For Patients and Families
How many years has the Time for Remembering Ceremony been held?
We have been holding the Time for Remembering event each spring since 1998.
How many people attend?
About 600 people attend. You will see families, friends of families, hospital staff and volunteers.
Is there a limit to the number of family members who can attend?
Bring as many family members as you like. We ask is that you let us know the number who will be attending. Do this by using our online reply form or by calling us at 615-936-2558.
What type of clothing should I wear to the event?
Families wear jeans, khakis, custom printed T-shirts celebrating their child, as well as dresses and suits.
Where is parking and the event location?
Please allow time for your travel, parking, and walking to the event. The Medical Center is always busy, and parking in a multi-level parking garage can take some time. Langford is a short walk from the garage. We will have signage to lead the way.
If anyone in your group may need walking assistance or a wheel chair, please call our offices ahead of time. We can direct you to the best parking and assistance options that will make getting to Langford Auditorium easier.
What is the ceremony like?
The ceremony is celebratory, thoughtful, caring, and beautiful. It starts at 3 p.m. with a welcome from a hospital administrator and our chaplain. The ceremony then continues with responsive litanies, music, speakers, and the reading of the names of the children.
At the ceremony's conclusion, we invite families to plant flowers in the Children’s Garden, have light refreshments, and pick up a rosemary plant to take home. You will have a chance to catch up with staff and families you may have met during your stay at the hospital during the reception and at the planting area.
Is it sad? Will I cry?
It is an honor for the staff of the Children’s hospital to have cared for you and your child, but it is also important that we take the time with you to honor their lives. It is okay to cry. We will cry with you, celebrate your child with you, and listen as you tell loving stories about your child.
Is it okay for me to bring my children?
We encourage you to bring your family no matter their age. Yet, we realize it may be hard for some children to sit through the ceremony. For that reason we provide a supervised Kid Zone where ages 18 months to teen years can participate in crafts and games. Please let us know the number of children attending and their ages when you fill out the response/RSVP form.
Sometimes infants may cry during the ceremony. If you need help with a crying child, please signal to one of our Children’s Hospital NICU nurses or staff in the auditorium. They are available to help and are known for their unique talents of calming children.
Do I get to take my child’s flower home?
We plant flowers to celebrate the lives of the children and provide a visible sign of remembrance to all those who see the flowers. But you may choose to take your child’s flower home instead. We offer each family one flower to plant.
Can I go back to the hospital and visit staff after the ceremony?
To protect families' privacy and provide a healing and restful environment for hospital patients, we ask that you do not visit the hospital on the day of the ceremony. Please let us know when you respond/RSVP or call us at any time before the ceremony to let us know which staff members you wish to see that day. We will let the staff members know that you and your family have requested their attendance.
Can my family and I attend the event next year?
You can attend the ceremony as many years as you like. At the end of the ceremony, we will post the website address where you may request an invitation. The address will also be printed in the program, or you can call us any time to ask about the next Time for Remembering.
Where can I purchase a copy of the song We Remember You?
The writers and performers of the song, Mary Bomar Ritter and Bob Ritter have made the song available for download for 99 cents.
What happens if it rains?
The event is held rain or shine. For light rain, we have umbrellas on hand and a tent that we use to shelter families as they plant the flower. If there is a storm with thunder and lighting, we will postpone the planting for safety reasons. (The planting of the flowers will be finished by staff and we will post pictures of the completed garden on our webpages for all to see.)
What is the Children’s Garden?
The Children’s Garden was designated on the Medical Center property to hold plantings to honor children who have died. The Garden is planted each spring by families who attend the Time for Remembering ceremony. The Garden and the butterfly are symbols for our bereavement program here at the Children’s Hospital. Both symbolize the cycle of life.
How many rosemary plants can I take?
Each family may take one rosemary plant.
Where can I smoke?
Can I bring snacks into auditorium?
No drinks or snacks are allowed in the auditorium at any time. After the ceremony, there will be a reception with light snacks and refreshments.
Vanderbilt®, Vanderbilt University Medical Center®, V Oak Leaf Design®,
Monroe Carell Jr. Children's Hospital at Vanderbilt®, and Vanderbilt Health®
are all trademarks of The Vanderbilt University.
© 2017 Vanderbilt University Medical Center. All rights reserved.