Sarabjit has shared her experience about the death of her son, Arjan in 1991. Sarabjit also talks about how an Instagram post from Sands led her to seek out more information about the location of her son's ashes.

“Dear Sands Community,

Probably like you, I became involved with Sands due to a personal tragedy. In my case it was the neonatal death of my son, Arjan Singh Namas, on 1 February 1991. Linked to Sands, I came across an Instagram post supporting bereaved parents on tracing babies’ graves and cremation records. I thought it might be useful if I shared my experience following the post, in the hope it might be of assistance to other parents in a similar situation.

My deceased son was due to be my second child. What seemed to be a normal second pregnancy culminated to 12 weeks before the expected delivery date with severe abdominal pains which I presumed, at the time, were Braxton Hicks contractions. They were in fact full term labour requiring me to be rushed to hospital by ambulance. Within minutes of reaching hospital, I had given birth to my son and was told that he had a slim chance of survival. I at least had the blessing of knowing him for a couple of days before he passed away.

Despite being in a fog of despair and grief, all of the usual funeral arrangements had to be made. The appointed funeral directors, at the time, informed me that given Arjan’s premature size no ashes of a collectable quantity would be secured. I just accepted that claim at face value through a mixture of youthful naivety and the numbness of grief. Six months after the cremation, I then received a letter from the funeral directors saying that as Arjan’s ashes had not been collected they had been randomly scattered on our behalf. 

I was outraged, adding further pain to my grieving; what parent would not want the ashes of their child? I am sure that with greater awareness around mental health and the impact of grief, things would have been handled very differently today. Needless to say, there was a complete breakdown in trust between myself and the funeral directors. Combined with not being mentally robust enough at the time to deal with the situation, and the additional demands of my nine month old first-born, I could not see any option but to just accept the situation as it was, move on, and begin the recovery process.

Image of the location where Arjan's ashes are scattered and remembrance items including a photo of Arjan and candle by a tree

In January, Sands shared an Instagram story about bereaved parents tracing the remains of their babies. Equipped with the knowledge of a process to follow, I immediately returned to the funeral directors, and was able to ascertain where my dear Arjan’s ashes were scattered. On going to the site, there was a further degree of closure for me, because I felt I had found him. As a person of faith, the site is where I feel I can get a little closer to my missed son and speak to him. So much so, that this year was where I chose to celebrate his birthday, something that I shall repeat for the rest of my life.”

Thank you to Sarabjit for sharing her story.

Find out more about tracing babies’ graves and cremation records 

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