I discovered this tender international observance last year, through the Facebook page Prayers for Shane. Shane Michael Haley was diagnosed with anencephaly in April, 2014, a fatal condition. He was born October 10 and lived for four hours, held by his parents, loved for every moment of his short life.
Today, October 15, is International Pregnancy & Infant Loss Day. The Wave of Light on this day, is observed in remembrance and honor of all babies who did not survive pregnancy or died shortly after birth. A white candle is lit at 7:00 PM, in each time zone, and allowed to burn for an hour. In this way, a wave of light circles the earth.
In October 1988, President Ronald Reagan, after declaring the month Pregnancy & Infant Loss Awareness Month, said, “A wife who loses a husband is called a widow. A husband who loses his wife is called a widower. A child who loses his parents is called an orphan. There is no word for a parent who loses a child. That’s how awful the loss is.”
I lit a white candle at 7:00, in memory of my first baby, Daniel, lost in miscarriage. And in memory of Shane and all those who have known the heartbreak of losing a child, including several members of my family. These spirit babies are still held in our hearts, loved, cherished, and never forgotten.
As I was preparing to light the candle, a strong breeze kicked up, ahead of a line of thunderstorms moving into the Joplin area. I made the decision to place the candle within a glass hurricane lantern, so the candle could remain on the front deck and not be blown out. The holder happened to have lighthouses etched into the glass. I lit the fall candles as well and turned off the porch light.
The white candle blazed brightly. Lightning forked from dark clouds to the ground and from cloud to cloud, surrounding the house. The wind blew, thunder rumbled and soon the rain was falling. The white candle flame wavered not, a beacon of light in the darkness, untouched by the storm swirling around it. It seemed so symbolic, that candle in the lighthouse lantern, so full of hope and promise. I love how that worked out this evening, how all is connected, and the story being told. Shine bright little light, just as those sweet souls continue to do. Shine bright.