As mentioned in a previous post, this month is Pregnancy And Infancy Loss Awareness Month. There are many ways of observing it, but one of the easiest, is to light a candle at 7pm (whatever timezone you are in) on the 15th, keeping it lit for at least an hour, that way, there is a continuous wave of light around the world for 24 hours.
Our church decided to take part, by hosting a candlelight prayer vigil starting at that time. This was only the 2nd time they’ve done it, but it was SO powerful! Throughout the month, we have been collecting names of all those who’ve died early, and had hundreds, by the 15th. Too many to read out loud, though they have been prayed over, and will continue to be, the whole month. We also had 2 very special handmade items, done by mothers who had lost their children, and wanted to bring joy and healing to others enduring the same. Below, are the pictures.
The candle was pretty much front and center on the table. And the box, was made for memorial items. Having these with us, was truly an honor and they will now be part of future PAILA events 😀 (These are just two examples of the amazing creations being made by the grieving, to help others in the same place).
Another thing added to this year’s vigil: a drawing. When I saw the list of names for the vigil, I knew we couldn’t light a candle for each one (close to 500 babies), so I decided to alphabetize our list, and draw a candle for each baby, that way the parents/family members could know that at least one was done for them specifically. Sadly, since then I have received even more names, and will be trying to draw more candles for them and any others who submit throughout the year.
The candles are all at the top. Heart shaped, representing the deep love that is felt for all of these little ones, no matter the length of their life. The lower row is filled with flowers, since many times they can be found at memorials. The biggest flower says: ‘Dedicated to all remembering our littlest loved ones. May they find peace and healing’. In the petals and leaves are: a flower, cloud, dragonfly, angel, falling star, rainbow and butterfly, all which are examples of things that remind the grieving of the presence of their loved ones. And while simpler than most of my drawings, I chose the rainbow themed colors, since rainbows can usually bring a smile 🙂 Please, feel free to share the picture of the drawing with anyone you know hurting from a loss, etc. And if you want a candle added for your loved one(s), let me know, no matter the month. These families are hurting year round, and practically daily, more are learning this pain.
It’s been a delight to see how much awareness of these issues are spreading, but I hope to see A LOT more! Events in memory, but also resources for healing from this, both secular and non. And, I think it would be great if just as there are places raising money for the Breast Cancer Awareness and such, there would also be a greater number raising awareness for PAILA issues and the other important causes being remembered this month. I am already thinking of ways to get involved for next October. And would love to connect with others doing the same.
A special thank you to all who have not experienced this loss, but are doing your part to support those of us who have. It really means a lot!
Lastly, for those interested, here are the slideshows from our candlelight vigils: http://www.abvmpasadena.org/apps/album/index.jsp?dir=15827/63223&backLink=&backTitle=