Not the first, not the last

February 2nd, 2009

Just came in from saying the children’s memorial service I’ve chanted the first Sunday of every month since June of last year, a service in which I recite the names of lost and unborn children (some were long since children; some never were) sent in by readers. This is now the ninth time I’ve done this service in my backyard, usually with the dog, sometimes kids, always birds and bugs, over the din, under clouds and shine, planting a stick of smoking incense, a spiraling wisp of emptiness, and reading a list now 94 names long, some of them names, some of them not, each one reborn with the echo of sound, the heartbeat of time, the moment that comes on the first Sunday and goes on forever.

It’s never too late to include your lost loves by leaving a comment here.

Photo originally uploaded by HoneyMill.


  1. Ferdinand.

    Comment by Jane_hates_Dick — February 2, 2009 @ 4:19 am

  2. Wow. Thats amazing of you. I’ve had many miscarriages before my son and the hurt never goes away, I couldn’t imagine losing a child. Bless you for recognizing those little angels.

    Comment by Jeannie — February 2, 2009 @ 4:32 am

  3. Thank you. Please add our Baraka (swahili for blessing), born Mothers Day 2006 at 20 weeks.

    Comment by Anonymous — February 2, 2009 @ 4:34 am

  4. river.

    Comment by Anonymous — February 2, 2009 @ 4:56 am

  5. Seth. Lost after just three days in 2007. My cousin’s son. Thank you.

    Comment by Anonymous — February 2, 2009 @ 10:11 am

  6. Anna Lee one of my best friends little girls and Alice another friends precious little one who was lost.
    Thank you and love

    Comment by Amber — February 2, 2009 @ 11:15 am

  7. Dakota. He was a 12 yr. old boy who accidentally slid on the ice and under a school bus while horse playing with friends and was killed when the bus pulled away. It’s a horrible tragedy that our whole community is going through at the moment.
    Thank you for your kindness, Karen.

    Comment by Erin — February 2, 2009 @ 12:08 pm

  8. I can’t tell you how much comfort it gives me that my son Geroge’s name is spoken out loud somewhere else in the world and I can’t quite explain why!

    Thank you Karen, thank you.


    Comment by Barbara — February 2, 2009 @ 1:55 pm

  9. Please include my three, never born.

    And two girls from my extended family: Gabriella and Caroline.

    Thank you for doing this. It’s a comfort.

    Comment by She She — February 2, 2009 @ 3:41 pm

  10. Many months ago I added Hope to the Memorial Ceremony. I had a miscarriage last May. Last week, on Monday, again I had a little one who was only with me for 14 weeks. I was so comforted to see this post today, thank you. So, please add another of my little ones to your list. We didn’t name our little baby but for cremation they called him Baby Mann (our last name). Thank you so much for adding this comfort to sad parents and relatives lives.

    Comment by Jill — February 2, 2009 @ 4:47 pm

  11. What a wonderful thing you do. My baby is Alice (mentioned above by my sweet friend Amber) and Alice’s darling friend is George (also included above by his wonderful mummy Barbara). Thank you for what you do.

    Comment by Rach — February 2, 2009 @ 8:38 pm

  12. Hannah.

    Comment by Bridge — February 2, 2009 @ 9:33 pm

  13. Karen, you are such a beautiful soul. I just needed to tell you that.


    Comment by Debra W — February 2, 2009 @ 9:59 pm

  14. Karen, you are such a beautiful soul. I just needed to tell you that.


    Comment by Debra W — February 2, 2009 @ 10:00 pm

  15. And now I guess that I needed to tell you that twice! Or maybe, just maybe, you needed to hear it twice today?

    More hugs,

    Comment by Debra W — February 2, 2009 @ 10:05 pm

  16. Beautifully compassionate of you to do this dear one. I’m always saying prayers on the smoke for those who I come across and need it. It’s truly a sacred ritual. I’m often surprised it’s others I ask for, I seem to get so much in the serenity that comes from this. (Hugs)Indigo

    Comment by Indigo — February 2, 2009 @ 11:42 pm

  17. Kai Noa ~~ thank you Karen *

    Comment by Anonymous — February 3, 2009 @ 2:42 am

  18. Thank you for continuing to include our Sophie, who I included when you first started this 9 months ago. I have been away for a while from your site, but to come back today, on this day, and realized your prayers included her yesterday, have included her always, meant and means so much to me.

    Comment by Anonymous — February 3, 2009 @ 4:10 am

  19. Indeed. Amen.

    Comment by Karen Maezen Miller — February 3, 2009 @ 5:33 am

  20. Christopher.
    Thank you.

    Comment by Anonymous — February 3, 2009 @ 8:51 pm

  21. wow. this is amazing. please add my sweet, sweet sister, Sarah, who died suddenly at the age of 20 while traveling abroad (after completing her semester abroad) & following her dreams in may 2006.
    many, many thanks.

    Comment by Anonymous — February 4, 2009 @ 11:57 pm

  22. Zoe, my son’s little friend who should have been 4 this coming Thursday…

    Comment by Lana — February 6, 2009 @ 4:49 pm

  23. What a wonderful and caring thing to do. I will be forever grateful if you add “Baby H” to your list.

    Comment by Anonymous — February 6, 2009 @ 7:49 pm

  24. Thank you. Please add my Lima-bean (never born). And also Mira for a friend who lost her wee one in childbirth.

    Comment by Anonymous — February 7, 2009 @ 4:04 am

  25. please add my baby who i miscarried on new years day 2008 at 10 wks.
    i know i wasn’t pregnant that long and that i have a happy healthy 4year old but it still hurts sometimes.

    thank you karen,

    Comment by Bonnie — February 9, 2009 @ 3:07 pm

  26. Thank you for this, Karen. Thank you.

    Comment by Nikole — February 22, 2009 @ 1:29 pm

  27. Thank you, Karen.

    Comment by Stacy (mama-om) — February 25, 2009 @ 10:45 pm

  28. Please add Hannah Lea Jenner to your list ā™„ we just celebrated her transition's third anniversary
    You can read more about her
    Perhaps someday I'll be able to give you some of her ashes, so to bless your garden šŸ˜€

    Comment by hahamommy — March 5, 2009 @ 1:03 am

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