Today is one of those days that few outside of the Infertility and Infant Loss Community ever hear about, but for those of us who have experienced such a loss, it is a day you don't forget, because it means that someone, somewhere in this world, is praying for you and your family. It means that you are not alone in your grief, and that feeling is freeing, especially when it seems that so many people have forgotten that you had a child. My heart also mourns with my sisters who also lost their pregnancies early on, when all you have is that one ultrasound picture, if any. It is a day we stand together, arm in arm, hankies at the ready, as we remember our children, the dreams of our children, and the hopes we had for our children. We remember that we are not alone; that no race, no age, no level of health, no socio-economic status is exempt from this tragedy. We remember oh so deeply that life is a precious gift, not to be taken lightly, not to be discarded or trampled upon. We REMEMBER.
One of the ways we remember this day is to light a candle at 7:00 and keep it lit for an hour, creating a wave of light around the globe. While so many will not know why we light our candle, we know. I have many friends across this country and beyond who will also light their candles tonight. We pray that someday lighting a candle on this day will just be lighting a candle, but for us, for now, this is our memorial; our tribute to the lives that could have been.
This year it's hitting even harder than the past two. This is my third year to light a candle for my Elizabeth. It's actually her expected 2nd birthday. I should be bustling around planning a party, but instead, we're spending a quiet evening at home--just the two of us (and the pets). But as I sit tonight and remember my loss, I also pray for my cousin, who lost her 3-month old to SIDS last week. He was born soo premature--just 3 pounds, but he had made it all the way to six pounds, and the doctor was so pleased with his development. That was on Friday. On Saturday, his mom took him to a family gathering with the cousins (I stayed home--I just knew I'd see them at Christmas, and I had a bad cold that I didn't want the babies to catch.). Then on Sunday, while he was laying on the couch sleeping while his daddy was sitting in there with him, he just stopped breathing. He couldn't be saved, even though everything was tried.
I just don't understand it. I understand that miscarriages happen. I know (in my head at least) that there are all kinds of things that can cause death in utero. I even know that infants die--how can I not know that, since I scream at the TV every time I hear about one of these precious ones being thrown away by their "mothers" or killed by "mom's boyfriend" who shakes him or her to death. But it just boggles my mind that a family who fought so hard to bring a life in this world has to now lay to rest all of their hopes and dreams for his life.
So tonight as I light my candle, I'll light another one for my cousin, and remember to say a prayer for all of those who grieve as I grieve, who mourn as I mourn, in the hopes that one day we can rejoice with those who rejoice. I light my candle to remember that innocence I had that has now been lost, and pray that not one more person has to lose that innocence through the loss of the life of their child.