Today is October 15th. Today, the 15th of October, is National pregnancy and infant loss remembrance and awareness day. It's saddening to me that there has to be such a tragic loss that creates a remembrance day like today. It truly is heart breaking.
Tonight Angel Babies had a candle light service in memory of all the children that have already gone to heaven. Until tonight I hadn't ever been to a candle light service. There's never been any reason to go to one. One year ago I never thought I'd be attending such an event.
When arriving to the park where it was being held there was a $5 entry fee. Knowing what we were going for, it broke my heart. Instead of spending $5 on onesies, pacifiers, or cute little toys (...or if you're an amazing bargain hunter like my grandma - two or three baby outfits!), for a baby shower or random gifts from excitement, we were spending the $5 to go to an event to remember my niece...my niece that never even took her first breath. For me, this was the roughest moment of the evening.
There were a lot of people at the park for the event. I honestly wasn't expecting to see so many people there. If I could guess at an amount of people, there may have been up to 200...Maybe more, maybe a little less.
The sight was surprising. People "go all out" for this event. Many took balloons. Even more than that, people had t-shirts made with names of their babies and pictures of them as well. Some even created pins to wear on the shirts in memory of their child.
There were people there who have lost one child. Some who have lost two, three, or even four. Some of the children were lost as miscarriages, stillborns, or even after 8 full months filled with life, personality, and growth.
During the ceremony there were prayers prayed, poems read, and songs performed. In memory of each child their names were read off during a ceremony. As the child's name was read off, their parents turned their candle on (yes, they turned them on...They were electric candles.). Those who took balloons released them at the same time.
Hearing her named said out loud by a strangers lips was an odd thing. We often talk about her in our own home and family, but I don't recall ever hearing someone with different blood say her name out loud.
Looking around tonight I saw many people with candles in their hands representing their children who are now in Heaven...The children who we will all one day meet and see again. While this is a discouraging sight, there was also encouragement. While in one hand held a candle...In many people's other hand, they held a stroller, car seat, or infant. They held the hand of their toddlers, or their pregnant swollen bellies.
It's an encouragement for me personally because while my family is going through the loss, it's a reminder that while things are hard now, there will be a light at the end of the tunnel. While we will always miss Ashley while always aching and longing to hold her, the pain will one day get more bearable. (Although I do realize some days will hurt more then others...as that's how it is now.) It's also a reminder that while our family has experienced so much sorrow, pain, heartache, tears, and burdens, there are more joyous days to come filled with good surprises, smiles, tears of joy, and big blessings. (Not to say that there aren't any blessings, surprises, or smiles now...There are many blessings in everyday of life. Sometimes it just feels smothering when it rains and pours trial after trial, and we as humans sometimes forget to look at what is going right in life.)
If you find my blog to be repetitive of the issue of my niece's death, I am sorry. Just bear with me for a while for this is a process for me as well as a huge part of my life. It's a process to mourn more days then others, to think of her, to experience the milestones. While I absolutely love (which truly is an understatement!) that you are reading my blog, it's kind of like what a good friend told me when I started to write on this online journal. "Your blog isn't really for other people. It's for you." My blog is for me to post about life as it is. ("Life as it is"....Maybe that should have been the blog name instead??) It's meant for me to reflect on the day, week, or month that I have had. To be able to look back at old entries and say, "I remember when God brought me out of that situation." Or, "I can see how God has been working through this experience now that some time has passed." Or, simply just to remember how I felt. And like I've mentioned before, I can only pray that out of my experiences - the good and the bad - that others will find certain entries relatable and help them realize that they aren't alone in feelings and emotions.
Tonight if you were to drive by my house, you would see a candle light coming from the kitchen window. It's the light representing our love for my niece, forever burning inside our hearts. It's the light that says, "We will never forget her."
Thank you for reading.
The Travelin' Chick,