Journey 288: Wave of Light

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.   

  

Day 288: National Pregnancy & Infant Loss Day – Wave of Light

National Preg and Infant Loss Day

While I don’t normally observe two National Days in a row, this one is significant and has become important to me. I became aware of this National Day by following the tender love story of Baby Shane and his amazing parents. I wanted to post the blog early today so that those who wish to can participate in the Wave of Light this evening.

In 1988 President Ronald Reagan designated the month of October as Pregnancy & Infant Loss Awareness Month. In 2002 October 15 was designated as a day of remembrance and in 2006 the date became a National Day. National Pregnancy & Infant Loss Day is a day for remembering pregnancy loss and infant death including, but not limited to, miscarriage, ectopic pregnancy, stillbirth, death of a newborn or SIDS (sudden infant death syndrome). This is a day for raising awareness and supporting the moms, dads, siblings and other family members who have lost a baby, and surrounding them with love and light.

My first pregnancy ended in miscarriage, so early that we did not even have a chance to share the news with family. My doctor patted me on the shoulder and told me to go get pregnant again. I think because I had only just become aware that I might be pregnant, and then it was over, I remained silent about this loss for many years. It would be another 18 months before I would become pregnant again. I was blessed with three beautiful children and was privileged to be their mother and watch them grow into wonderful, caring adults. And sometimes I wondered about that first baby, what he would have looked like, who he would have become. Sometimes I caught a glimpse of him, my spirit child, and he aged up just as my earth children did, yet I didn’t speak of him. I didn’t even give him a name until a few years ago. But now I am breaking the silence. I call him Daniel and I confess, I talk to him regularly. He would have been 37 years old this year. I ask him to do the big brother thing and watch over his brother and sisters here on earth. Because he is a great older brother, he does.

This evening, as part of the National Pregnancy & Infant Loss Day, those who wish to take part in remembering their own departed babies, or who wish to show support and love for those who have lost a baby, can light a white candle at 7:00 pm and let it burn for an hour. Each time zone will light the candles as 7:00 approaches, and in that way, a wave of light will sweep over the world. What an amazing way to show that these tiny lives mattered. They have had an impact. They were here and gone too soon, and yet they had purpose, and stories. They are loved still and missed.

Tonight, I light a candle to show my love and support for the families who have experienced the loss of a baby. I acknowledge those who hold their babies in their hearts rather than their arms, and have the hope of being reunited with them again. Someday, I will see Daniel. And no matter how old he appears to be, I will get the chance to hold him, cradle him in my arms, kiss his cheeks. Tonight, I light a candle for Daniel.

National Preg and Infant Loss Day Wave of Light