AMARILLO – I have been on the front lines of the battle to restore respect for human life for over 24 years, and I thought I had seen just about everything. There is not much that can shake me up any more. But on June 11, I did one of the hardest things I have ever done.
After I left Schooler Funeral Home, it was a couple of hours before I could focus enough to begin to write what I had seen and experienced: A child-size casket containing 10 preborn babies. The babies varied in age from 25 days to apparently full term. The full term baby has flowing brown hair and the most beautiful little face. Jim Schooler, the funeral director, was kind enough to prepare me before allowing me to view the babies. “Rita,” he said, “I’m around dead bodies all the time, but this has hit me harder than anything I have ever experienced.”
I went to my car and got a Blessing Blanket for these little ones, and back in I went, with Jim leading the way to the room where the babies lay in state. These babies had been dead for at least 35 years but were preserved by a scientific research firm. Each was encased in an acrylic block, something like a paper weight with a baby inside. I could have been just another curious onlooker. But the babies had been entrusted to us for burial,and it was my job to sign the papers; ten papers for ten babies. Ten babies encased in ten cubes, in one casket.
It is impossible to wrap your mind around the cold reality that these children had been deprived of the most basic human dignity for over 35 years, and I wondered if anyone had ever hugged them or loved them. So I did. I picked each one up individually and walked across the room, holding the babies close to my heart. I put each one on the pink baby blanket that says “Wrapped in Jesus’ Love” and I took a picture of these precious little ones.
I spiritually adopted them, so that they would have an earthly mother who knows where their bodies will be buried and who loves them, and I signed each of their committal papers. And where it said “relationship” I wrote “Spiritual Mom.” As I placed each child back in the casket, I kissed the cold acrylic block that encased him or her. And I cried.
Tuesday evening, June 12, Bishop John W. Yanta presided at the rosary for the babies at Schooler Funeral Home, assisted by Msgr. CalStalter. More than 75 people came to pray for the souls of the babies and for their parents. Then on Wed., June 13, Bishop Yanta presided at their burial at the Hour of Mercy in Memory Gardens, near the statue of the Holy Family.
Special thanks to Schooler Funeral Home, Memory Gardens and Scott’s Flowers for donating their services in honor of these children. Msgr. Harold Waldow will celebrate the Mass of the Holy Innocents for the babies on July 7 at 9:30 a.m. at St. Mary’s in Amarillo. Please join us in remembering these little children who never celebrated a birthday, never felt a mother’s hug, and who waited so long for a Christian burial.Submitted by Rita Diller, Amarillo, TX
Labels: Aborted baby burials