Space offered to remember Vancouver Island’s lost pregnancies or infants

Lorraine Fracy, manager of business development and client services for the Royal Oak Burial Park, stands with a newly implemented statue in the Little Spirits Garden – one that is both raw and captures a mother’s love, she said. (Megan Atkins-Baker/News Staff)Lorraine Fracy, manager of business development and client services for the Royal Oak Burial Park, stands with a newly implemented statue in the Little Spirits Garden – one that is both raw and captures a mother’s love, she said. (Megan Atkins-Baker/News Staff)
Members of the Saanich Legacy Foundation and Mayor Fred Haynes meet with Lorraine Fracy to discuss continued support of the garden. (Megan Atkins-Baker/ News Staff)Members of the Saanich Legacy Foundation and Mayor Fred Haynes meet with Lorraine Fracy to discuss continued support of the garden. (Megan Atkins-Baker/ News Staff)
Among the spirit houses are many different statues that encapsulate a wide variety of spiritual beliefs and philosophies. (Megan Atkins-Baker/News Staff)Among the spirit houses are many different statues that encapsulate a wide variety of spiritual beliefs and philosophies. (Megan Atkins-Baker/News Staff)
‘Spirit houses’ are a special feature in the garden, one for each lost child. (Megan Atkins-Baker)‘Spirit houses’ are a special feature in the garden, one for each lost child. (Megan Atkins-Baker)
Lorraine Fracy, manager of business development and client services for the Royal Oak Burial Park, stands with a newly implemented statue in the Little Spirits Garden – one that is both raw and captures a mother’s love, she said. (Megan Atkins-Baker/News Staff)Lorraine Fracy, manager of business development and client services for the Royal Oak Burial Park, stands with a newly implemented statue in the Little Spirits Garden – one that is both raw and captures a mother’s love, she said. (Megan Atkins-Baker/News Staff)

Imagine the joys and anxieties of pregnancy compounded with the pain and loss of death.

For many Vancouver Islanders, it’s not something they need to imagine.

A corner of a Greater Victoria cemetery is dedicated to them. Little Spirits Garden in Saanich is a place where families can go who have lost an infant at any point during pregnancy, birth, in the months that follow, or after an abortion.

The intent of the Royal Oak Burial Park section is to help women and families who may feel isolated in their experience, given that others may not understand the deep bond created during pregnancy or thereafter.

“A loss is a loss, no matter what it looks like,” said Lorraine Fracy, the park’s manager of business development and client services.

Fracy, who has been instrumental in implementing the garden at the burial grounds, said a visit to the site evokes raw emotion.

The garden offers a variety of ways to honour lost infants – small ‘spirit houses,’ commemorative stones and memory flags that hang in the many surrounding trees.

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There are also stone tablets with bronze plaques for parents and families to place a memorial scroll, beautiful statues inspired by an array of spiritual philosophies and wind chimes that add to the peaceful ambience.

With financial help from the Saanich Legacy Foundation, which has contributed approximately $156,000 over the past 10 years to the project, Little Spirits Garden provides a safe and inclusive space for families to grieve, a place where they find they are not alone in their loss.

Philip Bisset-Covaneiro, foundation board member, said donations come in for the garden from all over the world. The foundation’s mandate is to facilitate and ease the donation process for individuals and organizations that wish to support community based legacy projects.

October is pregnancy and infant loss awareness month and national pregnancy and infant loss awareness day is Oct. 15.

For more information visit royaloakburialpark.ca or saanichlegacy.ca/project/little-spirits-garden.


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