Service of Remembrance 2021

Helping After Neonatal Death invites you to join in ceremony with other HAND families to remember the beloved children still in our hearts. We will have music, poetry readings, and a social hour for sharing with others who have also experienced the loss of a baby. Family and friends are welcome to participate in this memorial celebration.

The health and safety of the HAND community is our highest priority. Out of an abundance of caution, this year’s event will be held virtually over Zoom (zoom.us). Meeting details will be provided a week prior to the event.

Please RSVP by September 3, 2021 to allow for shipping program and keepsakes prior to the event. Responses received after this date are welcome, but may not be included in the printed program.

Click here to RSVP

All ages welcome

We acknowledge that after the loss of a child it can be painful to see other children. Please remember that children present at the service have suffered the loss of a brother or sister or may be subsequent births. Parents who have children in attendance are sensitive to the fact that there are newly-bereaved families present. We all attend the service for the same reason: to honor the babies we so dearly miss.

About HAND

Helping After Neonatal Death (HAND) is a California non-profit 501(c)3 corporation, founded in 1983 to help parents, their families and their healthcare providers cope with the loss of a baby before, during, or after birth. There are no fees for our services. HAND relies entirely on donations to support its programs.

How to donate

Make a tax-deductible donation online, or write a check payable to HAND and mail to HAND Service of Remembrance, P.O. Box 341, Los Gatos, CA 95031. For memorial donations, please note the baby’s and parents’ names and “2021 SOR” in the description or comments.

To have a name or any other submitted materials included in the printed program, all items must be received by September 3, 2021.

Click here to RSVP


HAND: 2020 in review

Dear HAND families — 

Helping After Neonatal Death is closing its 37th year providing grief support services to families who have lost a child before, during, or shortly after birth. HAND is run exclusively by volunteers – all bereaved parents – in the Bay Area. HAND relies entirely on your support so grieving parents can receive our services for free.

This year was very different for us all. In March we were able to begin virtual support groups. This has not only allowed us to continue to reach those we have already been supporting, but to broaden our reach to those who may have been limited due to distance. We are extremely thankful for our base of volunteers who were able to pivot and seamlessly continue the bi-monthly support groups.

Service of Remembrance
October 4, 2020
As with our support groups, SOR went virtual this year. Though we missed being able to gather in person we felt honored at the number of attendees who gathered online that day. Being virtual allowed family members from afar to join in and made this an even more memorable event for all. We do hope next year to gather in person and still have a virtual option open to those who desire it.

Holiday Craft Night
December 6, 2020
The holidays can be a hard time, as we think about the children who we are unable to share the holiday experience with. We were thankful to be able to virtually share our holiday crafts this year and many attendees even shared special holiday traditions they do in honor of their babies.

Volunteer Spotlight
HAND would not be what it is without our mighty team of volunteers. As the year comes to an end, we are especially grateful for our volunteers who have been extremely flexible this year and done all they can to make sure our HAND families feel supported. This year we also say goodbye and good luck to Janice Kelley, a longtime HAND volunteer. She has served with HAND as both a Director and Outreach Coordinator. We are so thankful for her generous donation of her time over the years.

HAND and You
If you are looking for a way to give back to HAND we are always in need of volunteers. There are small and big ways to help others, please contact us at info@handonline.org or 888-908-4263 if interested. Various positions we have available are:

  • Phone Volunteer: Field calls from bereaved parents and families
  • Outreach Volunteer: Field literature requests from hospitals

Other ways you can help support HAND’s mission:

  • Provide a financial contribution to make it possible to offer HAND’s services and materials at no charge to newly-bereaved families.
  • Talk about HAND to others; this can be especially helpful, reminding people that pregnancy and infant loss is common, and that HAND is available to help.

We wish you all a safe and happy 2021. 

Sincerely,

Kelly Symons
HAND President, 2020
Forever Remembering Hadley Avery Symons

HAND (Helping After Neonatal Death) is a California non-profit 501(c)3 corporation, founded in 1983 to help parents, their families and their healthcare providers cope with the loss of a baby before, during, or after birth. All contributions are tax deductible. There is no charge for our services and we rely on voluntary donations as our primary means of support.


