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Couple responds to loss of children with healing



Nate and Sheila Rempe of St. Stephen the Martyr Parish in Omaha display some of the gift items available at "Little Remembrances", a business they started to help those dealing with grief from the loss of a loved one. The young couple lost premature twin girls in May and decided to reach out to those in similar situations. Photo by Lisa Schulte - The Catholic Voice

By LISA SCHULTE
The Catholic Voice

What is a devastating loss for one Omaha couple is now a source of comfort for others.

Nate and Sheila Rempe, a young couple who lost their premature twin girls in May, are helping others who are grieving the loss of a loved one through 'Little Remembrances," an on-line business they founded in August.

'Little Remembrances" is their way of keeping the memory of their girls alive and of bringing comfort to others, they said.

'I wanted "˜Little Remembrances' to be comforting and hopeful and reassuring and soothing for people," Sheila, 28, said.

The Web site "“ www.littleremembrances.com "“ offers unique sympathy gifts, free sympathy cards, care packages and support services.

'If you think about the way grief works, it is like an energy that can take a toll on you if you don't have anywhere to put it," said Nate, who created the site designed the site. 'This is an opportunity for us to put that energy into something that can help people and also represent our girls."

Their girls, Kaylee and Claire, were born prematurely May 15 almost 23 weeks into the pregnancy. They lived for about an hour.

Sheila originally was pregnant with triplets, but lost one of the babies early in the pregnancy. They named that baby Alex.

'Losing Kaylee and Claire was like losing all of our hopes and dreams for them," Sheila said. 'I imagined them crawling all over Nate when he would come home from work. I wondered if they would like the same things. I thought about all the fun times we would have together.

'Then, in a blink of an eye, our precious babies were born too early and the only memory we are left with is holding them in our arms for only a short time as we watch their little lives slip away from us. It (losing our children) was the most devastating and heart breaking thing that we could ever experience," she said.

A SOURCE OF SUPPORT AND COMFORT

During their early stages of grieving, the Rempes, members of St. Stephen the Martyr Parish, said they found it difficult to find items that represented how they felt about their girls, especially when decorating their daughters' graves at Calvary Cemetery in Omaha.

That frustration sparked the idea for 'Little Remembrances." The items sold on the Rempes' Web site are hand-selected to ensure they don't make people sad, but help them remember. The items, including angels, memory candles and decorative garden stakes, send the message of hope, serenity and peace.

'We just want to try to make the experience as easy as possible for other people," Nate, 27, said.

Ten percent of the profits from 'Little Remembrances" will go to Omaha's Bergan Mercy Medical Center, which is where Sheila gave birth. They will go toward the infant bereavement support and will help the hospital purchase a digital camera and train nurses in how to prepare memory boxes.

People can make a direct donation to Bergan Mercy on the Web site through the KCA Foundation, named after Kaylee, Claire and Alex, and donations can be made in memory of a loved one.

The Web site also includes a support message board called Healing Thoughts, which is for all types of loss, including family members of all ages, friends and pets. The message board provides a place for people to share their experience and get support from others who have been through the same thing, Nate said.

The site also offers links to electronic sympathy cards and grief resources.

'Anyway that we can help other families who have gone through this is huge," Sheila said.

Oftentimes people feel uncomfortable and don't know what to say to people who have lost a loved one. That's why the Rempes also have a section on the Web site listing advice on what to say to or do for a friend who has experienced a loss.

'We just hope "˜Little Remembrances' helps people out," Nate said. 'If one person is like, "˜This helped me get through this,' then it's all worth it in the end."

KEY CHAIN BEADS TELL A STORY

Sheila Rempe custom makes special key chains that are available on www.littleremembrances.com. Each key chain is made of Swarovski Crystal, sterling silver daisy beads and sterling silver round beads. Each colored crystal sends a message.

Clear = Strength

Purple = Courage

Blue = Peace

Green = Comfort

Red = Hope

Peach = Memories

Each key chain comes sealed in a bag attached on a card with an uplifting message.

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