It is one thing when somebody  dies  in  old  age,  after a  good  life  but  it  is  truly devastating  when  a  baby  dies, or  is  born  dead.  It  is  the  stuff of  nightmares  so  we  are very grateful to Claudia and Tim who have very bravely shared  their  experiences with More to Death.

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Six  weeks  before  the  due  date,  parents  Claudia  and  Tim  were  informed their  unborn  child  did  not  have  a heartbeat.  Claudia  was  induced, knowing  she  would  be  giving  birth to  their  stillborn  child  at  34 weeks.

Linda,  Hypnobirthing  Practitioner  and  Doula  was  with  Claudia  at Warwick hospital.

“Linda  stayed  by  our  sides  throughout  our  entire  stay  in  hospital,  providing so  much  support –  physical,  emotional and  practical.

We  managed  to  spend two  days  with  our  little  Lewis  following his birth and  we have so  many  positive  and  happy  memories of  our  time  with  him, thanks to Linda”. 

Linda  contacted  David  Abel  at  Sleeping  Angels  and  arranged  for  David  to  meet  Claudia and Tim.  Early  in  the  conversation,  Claudia spoke of her grief and the stark reality of the situation..

“He was born dead!” says Claudia.

 

That said, Claudia  doesn’ t  have  an  issue  with the  term  ‘sleeping  babies’  which  is often  used  in  the  situation  of  a   stillborn   child   and   is   most  probably  going  to  include  it  on  Lewis’s  plaque  at Sun  Rising  Natural  Burial  Ground).

Community midwife, Karen, provided outstanding support for Claudia.

Karen   comes   to   visit   me   every  couple  of   days.  We  sit  and  chat  about  Lewis  and  about  how  I  am  feeling.  It’s really  helpful  to  be  able  to  chat to  someone  who  has  been  with  us  on this  journey.  Karen  has  provided  us  with fantastic  emotional  support,  and  has  become such  a  dear  friend  to  us”.   

Lewis  was  born  on  May  1st  and  his family  were  able  to  spend  many  hours that  day  loving  him  and  getting  to  know  him – he claimed a special place in all their hearts.

Following  a postmortem examination at Birmingham  hospital,  Lewis  was  taken  into  the  care  of David  Abel  at Sleeping Angels.

Sleeping  Angels  offer a free professional service to bereaved parents.

Sleeping  Angels  assist  and  advise  on all  matters  relating  to  the  funeral service.

They  provide  a  specialized  funeral  celebrant  who  can  give  additional  support  to  the  family  and  then  write  and  conduct  the  funeral  service.

Claudia  and  Tim  were  taken  to  Sun Rising  Natural  Burial  Ground,  where they  met  the  owner,  Emma. They chose the final resting place for Lewis.

Babies are transported in a Sleeping Angels funeral vehicle, an ice blue Renault  which is decked similar to a hearse internally without the appearance  of  a  formal/traditional hearse.

When  the  little  one  is  collected  from their  resting  place;  either  hospital  or home,  a  body  bag  will  be  used only as  a  very  last  resort.

Lewis  was  cared  for  and  prepared  for burial  by  Sleeping  Angels.   When parents  choose  to  have  their  little one  at  home,  non-invasive  measures are  taken  to  accommodate  the  parents’ needs.

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A  cuddle  cot  (cold cot)  allows  parents to spend an additional few days with  their  baby  at  home,  should  they so choose.

The photos shows the beautiful wicker coffin supplied for Lewis.

On the day of the funeral, Lewis was taken, sitting between Mummy and Daddy,  in  a  green  jaguar  car  provided by Sleeping Angels.

“The funeral service that David wrote and  delivered  for  Lewis  was  so  beautiful  and  heartfelt – just perfect. For a day that I was dreading,  I  actually  have wonderful  memories.  

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It  really  was  the most  fitting,  bespoke  service  for our  beloved  little  boy.  We  couldn’t  have asked  for  more  from  the  day”.

A memorial service will be arranged for Lewis at a future date.

“The  service  provided  by  Sleeping  Angels has been amazing. David took the  time  to  visit  us  at  home  and  also took  us  to  see Sun  Rising  Natural  Burial  Ground,  and  possible  places  to  hold a  future  memorial  service.  The  service that  David  put  together  was  just  perfect –  unique  and personal  to  our  little  boy.  We  were  able  to  travel  the  last ever  journey  with  Lewis,  with  him  lying  in  between  his  mummy  and  daddy, resting  in  the  most  beautiful  willow casket. 