HAND Holiday Schedule

Dear HAND families — 

We hope that you continue to be safe and well throughout the holiday season and ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

As mentioned in our previous message, HAND has temporarily suspended all meetings at the Mission Oaks Los Gatos location in response to Santa Clara County Public Health Department guidance “prohibiting all non essential gatherings of any number of individuals” in our region.

Despite these measures, HAND continues its mission to help parents, families, and healthcare providers cope with the loss of a baby before, during or after birth. While social distancing measures are in place, we’ll continue to offer peer support groups over Zoom. Please see individual meeting details for instructions on how to RSVP.

Last month, HAND hosted our annual Service of Remembrance virtually for the first time. While a different format than our usual in-person program, we were pleased with the outcome and level of participation in the event. Our volunteers were honored to be given the opportunity to lift up and support our bereaved families in observance of Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month.

For the upcoming holiday season, HAND will offer the following:

Virtual Craft NightRSVP here!
Dec 03, 2020 – 7:00 pm-9:00 pm PT
This year our annual holiday event is going virtual! We’ll miss the delicious potluck offerings and wide array of craft supplies laid out by our faithful volunteers, but we hope to find the same spirit of remembrance and joy crafting together virtually. This is a wonderful opportunity to connect with others who will be missing beloved family members this upcoming holiday season.

Subsequent Pregnancy SupportRSVP here!
Nov 25, 2020 & Dec 23, 2020 – 7:30 pm-9:00 pm PT
Subsequent Pregnancy Support meetings are provided to address the concerns of bereaved parents who have started or are thinking about starting another pregnancy. These peer support meetings usually take place on the 4th Thursday of each month but have been adjusted to account for the holidays.

Our meeting schedule for Pregnancy and Infant Loss Support remains otherwise unchanged. HAND also continues to provide phone support during this time. Phone Volunteers can listen, share their experiences with loss, and offer valuable information and resources.

Thanks to our gracious and dutiful HAND volunteers for enabling us to continue serving our mission.

HAND (Helping After Neonatal Death) is a California non-profit 501(c)3 corporation, founded in 1983 to help parents, their families and their healthcare providers cope with the loss of a baby before, during, or after birth.


Support While Social Distancing

Dear HAND families — 

Our thoughts are always with you and the entire HAND community, even more so as we navigate the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic together.

As mentioned in our previous message, HAND has temporarily suspended all meetings at the Mission Oaks Los Gatos location in response to Santa Clara County Public Health Department guidance “prohibiting all non essential gatherings of any number of individuals” in our region.

As nearby hospitals flex to care for unprecedented numbers of patients, we’re sadly aware that among those patients are bereaved parents, families, and health care providers coping with the recent loss of a baby. It’s also important to recognize that in times of stress and isolation, it’s very common for prior traumas to resurface.

While social distancing measures are in place, HAND continues its mission to support those grieving the loss of a baby before, during, or after birth. HAND is now providing the following services:

  • Phone support. We have increased the number of volunteers who are available to provide phone support during this time. Call us at 1 (888) 908-4263 and leave a message on our confidential voicemail system. A volunteer (also a bereaved parent) will call you back, usually within few days.
  • Printed materials. Request a “grief packet” or other support materials to be mailed to you. To request materials call 1 (888) 908-4263 or email us at info@handonline.org.
  • Website and social media. Follow our social media channels (Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter) in addition to searching our website (handonline.org) for useful information, such as recommended books and other websites.

If you find yourself in need of support, please don’t hesitate to contact us. The health and well-being of our families, volunteers, and community is always our top priority.

Be safe and well.

–Kelly Symons
HAND President


Our response to COVID-19

Attention!

Please see our April 8th post for more up-to-date support information.

Dear HAND families — 

The health and well-being of our families, volunteers, and community is always our top priority. Amidst the ongoing response to the COVID-19 pandemic, we sincerely hope that you’re all staying safe, healthy, and reliably informed.

