Families remember infants, children with lantern vigil - WSIL-TV 3 Southern Illinois

Families remember infants, children with lantern vigil

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CARTERVILLE, Ill. -- Families who have been affected by pregnancy loss or the death of a child kept their loved one's memory alive Monday night. Dozens from across Southern Illinois came together for the third annual Tender Lights Remembrance event at Walker's Bluff. 

One attendee is Anna resident Amanda Sheradin, who lost her twin girls in September 2016. "I was 23 weeks five days pregnant, so I was having a healthy pregnancy and I just went into very fast preterm labor," she says.  

Sheradin has not only been coping with the loss of her twins but has endured other recent hardships as a parent, "I actually went through two miscarriages in the last year." 

She has been coming to the candle light vigil for the past two years as a way to connect with other parents, "One of the biggest impacts we had was finding people in the community who had gone through something similar. 

Loved ones write messages and even draw pictures on lanterns and then release them into the water. Several attendees make it family inclusive with grandparents and siblings also participating in the ceremony. 

Kasey Fred, a co-founder of Tender Mercies hosting the event, says a photographer also captures the moment when families release the lanterns. "For me, it's like my complete family picture. It's something that we do to represent our daughters." 

Fred lost twin girls in 2003 and created the foundation with her two close friends, who also went through pregnancy and infant loss. Now, the women are helping others like Sheradin, through some of the toughest moments of their lives. 

"Hearing the three women and their stories has shown me how unique they are," Sheradin explains. "But also how common they are to all of us who have gone through infant loss and that was very reassuring." 

For more information on the Tender Mercies foundation, click here

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