Mother keeps daughter’s memory alive with painted rocks on graves of other children

Posted at 10:35 PM, Jul 25, 2017
and last updated 2017-07-25 22:35:37-04

HASTINGS, Mich. -- Nicole Wieringa has found a unique way to honor the life of her daughter, who died when she was still in the womb. Wieringa is placing rocks on the graves of other children so their parents know they aren't alone.

It's a quiet sunny day at Riverside Cemetery in Hastings. Nicole Wieringa is walking with just a bucket in hand, filled with painted rocks. "I place a rock on there just to let that mom know that I see they are grieving, I see your baby's name, and I know they existed. I just wander back and forth and read each headstone and figure out the dates in my head, and I place a rock."

Wieringa began leaving the rocks on graves a few weeks ago. and she already has noticed a change in herself. "There's something therapeutic about walking around and finding children's graves, whether it's a baby or whether it's a 14-year-old," she said.

While she was 17 weeks pregnant with her third daughter, her doctor discovered her baby no longer had a heartbeat. "As soon as he put the wand on my stomach, I knew instantly that she was gone. Her body wasn't moving, and there was no heartbeat."

The next day, Nicole as induced and gave birth to Finley Grace. "Ten perfect fingers, 10 perfect toes, just too small. We buried her in Michigan about a week later."

Two years later, Wieringa still grieves. "It's really quiet. It's quiet in the room. No one knows what to say to you for a long time, and I think it's really lonely. It's a very lonely feeling."

Doctors don't know what caused the late miscarriage but think it might've been a blood clot in her placenta.

Wieringa gave birth to another daughter, Irelynn, almost a year after losing Finley. She calls Irelynn her rainbow child.

If you'd like to help with that rock project, you an email Wieringa or follow her on Instagram @finleyhearts.