In observance of the latest guidance (March 16, 2020) from Santa Clara County Public Health Department “prohibiting all non essential gatherings of any number of individuals” in our region, HAND is suspending all meetings at the Mission Oaks Los Gatos location, effective immediately.

We will continue to monitor the situation and respond accordingly should these restrictions change. In the meantime, we are committed to providing support in the following ways:

  • Phone support. We have increased the number of volunteers who are available to provide phone support during this time. You can call HAND at 1 (888) 908-4263 and leave a message on our confidential voicemail system. A volunteer (who also a bereaved parent) will call you back, usually within few days.
  • Printed materials. You can also request a “grief packet” or other support materials to be mailed to you. To request materials call 1 (888) 908-4263 or email us at info@handonline.org.
  • Website and social media. You can follow us on our social media channels (Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter) in addition to searching our website (handonline.org) for useful information, such as recommended books and other websites.

The measures taken in response to this pandemic and in the interest of public health, though unprecedented, are necessary and we are committed to doing our part to reduce the spread of this virus.

If you are in need of support during this time, please don’t hesitate to contact us. Our volunteers are deeply honored to be entrusted with the memories your precious children and we all share similar experiences of heartbreak and loss.

Our goal at HAND remains the same: to provide hope and support for bereaved parents, families, and care providers coping with the loss of a baby before, during or after birth. We intend to carry on this mission to the best of our ability.

Stay safe and be gentle with yourselves.

–Kelly Symons
HAND President


Reflecting on 2019: A letter from HAND President, Kelly Symons

“The reality is that you will grieve forever. You will not ‘get over’ the loss of a loved one; you will learn to live with it. You will heal and you will rebuild yourself around the loss you suffered. You will be whole again, but you will never be the same. Nor should you be the same nor would you want to.”
– Elizabeth Kubler-Ross

  

Helping After Neonatal Death

2019 Annual Letter

Dear HAND Families –

Helping After Neonatal Death is closing its 36th year providing grief support and services to families who have lost a child before, during, or shortly after birth.

HAND is run exclusively by volunteers – all bereaved parents – in the Bay Area. We all strive to provide families with a safe place to land.

Your feedback matters

Whether you’ve attended a meeting or annual event, received printed materials or phone support provided by HAND, your feedback is extremely valuable.

By responding to this short survey, you enable us to learn from your experience, to improve our services and better support bereaved families in the Bay Area.

Do you have 10 minutes to help us?

Take our survey

Our community events

Service of Remembrance – October 6, 2019

Celebrating the memory of the children we have lost is both beautiful and difficult at the same time. Every October we gather to honor the memory of our children. HAND families spend time connecting with old and new friends; and providing comfort to one another.

Holiday Craft Night – December 5, 2019

The holidays tend to be a difficult time for families who have experienced the loss of a child. Every December HAND provides a night for all to gather, to provide joy at this trying time. Families come to mingle, share stories and create a holiday memento of their child.

“What HAND Means to Me”

We asked parents what HAND means to them. Here are some highlights:

“HAND has given me a place to go where I feel understood and can share freely.”

“HAND understands me and allows me to grieve on my own terms.”

“HAND provides a comforting refuge during a dark storm and continues to comfort through the years of learning a new normal.”

“HAND gave me a safe space to begin to process, express, and honor the loss of my son. It was like learning a new language, and meeting others who spoke the same.”

HAND and YOU

As we close 2019 we’re so very thankful for our volunteers and the time they give to help grieving families.

There’s a place for you at HAND. Our board is always looking for new faces with unique experiences and perspectives. Most volunteer positions require minimal time. We currently have openings for meeting facilitators, phone volunteers, and a general outreach committee.

If you are looking for a way to give back in 2020, we would love for you to join us.

Be a volunteer

Support Our Mission

We rely entirely on your support so grieving parents can receive our services for free.

Though we would desire to live in a world without neonatal loss, we don’t.

Here’s how you can help us.

Volunteer time to support to families in need. There are small and big ways to help others, please contact info@handonline.org or 888-908-4263 if interested.

Talking about HAND to others can be especially helpful, reminding people that pregnancy and infant loss is common, and that HAND is available to help.

