Families gather to remember children who have passed awayToni Betting, now infant and child bereavement coordinator at Altru Health System, and dozens of others gathered Tuesday evening on the lawn in front of Altru Hospital in Grand Forks for the Cherished Children Memorial Service.
By: Robb Jeffries, Grand Forks Herald
For 25 years, Toni Betting did not name her son.
“I didn’t name him because no one told me I could,” she said.
Years passed after her son’s birth, and Betting raised her and her husband’s other nine children and continued her life. It wasn’t until a co-worker at a hospital in Aberdeen, S.D., went through a similar situation that Betting named her son, who was stillborn.
She named him Anthony Raymond Betting.
Toni Betting, now infant and child bereavement coordinator at Altru Health System, and dozens of others gathered Tuesday evening on the lawn in front of Altru Hospital in Grand Forks for the Cherished Children Memorial Service.
The event was a chance for families to get together and share their experiences of losing a child, Betting said.
“One of the things I hear in the support group is nobody ever wants to talk about it,” she said. “Here, we had a lot of people linger after the ceremony that were sharing with each other.”
Families wrote names of children who had passed away on colorful ribbon, which was wrapped around a wreath that now sits in the Wings of Hope Garden in front of the hospital. Balloons adorned with names, stickers and messages were released into a crystal-clear blue sky.
“It was an absolutely beautiful day to do this,” Betting said.
Mary Jane Hennemann shared the story of the death of her teenage son, who drowned in a swimming accident while hunting with friends. She emphasized the importance of donation, during and after life.
“You don’t want to call it cliche until it’s affected you, until you’ve done it, but donations make a lasting difference,” she said. Her son’s organs and tissue helped more than 30 patients across 17 states.
Most importantly, Betting said, was families got another chance to remember those who they lost when they were so young.
“You never forget,” she said.
Call Jeffries at (701) 780-1105; (800) 477-6572, ext. 1105; or send email to firstname.lastname@example.org.