Rev. Mary Wrye, Director of Chaplaincy Services at Methodist Hospital,
explained, “It is especially difficult when trying to decide how
to respectfully lay a child to rest and the finances are just not there.
To that end, some years ago the OB nurses at Methodist Hospital, at the
leadership of Renee Croce, decided to have some bereavement boxes made.
They were made and stained by the husband of one of the nurses out of
scrap wood he had at home. They were beautiful. He made whatever size
was needed and supplied them to parents as they were needed. The nurses
thought that the baby also needed a soft blanket to encase them.”
Enter the Prayer Shawl Ministry at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church —
a group of women who knit and crochet prayer shawls for the community.
When asked if they would make small blankets to wrap the babies in as
they are laid to rest in these boxes, they unanimously agreed to take
on this special project.
In February, Rev. Wrye had the privilege of blessing the prayer shawls
this group of women continues to create. They provide comfort and blessing
to those who need an extra layer of support at St. Anthony’s Hospice,
Methodist Hospital and military veterans in the community, among others.
“One of the women in the group, Shelia Roberts, asked about the
blankets and the bereavement boxes they softened,” explained Rev.
Wrye. “I told her we were struggling with getting them made. The
nurse whose husband had originally made the boxes had retired. The maintenance
department at the Hospital had built a couple of boxes that were needed,
but we needed someone who might be willing to make our boxes.”
Roberts, who works at Henderson County High School, talked to Tony Rutledge,
who teaches construction/carpentry classes there. When he spoke to his
class about being the supply source of our bereavement boxes, class members
were, at first, hesitant.
Rutledge explained why they were needed and asked them what they would
do if something ever happened to a baby of theirs, and how would they
pay for it? Once the class realized the importance of the work they would
be taking on, they heartily agreed. Not only did they make and stain boxes
in all the sizes needed, the lids of the bereavement boxes are engraved
with a cross. They have offered to make additional boxes as they are needed.
“We at Methodist Hospital are so very grateful to Sheila Roberts,
Tony Rutledge and the students of the Henderson County High School construction
class,” said Rev. Wrye. “Because of their kind hearts and
generous spirits, parents who need help during an incredibly difficult
time will have it.”
Photo 1: Left to right: Cullin Gardner (junior), Ian Cosby, (sophomore), Gabe Turner
(sophomore) and Isaac Damrath (junior) are among some of the students
from Henderson County High School’s Construction/Carpentry class
that worked on the bereavement box project.
Photo 2: Left to right: Cullin Gardner (junior), Ian Cosby, (sophomore), Isaac
Damrath (junior) and Gabe Turner (sophomore) work together on building
Photo 3: Gabe Turner (sophomore) cuts a piece of wood to be used for a bereavement box.
Photos 4: Left to right: Ian Cosby, (sophomore), Cullin Gardner (junior), Isaac Damrath
(junior) and Gabe Turner (sophomore) pose with bereavement boxes that
were built in their Construction/Carpentry class at Henderson County High School.