WEST ALEXANDRIA — A Preble County woman is joining forces with a local business to ensure that those who’ve suffered through an abortion or miscarriage have a place to grieve.
“We want to give them a place to come, so if they need to cry it out, they can cry it out,” Eaton resident and author Tamara Webb said.
The space will be located behind Preble Memory Gardens Funeral Center, according to Webb, and will include lighting, a garden space with flowers, a tree and a bench, and a bronze marker reading “Preble County Memorial for the Unborn.” The marker will include an ultrasound image created by local artist Toni Gilbert.
90 percent of women who miscarry don’t get to hold a memorial or funeral service, according to Webb. Webb had an abortion when she was 21, so she has firsthand experience of the emotional struggles such women face. She published a book about her experience, called “A Rose Among Ashes,” in May 2020.
“Everyone’s talking about mental health right now – this is a mental health issue,” Webb said. “I know women who’ve held it in for 20-plus years before they let it out, and it disrupts every area of your life.”
Even though women who have had abortions or miscarriages may be suffering, Webb said they often receive little support or sympathy from their community.
“I’ve heard people say, ‘She deserves what she’s got coming to her,’” Webb said of those who’ve had an abortion. “Well, no she doesn’t. These women need to begin to heal. Or I’ve heard people say of a woman who’s had a miscarriage, ‘Well, she wasn’t that far along, so she just needs to get over it.’ Statements like those will shut doors on the emotions of these women.”
Webb has personally experienced the therapeutic value of expressing those emotions.
“When you begin to heal from it, your life changes, and you feel like all the chains are broken,” Webb said.
Webb stressed that fathers, grandparents and others also suffer the pain of a loved one’s abortion or miscarriage.
“Men often don’t show their emotions, so it’s a place for them to come too,” Webb said.
Webb stated she often visits the grave of a nine-year-old family member who passed away.
“I sit out there and cry sometimes,” Webb said. “For those individuals who don’t have that – this is for them.”
According to Webb, her faith played a big part in encouraging her to begin raising funds for the memorial.
“I was sitting at home, and the Lord just started talking to me about healing, and about what needs to be done, for women and for men,” Webb said.
Webb reached out to Eshelle Bales and her husband, who own Bales Funeral Home and Preble Memory Gardens, and found they were more than eager to help.
“They were very willing to join me in this – we both have the heart for it,” Webb said.
Bales expressed empathy for those suffering in the aftermath of a miscarriage or abortion.
“I get it,” Bales said. “Not everybody gets the opportunity to grieve, so where does someone go?”
Bales also owns The Little Shop of Sharing in Camden.
Response to their fundraising efforts has been positive so far, according to Webb, with help from Grace Brethren Glenwood in West Alexandria and other local organizations. A recent dinner raised about $1,800 of the projected $5,000 needed to make the memorial a reality. Donations can be made out to Preble Memory Gardens at 3377 U.S. Rt 35 E. in West Alexandria, according to Bales, with memo specifying “donation for the unborn.”
Webb hopes the people of Preble County will take solace from the memorial.
“I’ve had people come up to me in the grocery store and say, ‘Oh, by the way, here’s a donation,’” Webb said.“We just know we’re helping somebody, and that’s the important thing.”
Reach Anthony Baker at 937-683-4057 or on Facebook @mproperenglish