Earlier in the week, when we were preparing the memorial card, Karen felt that an image of a kite would be meaningful. It was decided that the memorial service would include writing messages of blessing on a kite, and making our own paper kites to remember Tristan by. It 'just so happens' that kites have a special significance for the Tristan's forever family; as his mama wrote "Our home town has an annual kite festival that advocates for causes such as adoption. We had planned to take our Baby Boy with us to the festival. Now that this will not be possible we would like to fly his kite at the festival next spring." We will be sending this kite to them, for them to fly and keep.
While a slide-show of photographs of Tristan played, Grace read out the memorial card in Chinese, and a message from Tristan's parents, who would have been travelling to adopt him in just 10 days time. Karen shared an email message and video sent by the mama of a New Day graduate, which she had received just when she was most needing encouragement and a fresh reminder of why we do what we do here.
We need reminders like this, which is why our memorial services always seem to include looking at pictures or videos of children that have left to join their forever families. This work is hard. Loving children who may not make it is scary, and losses doesn't get easier. We need to see why it is worth it, and the faces of children who were once orphans, often battling serious illness, but are now thriving in families...this is exactly the reminder that we need. It's so worth it, but the pain is very real. In the picture above Sarah is comforting Sharon, our medical assistant, who went with Tristan to the hospital in the middle of night.
Doing something practical and creative is something that many of us find a very therapeutic and helpful way of reflecting and processing during a time of pain and loss. Everyone made their own decorated paper kites, and also wrote their own messages on the large kite.