Illuminated


The day did not go as planned, but parents who have experienced loss know all too well that sometimes life does not go as planned.

The SHARE Walk to Remember takes place in October every year.  I’m not even sure I was aware of it after losing Nelle, and doubt I would have gone anyway since it was barely six weeks after she was born.  Last year, the four of us went.  I had only attended one SHARE meeting and didn’t know anyone there, so felt very isolated.  Ger was withdrawn and I was angry at his appeared lack of caring so I left the event drained.  He told me later that the event was emotional for him, and then I felt bad at my exasperation.  We had arrived late, stayed through the ceremony to hear Nelle and Iris’s names called, but then left before the actual Walk.

This year, I had been looking forward to the event.  We had t-shirts.  I helped to assemble Walk packets.  I had been watching the weather and it looked like rain, but as a friend of mine said “I would gladly sit in the rain if I got to watch my son play a soccer game, so I’ll gladly stand in the rain to honor him.”  I felt the same.  If anything, I thought we would stand for the ceremony again, and leave before the Walk.  The kids were playing card games when we heard the news: the Walk to Remember was cancelled.  The rain had been torrential all morning and the grounds at the park were flooded, plus there was lightning.  I was so upset.  Ger told me he was upset too.  Theo said “Maybe we can do our own Walk at home, Mommy?”

I heard that Walk committee members and volunteers were still down at the grounds, under the shelter, handing out programs, packets, and roses to those who arrived.  I was supposed to be with my Tribe, and still wanted to be there, so I went alone.  I stayed for about an hour, talking with some other moms, and left with my two white roses as the rain continued to pour down.

There was an event later that evening, a Luminary at the Angel Garden at the hospital.  It was adults only, and I had originally not planned to go, figuring that I would be emotionally exhausted after the morning.  But with the Walk cancelled, I decided to go.  Parents lit up the Angel Garden with paper bag lanterns, saying the names of their babies out loud.  As I said my babies’ names, I started to cry hard.  My friend standing next to me, held me and we leaned on each other.  My paper lantern sat next to hers and I thought of her son sitting next to my daughters.

I took pictures throughout the day.  I would have taken photos of my daughters at every opportunity as they grew from babies to toddlers to children to teenagers to adults.  These pictures at events, or as we honor them at home, are the only memories I get to have.

The sky is still dreary today, but the rain has stopped.  Today is Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Day, and around the globe people will light candles at 7:00 p.m. in their local time zone, to create a Wave of Light to honor all of the babies that have been lost.  I have my candles gathered, and wrote down the names of all of the babies I know (or the family’s name) to include the precious list next to the light I have created.

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