One thing will remain the same at Oamaru Lawn Cemetery’s soon-to-be restored and rededicated baby memorial garden – it will be there for everyone who has lost a child.
The restored garden will be unveiled at a ceremony on October 14 after about three years of planning, spearheaded by Oamaru woman and former nurse Roseanne Sheridan, with support from the Waitaki District Council, the Stillbirth and Neonatal Death Society and others.
As part of the restoration, new grasses will be planted around the garden’s pond and decorated, hand-painted stones will be placed around its rim.
A granite sign will feature the garden’s new, yet-to-be revealed name, and a prism will be placed next to the pond’s Oamaru stone sculpture of a sleeping baby to project rainbow-coloured light on to it.
Plants to attract butterflies and birdlife will also be planted and the area given a general tidy-up.
The original baby memorial garden, which remembers about 30 babies, was established in 1998 by Mrs Sheridan and the Combined Churches of Oamaru to help parents with the grieving process.
“After my nursing experience and seeing the pain and suffering people go through with the loss of a child no matter how it is – stillbirth, miscarriage or abortion termination – I felt that for the grief people suffered there was nothing to address it.
“There was nothing to remember babies that died before they were born.”
Next to the garden is another area for children aged between 1 and 3.
She said the garden was and would become a special place for people.
“This is here for everybody that’s ever lost a child. It’s a place to bring some comfort, healing, peace amd hope.”