Prepare for a Memorial Service
Are you ready to grieve your losses?
As we have discussed releasing the guilt and blame we carry, there has been a “loss” in your life whether it was the relationship with your father that you never had, the virginity that you lost when you were sexually abused, not having a loving and nurturing home environment or the opportunity to grow up in a home with both parents present.
Many of you experienced significant “losses” in your childhood as victims of abuse, but because you inappropriately took most of the responsibility for the abuse you never allowed yourself to cry over the hurt and pain.
WHAT HAVE I LOST?
DOWNLOAD MY BROKEN HEART WORKSHEET Write on this heart all your losses
The most cleansing thing that helps them over their past is to attend a memorial service during which time they are allowed to grieve for the losses they have experienced.
Memorial services are a natural closure and cultural event. When there is a loss, man grieves. There has been a loss that demands a final release or closure.
The loss is like an open wound. Now it is time to close this open chapter of your life so that you can move on in a healthy way.
People who die are put into graves where we who live can mourn their loss over time. Yet, with abortion, miscarriage and other forms of sudden death, there may not be a body to bury.
Grief that goes unresolved is like a cancer on the inside. Unresolved grief is unhealthy. Resolving grief is not easy.
Grieving involves both feeling and acknowledging the loss. Feeling the loss often is expressed by many tears.
At this point in the course, those who have experienced pregnancy loss due to abortion or stillbirth will bring an appropriate doll or dolls to a sanctuary where a private, confidential memorial service for your baby will be conducted.
For those suffering from violation issues, we suggest the use of the paper heart called “MY BROKEN HEART©” on which you were supposed to have written down everything that has broken your heart.
During this very symbolic service, an empty infant casket or vase or box will be used to represent the grave.
This container will serve as the receptacles of the symbols of our losses: the little handkerchief dolls and paper hearts. The burning white candle represents Jesus Christ, the light of the world. The unlit candles represent the lost children who died before birth.
The roses represent God’s pure love. You will enter the sanctuary with a reminder of your painful past.
As you listen to the special audio vignettes you will be given full opportunity to privately grieve your loss in the way you feel most comfortable.
When you approach the altar to say the last good-byes to your old life, you may wish to read a eulogy about your lost baby in the case pregnancy loss or about the old self that is being laid on the altar.
Its simply a correct representation of the one being laid to rest. You could write this short statement on a note and read it if you wish.
This service is just for you and the others in your support group. It is a time of letting yourself grieve for the loss of your baby, innocence, virginity, relationship, marriage, childhood, etc.
It is a time when those who are helping you want to demonstrate to you how important they feel this closure service is to you.
It is a time of tears. It is a time to reflect. It is a time to be remorseful.
It is a time to look up and receive the promises of God. It is a time to let go.
It is a time to rejoice knowing that all is finished. It is a time to say good-bye to all your past.
If your loss was a family matter, ask your care-giver about allowing your family or loved-ones to join you for the service.
If this is not good for the rest of the group, you may want to schedule a private service.
NOTE: When you realize what is going to occur during a memorial service, it is common to have feelings of fear and apprehension of the unknown.
To help you resolve some of those feelings, take a moment and ask yourself the following questions:
1. Have I ever lost a loved one or family member to death?
[ ] yes [ ] no
2. What happened after the person died?
[ ] nothing [ ] had a funeral service [ ] don’t know
3. Did I go to the graveside service following the funeral?
[ ] yes [ ] no [ ] don’t know
4. Why do we have funerals when people die?
[ ] respect for the person [ ] to resolve our own grief [ ] tradition [ ] don’t know
Many feel sudden terror when thinking about attending this service. It is difficult to face the reality of your losses and for most, to “die to yourself” or putting off your old self.
However, read the unsolicited testimonials of those who have been through the service before you.
“My name is Jenny. I was scared to death before this service. I almost didn’t go to the memorial because I thought it was too morbid.
But, when I went because I knew in my heart it was something I had to do.
When it was over I cannot tell you how wonderful I felt.
I have never experienced such an incredible release as I did when the memorial service ended. I was really blessed.”
My name is Carol. I had never been to a funeral before so I was very upset to learn that I would be expected to participate in a “memorial service.”
I thought it was awful. I fought it during the entire course.
But, on the evening of the service, I felt like I owed it to the other women in the course to be there.
So I went. Not because I felt I needed it, but just to be there for my friends.
I even purposely wore jeans and a sweatshirt to be sure they knew that I really didn’t want to participate.
When I got there, it was like God put his arm around me and let me sit on His knee the entire time.
I have never felt so loved, affirmed, cared for, and intimate with God.
When it came my time to go forward, I was a basket case of uncontrollable tears.
Not tears of pain and shame, but tears of joy knowing that I no longer had to carry this garbage in my life. Oh the joy I felt that day. It was really wonderful.”
“My name is Bob. I attended a service to be with my wife.
She had been so wounded by our choice that I felt I needed to be there with her to support her.
I had not been in the course, (*though I now wish I had) so I was totally unaware of what I was going to experience.
All I can tell you is that when we went forward, I placed one of our “children” in the casket and when I did I broke like a little baby.
I wept so hard I could not stand up. I fell to my knees and begged my wife for forgiveness for having made her have the abortion.
I have never felt the conviction of the Holy Spirit ever so present as when I was standing in front of that tiny altar staring into the little casket full of so many symbols of babies lost.
Thank you for letting me experience this service.”
Plan to go through it with a high expectation of what God wants to do for you.
Let go of your old self, all the pain, shame, guilt, and fear.
Allow God to wash through you with His cleansing Blood.
Allow Him to touch you in a very incredible way.
As you come out on the other side, let this be a most significant memory that you can focus on the rest of your life.
Let it represent your new birth into Jesus Christ.
Record your thoughts and feelings about these letting go exercises before you move to the memorial page. Share your thoughts with the author.
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