Provide a financial contribution to make it possible to offer HAND’s services and materials at no charge to newly bereaved families.

Make a donation

I wish you all a safe and happy 2020.

Sincerely,
Kelly Symons,
HAND President, 2019
Forever Remembering Hadley Avery Symons

Helping After Neonatal Death (HAND) is a California not-for-profit 501(c)3 corporation, founded in 1983 to help parents, their families, and their healthcare providers cope with the loss of a baby before, during, or after birth. HAND relies primarily on your donations to fund our programs to support parents and families.


HAND’s 2018 Annual Letter

“Grief is like the ocean; it comes in waves, ebbing and flowing. Sometimes the water is calm and sometimes it is overwhelming. All we can do is learn to swim.” – Vicki Harrison

⇓ Download HAND’s 2018 Annual Letter

Dear HAND Families-

Helping After Neonatal Death is closing its 35th year providing grief support services to families who have lost a child before, during, or shortly after birth. HAND is run exclusively by volunteers – all bereaved parents – in the Bay Area. HAND relies entirely on your support so grieving parents can receive our services for free.

Grieving Parents Need Our Help

According to a 2013 study by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, there are 600,000 annual miscarriages, 26,000 annual still births, and 18,000 infants who die before their first birthday. HAND alone received over 100 calls for help this year.

Service of Remembrance, October 7, 2018

HAND families gathered again on a beautiful Sunday afternoon at The Quinlan Center in Cupertino, to celebrate the memories of our precious babies. This gathering allows families to honor their child(ren) and to reconnect with old friends or make new ones with families who have experienced the loss of a baby.

Holiday Craft Night, December 6, 2018

We hosted a family craft night in December. The holidays can pose a harder time for those who are grieving. Our annual craft night gives families a time during the holiday season to join together and comfort one another.

“What HAND Means to Me”

We asked parents what HAND means to them, and here are some highlights:

“My baby’s death is still really fresh and the only support I have had is a phone call with a HAND volunteer. She was very helpful. I am still struggling, but I hope to use HAND more in the future to help me through my pain.”

“HAND is an awesome group of people who share a common life experience- being there to help, support and love.”

“HAND has been a great support and resource. It has been helpful to meet families with similar experience and to have a place to talk about our daughter.”

HAND and YOU

As we close 2018 we give thanks to our wonderful volunteers. If you are looking for a way to give back to HAND we are always in need of volunteers. We have not been able to resume our support groups in the Central Valley or East Bay as we had hoped to in 2018. We are also always in need of phone volunteer to field calls from bereaved families. Please reach out to us at info@handonline.org.

These are some of the ways you can help support HAND’s mission:

Volunteer time to support to families in need. There are small and big ways to help others, please contact us at info@handonline.org or 888-908-4263 if interested.

Provide a financial contribution to make it possible to offer HAND’s services and materials at no charge to newly-bereaved families.

Talk about HAND to others can be especially helpful, reminding people that pregnancy and infant loss is common, and that HAND is available to help.

YES, I want to continue to support HAND’s important work!

I wish you all a safe and happy 2019.

Sincerely,

Kelly Symons, HAND President, 2018
Forever Remembering Hadley Avery Symons

⇓ Download HAND’s 2018 Annual Letter


HAND’s 2017 Annual Letter

“If you know someone who has lost a child, and you’re afraid to mention their child because you think you might make them sad by reminding them that they died-you’re not reminding them. They didn’t forget they died. What you’re reminding them of is that you remembered that they lived, and this is the greatest gift” – Elizabeth Edwards

Dear HAND Families-

Helping After Neonatal Death closed its 33rd year providing grief support services to families who have lost a child before, during, or shortly after birth. HAND is run exclusively by volunteers – all bereaved parents – in the Bay area. HAND relies entirely on your support, so grieving parents can receive our services for free.

