I have read many stories from people all over the world. They are all mostly heartbreaking, however Maeve’s story really pulled at my heart.
Firstly I wanted to say that Maeve has so generously allowed me to share her story with you all. It will break your heart and inspire you all at the same time.
42 years ago in Northern Ireland Maeve and her husband fell pregnant with twins. Maeve’s husband was tragically killed in a vehicle accident only weeks after she fell pregnant with her girls, he never knew he was going to become a father. With a shattered life and a broken heart Maeve carried her babies to 41 weeks. After a fairly (physically) smooth first pregnancy Maeve’s beautiful girls died unexpectedly during labor. Maeve was unaware of their passing until the midwife delivered her babies. Maeve remembers a glimpse of one of her daughters arms and legs but she never saw their faces. Maeve described the birth of her babies as if it had happened only yesterday. The doctor visited her shortly afterwards and when she asked if she could see her babies she was told that she could not as it would be too disturbing for her. He told her that they would be taken care of and that in a day or so she would be able to go home. In the days to follow Maeve went into shock. She was left feeling numb and in disbelief that her babies were gone. Maeve had to endure having her milk come in and because there were no babies for her to feed she fell very ill with mastitis, which took over a month to recover from. Maeve suffered her grief alone.
Maeve was never told what happened to her babies remains. No one back then would give her a clear answer. But last year, 41 years after Maeve’s babies her taken from her, she read an article in the local paper about a memorial that had been created at a cemetery for all the stillborn babies who were buried there with unmarked graves. As she read more into the article Maeve’s heart began to race and she was flooded with emotion. After many hours spent inquiring over the phone Maeve found out that her babies had been buried in that cemetery and that the staff at the cemetery could give her a rough idea of where who girls actually were.
Can you imagine that?
41 years after Maeve’s daughters were stillborn she finally was able to stand at their grave site.
After Maeve’s daughter Aislinn was searching the internet for a way to help her mother remember her stillborn sisters, she found Christian’s Beach. Aislinn showed her mother who was overcome by its beauty and sadness. Maeve cried that she never named her baby girls. She was never given a chance to hold them, to look at their features, to tell them how loved and wanted they were, to give them the greatest gift ever, a name each. After visiting Christian’s Beach online Maeve decided that she would finally name her daughters. Aibhlinn (Aveleen) and Caoimhe (pronounced Keeva) Aibhlinn means longed and wished for and Caoimhe means beauty and grace.
Maeve told me of her regrets and as you can imagine she is filled with them. She said her biggest regret was that she did not do anything in memory of her girls and that there was no funeral or memorial service held for Aibhlinn and Caoimhe. This really broke my heart, I thought to myself… why could these girls not be given a memorial service now? Sure, they died decades ago, but why should that be the reason that they are not honoured. I suggested to Maeve that she could have a memorial service for her daughters. At first I could tell that the idea did not really sit well with her. “Who would come, I feel a bit strange doing it now after so long.” I told Maeve that it didn’t matter how many people came. It could just be her and her daughter, but if she did have some close family and friends that would “get it” it would be so nice to include them.
Maeve took a leap of faith and together we planned out the girls memorial service. Maeve and her daughter Aislinn have invited 12 friends and family members to Aibhlinn and Caoimhe’s memorial service. Maeve’s best friend will conduct the service. There will be a couple of bible readings and poetry read. We chose a few instrumental pieces (Oh how I loved to help with this part!) to be played throughout the service and at the end they will all release lavender coloured balloons.
The memorial service for Aibhlinn and Caoimhe will be held this Saturday July 16th, 42 years and 3 months after they passed away. If you have a moment on Saturday, please send out some love and a prayer for Maeve.
It is never too late to name your babies.
It is never too late to hold a memorial service for them.
To all those who may be reading, who never named your babies or held a memorial service for them, we hope this story inspires you and helps you on your road to healing.