In this final blog about childhood monuments at the National Memorial Arboretum, I wish to focus attention on the SANDS memorial garden. It was established as one of the earliest memorials on the site in 2000. While movement is foregrounded in the other memorials to children and childhood, as discussed here, here and here, this monument focuses on stillness and an isolated space of reflection away from the main pathways through the NMA. Within a discrete high-hedged space, it is the most private and quiet of the memorial gardens. Along the circuitous path are spaces for memorial stones to be painted and placed, each remembering a lost child.  

The path ends with a lawn, at one side of which is a stone circular dais upon which is a sculpture inspired by the SANDS logo: a stillborn foetus, sleeping forever and surrounded by floral offerings. This is part of a theme of memorials with concentric designs and sculptures of teddy bears, butterflies and newborn infants created by SANDS across the country. One is not supposed to move here, but to reflect and mourn in stillness for the stillborn.

Given the low infant mortality rates of Western societies, losing an infant is a particular focus of untimely and tragic loss. The garden reflects this late 20th/early 21st-century trend in commemorating the youngest of deaths.