“We  feel  that  Lewis  had  the  very  best of  care  at  Sleeping  Angels  and  were very  touched  that  he  was  never  alone, and  that  the  love  and  time  was  taken  to  read  him  stories  and  sing  lullabies to  him  throughout  the  night.  The  ‘quiet’  room  is  set  up  so  beautifully,  with  toys and  butterflies  on  the  walls, and  a  moses  basket,  just  like  a nursery  at home.

“Since  hearing  the  most  horrible  news that  we  had  lost  our  precious  baby,  all  I  think  about  is  my  little  Lewis,  and I  can’t  escape  this  at  night  either  in  my dreams.  However,  the  only  night  I didn’t  dream  about  it,  was  the  night before  the  funeral.  I believe  this was  because  I  knew  Lewis  was  safe  and being  looked  after  at  Sleeping  Angels. 

So  much  warmth  and kindness  has been  shown  to  us  and  it  is  incredible that  this  has  been  offered  to  us  for free”.

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As  Claudia  writes,  everything  mentioned  above  is  provided  absolutely free of charge.   Sleeping  Angels  have  a  transparency  policy.  Nothing  is  hidden.  If  there  are  any  fees  to  be  paid  they  will  be  declared  sooner  rather than later.  An example might be buying and planting a tree if the burial is on a woodland site.

Sleeping Angels is able to provide this service  due to generous donations from families and local businesses.

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Sleeping  Angels  are  NOT    funeral  directors,  but  can  do everything a funeral director does without being the men “in black”.  

They  cannot  and  should  not  be compared  with  corporate funeral directors  for  six  reasons:

  • They  are  a  Community  Interest  Company, which is a special type of limited company  that  exists  to  benefit  the community rather than private shareholders.
  •  All profit  is  invested  back  into  the local community.
  •  The intention is to remove concern about money – their service is free.
  •  They rely on generous donations and grants  to  fund  everything  they  provide.
  •  They can be there for you before, during  and  following  the death of your little one.
  •  Parents  may  spend  as  long  as  they desire  with  their  little  one  in  the  ‘quiet  room’.  This  is  far  more  than  a chapel  of  rest.  It  is  decorated  as  a nursery with butterflies  all over the wall.

The  vision  for  the  future  of  Sleeping Angels is for a nationwide Celebrant led  funeral  industry.  Bereaved  families  should  be  made  aware  of  the choices  available  to  them.

David  would  very  much  like  to  hear from  funeral  celebrants who might like  to  explore  the  possibility  of  working with  Sleeping Angels  in  their area,  in the  future.

Only celebrants operating from their heart and soul, and not motivated by money, should contact David.

The  nature  of  this  specialized  vocation  generally  involves  additional time  being  spent  with  the  family  that is reflected  in  remuneration.

At  the  moment  sleeping  Angels  serves families  in  North  Oxfordshire  and  surrounding counties.  Milton Keynes will  be  the  next  branch  to open  with  plans  to  become  nationwide  in  the  future.

baby6DAVID’S HISTORY

With  a long  history  as  an  ordained Minister and Independent Celebrant, David  was  well  established  in  performing  firstly  celebratory  ceremonies and then, later, heartfelt funeral services in a personal and heartfelt way.

Before  retirement,  David  was  leader  of  two  rural  churches.   He  decided to  pioneer  a  new  organization  helping couples  ‘tie  the  knot’  in  a  less  traditional  way.  This  proved  to  be  a  welcome  alternative  to  church  and registry office ceremonies.

His  style  of  funeral  also  changed: no  longer  restricted  to  the  ‘Order  of Service’  experienced  in  the  church  he started  writing  personalized,  heartfelt funeral  services  that  truly  reflected the  life,  character  and  belief  system of  the  deceased.

David  became so  busy  with  his  new life  as  an  Independent  Celebrant,  he formed  FOIC –  an  organization  to  train celebrants  in  his  style;  funeral services  that  meet  the  needs  of the  majority  of  the  population who  prefer  not  to  have  a  funeral  in  church  (religious)  nor  that  of  a  humanist  service (non religious).

 

Writing  and  officiating  tailor  made funeral  services  with  little  religion  or no  religion  is  his  passion.

In  an  attempt  to  make  a  significant difference  to  parents  heartbroken  by miscarriage,  stillbirth  and  baby  death, David  established  Sleeping  Angels Funeral  Services  CIC.

Being a Community Interest Company, registered with Companies House, all profit  is  reinvested  back  into  the  local community.

David can be reached at admin@sleeping-angels.org.uk