never held, never seen or even heard. Children so wished for and so wanted … that the loss of them hurts … even many years later
We in the Chapel at JPUH try to help those who are hurting as a result of their loss, by inviting them to come to our annual STARLIGHT SERVICE (this year on Sunday 7th December at 3pm)
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In this short service, we remember the little ones who have died (by writing the child’s names on a star and placing it on the Christmas tree in the Chapel … maybe symbolically giving the child to God for safekeeping), we light small ‘T’ light smart candles that call be taken home, we pray for relatives and friends ‘left behind’, consider what might have been and reflect on what is to come

Our aim is to help those who grieve to recall the love they shared because of their child, and to help them gently grieve their loss in a measured way and affirm the love that they shared
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As Christians we believe that death is not the end for the inner person – that faith in Jesus Christ can strengthen us and help us deal with grief

Our Chaplains hope to support, encourage and uphold people through loss and separation. Parting can be painful but we believe that faith can help those who have suffered bereavement as they begin to trust their child at peace and enfolded in God’s love

One of the songs that we traditionally use begins:
‘Fleetingly known, yet ever remembered’
the last verse ends:
 ‘Grant to us, grieving, love for the living;
strength for each other, all of our days’

So, I pray that you find strength to get through your loss, that you are guided through the festive season with hope in your heart knowing that the love you have for your lost child will never die

‘We cannot judge a biography by its length, by the number of pages in it. We must judge it by the richness of its contents – sometimes those unfinished are among the most beautiful’    (from Man’s search for meaning – Victor Frankl)