WHEN people ask Trish and Glenn Hibberd how many children they have, they always reply nine.
Mr Hibberd has 14-year-old twins Nicholas and Rebekah from his first marriage, while Mrs Hibberd has Samuel, 12, and Jayden, 10, and together they have Kaizak, Hezekiah and triplets Paxon, Kobe and Peaches.
The only difference is Kaizak and Hezekiah died at 21 and 26 weeks and Peaches at just 10.
But Mr Hibberd said he always spoke about all of his children when talking about his family.
“They are still with me all the time, not physically, but spiritually,” Mr Hibberd said.
“People always want to change the subject when I tell them we have lost children, but sometimes people just want to talk about their loss.
“Kaizak would have started school next year and I want to express how excited I would have been.”
The family celebrates all the children’s birthdays, with Kaizak always having a green-themed party and Hezekiah an orange one.
They will commemorate the trio at the annual Ceremony of Remembrance at the Ballarat General Cemetery on Monday, December 16.
Christmas trees will be decorated, children of all ages remembered and balloons released.
Mrs Hibberd said they had been to two previous ceremonies and found them a beautiful way to remember their children.
“I really love the release of the balloons. It’s like it’s a little part of them,” she said.
Hospice counsellor Liz Dawson said people grieved in different ways.
“There’s no right or wrong way to grieve. It’s what’s right for you,” Ms Dawson said.
People should attend at 5.30pm if they wish to write on a helium balloon, with the ceremony starting at 6pm.
A gold coin donation would be appreciated and a picnic will also be held, with BYO chairs and blankets.
The ceremony is organised by Very Special Kids, SIDS and Kids Grampians region, St John of God Hospital, Ballarat Health Services, Ballarat Hospice Care, SANDS, the Leukaemia Foundation, The Compassionate Friends and the Australian Centre for Grief and Bereavement – Grampians Service.