03/03/06 — Baby gets marker of her own

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Baby gets marker of her own

By Kenneth Fine
Published in News on March 3, 2006 1:48 PM

Earl and Mary Bray's hearts broke when they read the story about the newborn baby girl found Feb. 10 at the Goldsboro sewer system.

They didn't want Baby Jane Doe to be buried with nothing but a simple marker in the children's area in Willow Dale Cemetery.

They wanted her to be remembered as a little girl -- a baby who was loved and mourned, even if only by complete strangers.

So their ministry, Words of Wisdom, commissioned a Goldsboro monument company to create a piece to mark the grave.

Baby Jane Doe Monument

News-Argus/Mitch Loeber

Tamara Hallett brushes the finishing touches on the monument for Baby Jane Doe in the workshop at the Mclamb Monument Co. The monument will be placed Monday at Willow Dale Cemetery.

On the marker, a handpainted butterfly spreads its wings next to a carving that reads "Baby Jane Doe." Bray said the monument for the infant girl shows that while she was abandoned, she will never be forgotten.

Bray said he was outside his home when his wife, Mary, approached -- newspaper in hand. As he looked at the front page and read about a funeral service for the nameless baby girl, he said he was called to action.

"It was just something the Lord led us to do," Bray said. "This baby has to be remembered. It's a calling, you know, where you can't be happy until it's completed."

And so, Bray's congregation looked for a way to remember the baby, whom they called "God's little girl."

In addition to the butterfly engraving, the monument included a vase mounted right on the side for the flowers the Brays and other visitors will place there.

"It's going to be the prettiest one there," he said.

Bray said placing the monument was particularly important for a baby who did not have the benefit of a family to love her.

"We want people to know that somebody thought that baby was worth it," he said. "Maybe one day somebody will walk up there and say 'that was a baby somebody cared about.'"

And just maybe, he said, her mother will be one of those who visits Baby Jane Doe's grave.

"Maybe one day that person will go in there to the cemetery and because it's going to be so pretty, they won't have to look for their child. That child will stand out," he said. "They'll walk up to her and say 'somebody loved my child more than I did,' and they will ask for forgiveness."

And when cemetery visitors see that butterfly, he said, they will know she's finally free.

"A butterfly is freedom," Bray said. "Now the butterfly is free, just like that child."

The ministry doesn't want special credit for its actions. It was a small act Bray and his wife said they had to do.

"If you ask me why we did, I'll ask you 'why not,'" he said. "If not us, then who?"

Still, Bray said no monument or flower can bring back that little girl -- and it's sad.