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Rose giving a gift basket to Jenny from McMaster Children's Hospital Child Life department outside of the hospital.
Rose Szypula, left, honours her late son Aaron each year by giving gifts to children at McMaster Children’s Hospital on his birthday. Aaron died shortly after birth in 1994. October 15 is Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day.
October 15, 2021

Remembering and honouring a son and brother

For 27 years, Rose Szypula and her family have been delivering gifts to children at McMaster Children’s Hospital on one special day each year. (TW infant death)

A year of loss and joy

Rose, Ethan, Sydney, Samantha and Chester

Rose, Ethan, Sydney, Samantha and Chester

It has been 27 years since we lost our son Aaron. He was a big boy, weighing in at 9lbs. 14oz. September 15, 1994 was supposed to be a wonderful day. My husband Chester and I were to meet our first child and experience the joy of becoming parents. But things did not go as we had planned. Aaron only lived for a very short time after delivery due to circumstances beyond our control. The McMaster staff worked extremely hard to bring him back but unfortunately they were unsuccessful.

The following year was a difficult one for us as well. But joy was to be had in late summer when I delivered our beautiful daughter Samantha. As Aaron’s first birthday was approaching, we were unsure how to celebrate him in a positive light. I thought to myself, how we could make other children feel the love that we had for our son? That’s when I decided to celebrate my son’s birthday by donating a gift wrapped up in bows and ribbons to the pediatric ward at McMaster every year.

Making a difference with Aaron’s legacy

It has become an extremely rewarding and cathartic tradition for our family. We had two more children after we had Samantha. Our wonderful son Ethan and our baby girl Sydney. When they were young, I would bring them with me to the hospital to make our donation so that they could understand the importance of trying to make a difference in people’s lives. To put a smile on a child’s face who otherwise had been having a rough day was the end goal. Our son Aaron’s legacy has become a wonderful testament to our ability to show others compassion, joy and love. Something we all could use a little more of.

Rose and Chester at the cemetery

Rose and Chester at the cemetery

Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day

Pregnancy and infant loss is a topic many people shy away from. When a loss happens, the consequences of that loss are unique to each person.

October 15 is Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day. The PAIL network (Pregnancy and Infant Loss) offers resources for families who have experienced a loss. You do not need a referral to access their services.

Hamilton Health Sciences has created a resource for parents, friends and family: What to expect after pregnancy loss or losing a baby.

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