Thread of comfort: Tucson woman takes wedding dresses and make burial outfits for babies

A thread of comfort Oct. 22

TUCSON, Ariz. (KOLD News 13) - It’s estimated one in four pregnancies result in a miscarriage. This statistic has changed the lives of three Tucson women. Now, one of them is asking for your help.

No doubt, the Chartier house is a house of boys. There is not much evidence of any girls, but in a small book and small box, there is.

“I consider her to have been one of my children,” said Eva Jane Chartier.

Chartier lost her second child during pregnancy. An event that changed her life. She keeps the clothes she bought for her daughter and the pregnancy book she was filling out.

“I was pregnant, and she would’ve been born at the right time to wear it, but she wasn’t,” said Chartier, holding a new-born Christmas outfit.

She was never able to hold her baby, a pain Diane Dionne understands. Her daughter had two losses of her own.

“It doesn’t get any easier after all these years,” said Dionne. “Jordan lived for a day, and we couldn’t really find an outfit because she was so tiny.”

Looking for clothes to bury her granddaughter in, Dionne and her daughter, she said, found themselves shopping in dolls clothes.

Dionne wanted to help change that for other families. With her closet full of wedding dresses, and with a positive attitude, she can. She takes donated wedding dresses, cuts them up and makes burial outfits for boys and girls who don’t get to go home.

Diane Dionne making infant burial clothes for families who have lost their baby.
Diane Dionne making infant burial clothes for families who have lost their baby. (Source: KOLD News 13)

The longer the train or bigger the dress, the more families she can help. She calls the outfits angel gowns.

“I think the most we ever got was 54 (out of one dress),” said Dionne. “The end result, it’s going to a family in their darkest time.”

Tammy Martinez is the nurse in those dark times at St. Joseph’s in Tucson. She gives Dionne’s angel gowns to parents.

“They cry. Their first reaction is ‘oh my gosh these are so beautiful,’” said Martinez. “They’re able to dress their little man in a nice little tuxedo for the first time.”

Diane Dionne making infant burial clothes for families who have lost their baby.
Diane Dionne making infant burial clothes for families who have lost their baby. (Source: KOLD News 13)

She, too, knows loss well.

She said she had a loss at 26 weeks when she was younger. As the years go on, she is not the only one who knows the feeling. Martinez estimates there have been two-to-four losses a month at St. Joseph’s, and angel gowns, like Dionne’s are needed.

“Saying their hellos and goodbyes. This is where it begins, and this is where it ends,” said Martinez.

Dionne said she does not need any more dresses, but what she does need are volunteers to sew as well as red and black satin for mariachi outfits. If you would like more information on her angel gown charity, go HERE.

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