By Dave Andrusko
There are few stories harder to write about than newborn babies dumped into trashcans like so much refuse. For whatever reason, we’ve heard about more of these tragedies in the past few months.
However every so often, we are uplifted when a community rises up to make sure that babies who were found dead do not remain a faceless, nameless statistic in the coroner’s office.
Last Saturday three abandoned babies were laid to rest at the “Garden of Innocence” in Bakersfield, California.
“The three children were found dead with no clues to who they were or what had happened to them,” wrote Lesley Marin. “Therefore, the community came together to start a Garden of Innocence in July.” All three were given names: Michael, David, and Gabriella.
Last June Gabriella’s lifeless body was discovered in Oildale, California, by a man taking out his garbage. “News of the grisly discovery comes on the same day that police in Montreal announced that the body of a small baby had been discovered in a solid waste tank in a sewage treatment plant just north of the city,” reported John Jalsevac. “They said the baby had likely been flushed down a toilet.”
On Saturday close to 100 people came to bury the children. Casey Christie’s account in The California was as lovely as what happened to the children was ugly:
“Wrapped in homemade blankets with a toy, the babies’ urns were escorted to the front of the garden as a Scottish bagpiper played a melody. A ‘chain of love’ was formed to bid them farewell.
“Standing next to her mom, 8-year-old Emily Villanueva held and kissed the top of each baby’s wooden urn. When Villanueva heard about the unidentified babies a couple of months ago, she asked her mom if they could attend the burial.
“’I felt sad for these babies because they never had the chance to experience life or learn right from wrong,’ Villanueva said.”
At the end of the ceremony, seven doves were released. As the babies’ names were read aloud, the doves flew in unison, disappearing into the sky.
“This garden helps people find closure, especially in Gabriella’s case,” Elissa Davey said. “Now they can remember her as the baby that is buried here instead of where she was found.”
According to Christie, Gabrielle was to be the first baby buried in the Garden of Innocence. But as plans were being made, Davey learned of two other babies.
“Baby David had already been put into the vault at Union Cemetery and was going to be placed in a potter’s field, but Davey wanted him to be together with Gabriella and Michael, whose circumstances weren’t shared,” Christie wrote. “All three babies now rest under a blanket of rose petals.
“They are home, Davey said.”