Remembering loss of young loved ones

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Standing in the shadows on the steps of the Nevada Capitol Building, their shaking voices strained to be heard over the noise of cars driving past behind them during the daily commute hour Tuesday night.

Taking time away from their regular routines, the small, tearful group gathered around the stone steps holding small white candles to remember loved ones lost in pregnancy.

Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day was recognized for the first time in Carson City on Tuesday by the handful of people who said a prayer and lit candles in memory. The day is meant to help families cope with the loss of children through miscarriage, stillbirth and neonatal death.

"When a parent loses a child, there's really no name for it," said Stephanie Harris. "People don't always know what to say or what to do."

Harris, who lost a daughter at birth two years ago, wrote to Gov. Kenny Guinn to request state recognition for the remembrance day. Guinn singed the proclamation in March. This year, 47 states have recognized the occasion.

Organizers say they are hoping the day will become nationally recognized in the future.

Harris led the group of men and women, mothers, fathers and grandparents, Tuesday night by lighting the first candle.

Louise Hogen, of Carson City, came with her daughter Marcie Miller to have a chance to openly grieve for the loss Miller experienced through an unsuccessful pregnancy.

"It's like an open acknowledgement," Hogen said. She sees other red-headed children and wonders what her grandchild might have been like. "There was a life there. You feel free to grieve about it."

Her friend Rhonda Carsten, of Carson City, agreed that she often wonders as she looks around at other children, what it would be like if she hadn't suffered two losses herself. "My son would have been 20 now," she said. "You wonder what your life would've been like."

Tears flowed and hugs followed the reading of a poem and a prayer during the ceremony. Many mothers don't receive support or know where to find resources, Harris said.

Harris and Tracy Mills, of Sparks, are planning to volunteer to help women and families who suffer loss in pregnancy by offering them support and resources. By getting people together to share their grief, Harris hopes she can help others find the resources that were so difficult for her to find when she needed them.

Being able to talk about the loss is important, Harris said. "Sometimes not saying anything is what hurts the most," she said. "Not the loss."

According to the Center for Disease Control, 983,000 babies nationwide died from miscarriage or stillbirth in 1996. For information about the issue, visit or call Harris at 246-7359.


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