REGINA — Oct. 2, was a bright, sunny day, but for many gathered at two separate functions it was sombre. More than 100 gathered in the Regina Wascana Rehabilitation Hospital auditorium for the 27th annual memorial gathering to remember deceased babies, while a couple of kilometres’ northwest about 275 pro-life supporters demonstrated against abortion.
Rev. Mary Brubacher, director of Spiritual Care for the Regina Qu’Appelle Health Region and herself a bereaved mother, organized the memorial gathering along with a committee.
“We are all here because we know that we can gain support by being together with one another,” said Brubacher in a short prepared address. “Mourning the loss of a baby goes on for months and maybe even years. To remember your baby is a very natural part of life and living.”
Brubacher lost two babies more than 17 years ago. She said the period of time when one mourns the loss of a baby is very personal. “For many there will be tears and that is OK. But even if tears are not shed today, that is perfectly OK too.”
The memorial lasted about 20 minutes, with personal memories recited by some, including a few whose loss was recent. Some read from prepared notes with emotion; with others it was more straightforward. Poems were read, and music and vocals were performed by musicians Melinda Viera and Amanda Schenstead. A PowerPoint at the front of the auditorium named the babies who died, some going back to the mid-60s.
White balloons lined the walls during the service and were distributed after the service. Each person was invited to write the name of their deceased baby on a label attached to the string and all balloons were released from the grass area just outside the hospital while the poem “With These Balloons,” composed by Adaline Leir of the Regina chapter of the Compassionate Friends, Inc., was read.
Meanwhile, Regina Pro-Life supporters lined both sides of Albert Street, one of Regina’s main thoroughfares, displaying signs opposing abortion. The Pro-Life Chain is held annually on the first Sunday in October in communities around the world.
Signs read: Abortion Hurts Women; We Choose Life; Abortion Kills Children, and many more. It wasn’t just members of Regina Pro-life who were present. The 275 who registered came from other locales besides the city and others simply represented themselves. Several families showed up and stood together on the curb. Demonstrators were greeted by some passing motorists with honking horns as a show of support.
After the hour-long vigil, they returned to the grassy area in front of the Royal Saskatchewan Museum to enjoy a drink and a donut.