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Tear Catchers

Contact Information

Kimberly Weir,
Chaplain/Bereavement Coordinator,
Baptist Health Pastoral Care

Because of our commitment to the treatment of mind and body and spirit, Wolfson Children's Hospital offers compassionate and professional support to families who experience the death of a child. There are many common reactions to the loss of a child. Our hope is to assist families and friends to understand the grieving process and to encourage support of one another as they begin a most challenging journey.

Tear Catchers
Tear bottles have been utilized for more than 3,000 years. They are small, decorative jars which capture the tears of those mourning the death of someone deeply loved. They are symbolic of love, remembrance, and even joy. Recognizing that no one or no thing can stop the flow of tears of a grieving family, the "Tear Catchers" program exists to assist families as they begin their journey with support provided by chaplains, social workers, and other trained healthcare professionals.

For families experiencing the loss of an infant (due to miscarriage, stillbirth, pre-maturity, or a medical condition), Wolfson has adopted a program known as "Resolve Through Sharing" (RTS), which provides support materials specific to perinatal grief and loss.

Several components of our approach include the following:

Compassionate Presence

  • Families are provided time to be with and nurture their child.
  • End-of-life support is provided to families through the presence of healthcare professionals such as social workers, nurses, chaplains, child life specialists and other professionals who are trained in bereavement support.
  • Spiritual support is offered by a chaplain who is available to perform rituals such as blessings or baptisms. The chaplain may also contact appropriate local clergy upon the family's request. We seek to encourage the involvement of various communities of faith, and will assist in any way possible to obtain spiritual and emotional support from their church or faith group.

Support Materials
  • Families are provided brochures, booklets, and community resources, such as a list of local support groups.
  • For families experiencing perinatal loss, we provide "Resolve Through Sharing" materials specific to the death of an infant.
  • "Holiday help" brochures are made available at the annual remembrance ceremony.

Memory Making
  • We provide a basket to families to assist them in creating memories of their child. The basket includes items such as a decorative container for a lock of hair, an angel coin for a parent's pocket, clay and an ink pad/paper to make footprints or handprints, a disposable camera, and wildflower seeds which can be planted in memory of their child.
  • Also included are a homemade blanket or quilt (created by Wolfson Children's Hospital volunteers) and a journal to encourage the expression of thoughts and feelings in the days to come.
  • For families experiencing perinatal loss, we offer a keepsake box provided by a local ministry, Caleb Cares. Each box contains items such as a blanket, pillow, gown, and a book specific to perinatal loss. A professional photography program, "Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep" arrives within hours of contact and offers black and white photos of the baby and family if desired. Parents also receive a baby ring as one memento of their baby.

  • Throughout the first year following the death, families are offered support by way of cards sent at holidays and other days especially significant to them (i.e. the anniversary of their child's death).
  • Families are informed about and encouraged to attend appropriate support groups.
  • Families receive invitations to remembrance events which may be of interest to them.

Remembrance Events

An Annual Remembrance Ceremony, designed for families and staff, is held at the Baptist Downtown campus toward the end of the year. For information, contact Ms. Weir at .

The annual Walk to Remember, specifically for families who have experienced perinatal death, is a memorial walk which occurs each October at Jacksonville's riverfront.

An annual Holiday Gathering, specifically for families who have experienced perinatal death, occurs each December in conjunction with the St. Vincent's perinatal loss support group.

Other Resources

Here are some additional local and national organizational resources.

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