Grieving Parents Need Our Help

Sadly, we don’t live in a world in which infant loss doesn’t happen and grieving families are not in need. Everyday more and more families are in need of a helping hand to support them at this difficult time, though we don’t get the opportunity to help them all the ones we do are supported forever. HAND currently runs grief group support meetings in the Los Gatos area; and fields support calls on a daily basis from grieving parents, families, friends and health providers. We provide local hospitals with materials to assist grieving parents and run two annual events celebrating the lives of the babies we have lost. All of these services are provided by our selfless volunteers who need your help. Though a small and mighty group, we are always wanting to welcome new HAND volunteer!

Service of Remembrance, October 1, 2017

HAND families joined together on a beautiful Sunday afternoon to celebrate the memories of all the precious babies gone to soon. Though difficult the service was touching allowing our HAND families to spend the afternoon reflecting upon their losses and gathering strength among those who understand the journey.

HAND HOLIDAY CRAFT NIGHT, December 7, 2017

We once again gathered in December for our Holiday Craft night. This is a wonderful family event allowing parents, grandparents, siblings and friends to create a memento in honor of their children.

“What HAND Means to Me”

We asked parents what HAND means to them, and here are some highlights:

“HAND has helped me with the loss of my granddaughter. I’ve been to a couple of meetings with my daughter and I feel all the love and support that she and I get from the other Moms who have experienced the sadness of loss. My daughter has also met a great group of moms who have formed a supportive network.”

“HAND is a support system that continually reminds me I am not alone in my journey and provides me hopes in getting through this difficult time.”

HAND and YOU

As we look to 2018 and all that we hope the New Year brings- HAND needs you. We have been unable to resume our support meetings in the Modesto and East Bay areas. We are looking for new meeting facilitators to help in those areas, as well as, an editor to help with revamping our publications. If you are interested in either of these roles please reach out to us at info@handonline.org. We would love the New Year to bring more volunteers to our HAND family.

Ways you can help support HAND’s mission:

Volunteer time to support families in need. As mentioned we have various positions available for those looking to donate their time. Please contact us at info@handonline.org or 888-908- 4263 if interested.

Provide a financial contribution to make it possible to offer HAND’s services and materials at no charge to newly-bereaved families.

Talk about HAND to others it can be especially helpful, reminding people that pregnancy and infant loss is common, and that HAND is available to help.

I wish you all a safe and happy 2018!

Sincerely,

Kelly Symons | President, 2017-2018
Forever remembering Hadley Avery Symons


HAND’s 2016 Annual Letter

“You were carried for only a moment, but you are loved for a lifetime” – Unknown

Dear HAND Families-

Helping After Neonatal Death is closing its 32nd year providing grief support services to families who have lost a child before, during, or shortly after birth. HAND is run exclusively by volunteers – all bereaved parents – in the Bay area. HAND relies entirely on your support, so grieving parents can receive our services for free.

Grieving Parents Need Our Help

Though we would like to believe in a world in which infant loss doesn’t happen and grieving families are not in need, that is not the case. Everyday more and more families are in need of a helping hand to support them at this difficult time. HAND currently runs grief group support meetings in the Los Gatos area; and fields support calls on a daily basis from grieving parents, families, friends and health providers. We provide local hospitals with materials to assist grieving parents and run two annual events celebrating the lives of the babies we have lost. All of these services are provided by our selfless volunteers who need your help. We were lucky enough to have 2 new volunteers join us in 2016, but we are always looking for ways to reach more families and provide more support for those who are grieving.

Service of Remembrance, October 2, 2016

HAND families joined together on a brisk Sunday afternoon to celebrate the memories of all the precious babies gone to soon. We moved SOR to a new location this year, and though we missed the beauty of Sanborn, this provided us with a great space to honor our loved ones. HAND families spent the afternoon reflecting upon their losses and gathering strength among those who understand the path we are walking.

HAND HOLIDAY CRAFT NIGHT, December 1, 2016

For the past few years we have held a Holiday Craft night, giving families another chance to come together. This is a wonderful family event allowing attendees to create a memento in honor of their children.

“What HAND Means to Me”

We asked parents what HAND means to them, and here are some highlights:

“HAND gives us an extended group that understands all we have been through and makes us feel we are not alone in our pain.”

