Every year on October 15 the nation quietly pauses to remember lost babies. It’s a day that most people don’t even know about. You won’t find it marked on any calendar when you buy it in a store, or find cards for the occasion in even a tiny corner of Hallmark, but it’s an important day for those of us who have lost babies. The day has existed since President Ronald Reagan signed a proclamation in 1988 and serves to, among other things, “inform and educate the public about pregnancy and infant loss.”
A tradition on this day is that at 7:00 pm in each time zone a Wave of Light will move across the country, and the world. All families who have lost a baby either by pregnancy or infant death should light a candle and leave it burning for at least one hour. The wave of light will serve as a reminder that there are those of us who still remember – and those who have not suffered a loss pause to surround us in love. I will be lighting seven candles.
One of my favorite parts of being Catholic is that I don’t have to justify to anyone that my babies existed. I’ve told my story of their losses so I won’t repeat that today, but none of my Catholic friends have ever questioned their existence. I have friends of other faiths who have said “but it’s not like you were really pregnant, right? I mean, is it really a baby when you didn’t know that they were there?” But as a Catholic who believes that life begins at the moment of conception I don’t have to wonder who’s right.
Today a friend of mine posted this beautiful quote from the late Elizabeth Edwards, which I think is really fitting for the day:
“If you know someone who has lost a child, and you’re afraid to mention them because you think you might make them sad by reminding them that they died–you’re not reminding them. They didn’t forget they died. What you’re reminding them of is that you remembered that they lived, and…that is a great gift.” ~Elizabeth Edwards
Today I pause to remember my angels in heaven: Peter John, Annette Abigail, Matthew Luke, Elizabeth Teresa, Faith Marie, Patrick Alexander, and Charles James. Love never dies. Your Mom & Dad still love you and think of you often. Watch over us and hold us close.
If you are struggling today and missing an angel know that I am praying for you, know that you’re surrounded with love today.