“HAND is a support system for our whole family. The meetings allow us to share and remember our child.”

“HAND has given us the best support from day one. The phone volunteers and group meetings have provided light in a dark time.”

HAND and YOU

As the year closes and we look to 2017 you may be looking for a way to give back. HAND is always in need of new volunteers to help us continue to support those dealing with new and past losses. Sadly, this year we had to temporarily stop our support meetings in the Modesto and East Bay areas. We are looking for new meeting facilitators to help in those areas, as well as, some new phone volunteers. If you are interested in either of these roles please reach out to us at info@handonline.org. We would love the New Year to bring more volunteers to our HAND family.

Ways you can help support HAND’s mission:

Volunteer time to support families in need. As mentioned we have various positions available for those looking to donate their time. Please contact us at info@handonline.org or 888-908- 4263 if interested.

Provide a financial contribution to make it possible to offer HAND’s services and materials at no charge to newly-bereaved families.

Talk about HAND to others it can be especially helpful, reminding people that pregnancy and infant loss is common, and that HAND is available to help.

I wish you all a safe and happy holiday season.

Sincerely,

Kelly Symons | President, 2016
Forever remembering Hadley Avery Symons


HAND’s 2015 Annual Letter

“Those we love don’t go away, they walk besides us everyday” – Author Unknown

Dear HAND Families-

Helping After Neonatal Death is closing its 31st year providing grief support services to families who have lost a child before, during, or shortly after birth. HAND is run exclusively by volunteers – all bereaved parents – in the Bay area. HAND relies entirely on your support, so grieving parents can receive our services for free.

Grieving Parents Need Our Help

Though we would like to believe in a world in which infant loss doesn’t happen and grieving families are not in need, that is not the case. Everyday more and more families are in need of a helping hand to support them at this difficult time. HAND runs grief group support meetings in 3 different areas; and fields support calls on a daily basis from grieving parents, families, friends and health providers. We provide local hospitals with materials to assist grieving parents and run two annual events celebrating the lives of the babies we have lost. All of these services are provided by our selfless volunteers who need your help. We were lucky enough to have 3 new volunteers join us in 2015, but we are always looking for ways to reach more families and provide more support for those who are grieving. We would love the New Year to bring more volunteers to our HAND family. We currently have three open Board positions (with various time level commitments) and two field level positions working directly with families.

Service of Remembrance, October 11, 2015

HAND families joined together on a sunny Sunday afternoon to celebrate the memories of all the precious babies gone to soon. The families spent time together reading poems, listening to music and reciting the names of all HAND babies. It was a time for all to connect with peers and make mementos in honor of their children. This day allows us time to reflect upon our losses and to gather strength among those who understand what we have all been through.

“What HAND Means to Me”

We asked parents what HAND means to them, and here are some highlights:

“HAND was a source of immense light, generosity and solace at a time of tremendous darkness for my husband and I. HAND connects us to other parents who just understand. We are always grateful HAND has given us a place where we can talk openly about our beloved babies.”

“HAND helped us grieve and showed us that our grieving process was different from other losses. The meetings helped us to understand what we were feeling and taught us how to cope with our frustrations and each other.”

“HAND: A place to grieve, remember and love our loved ones with those who truly understand.”

“HAND helped me know I was not alone in the loneliest of times. The support of friends I met through HAND has helped me through the grieving process.”

HAND and YOU

As the year closes and we look to 2016 many may be looking for a way to give back. HAND is always in need of new volunteers to help us support the families who may experience a loss in 2016 and to continue to provide support to those dealing with past losses.

These are some of the way you can help support HAND’s mission:

Volunteer time to support families in need. We have various positions available for those looking to donate their time. Please contact us at info@handonline.org or 888-908-4263 if interested.

Provide a financial contribution to make it possible to offer HAND’s services and materials at no charge to newly-bereaved families.

Talk about HAND to others it can be especially helpful, reminding people that pregnancy and infant loss is common, and that HAND is available to help.

I wish you all a safe and happy holiday season.

Sincerely,

Kelly Symons | President, 2015
Forever remembering Hadley Avery Symons