Originally published October 2018
As most of you probably know, October is Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month.
On October 15th every year there is something called the Wave of Light. This is when, at a specified time, people are encouraged to light a candle for their lost babies to remember them.
During this time of year, many cultures and religions have days to remember their loved ones. Candles are always lit during ceremonies and celebrations to honor them. And even on days not dedicated to remembrance, countless people have candles in their homes to light in memory.
Lighting a candle is a simple act but one that really resonates with me.
Candles are a significant part of my loss story.
Within minutes of my body shedding itself of my sweet, unknown baby, my husband and I lit a candle for him or her. Later we would choose to name our child, Talia.
The original candle that I lit was one that held a lot of meaning for me. But with time I felt like Talia needed her own candle.
A few weeks after my loss a dear friend sent me a lotus candle-holder. I had not shared with her the idea of getting Talia her own candle. It just felt so beautiful and perfect to purchase a candle for this lotus.
I found a green healing candle in a metaphysical shop and that has been Talia’s candle ever since.
This candle is lit twice a year. Once on the day of my loss and once on Talia’s due date.
Last year it was also lit on October 15th, the day of my baby shower for my rainbow baby, and the same day as the Wave of Light. I lit the candle before the shower began and kept it going until everyone had left. The candle was placed in the room where the shower was held so that Talia could be present.
The lighting of a candle feels symbolic for many reasons. Candles are often used not just to remember, but also to celebrate.
We light candles to make wishes on birthdays. My husband and I lit a candle together on our wedding day. There are many layers to what lighting a candle can mean, especially depending on the day or occasion.
Specifically, what comes to mind for me today is that a candle is an allegory for loss.
There was once a bright light in my life and then it was snuffed out. Yet I still feel the brightness of that first sweet child’s presence in my life.
And I can continue to honor her memory by lighting a candle, no matter what day of the year it is.
Photo by Sharon Mccutcheon
Heidi Beltran is the mother of Talia Luna, who was lost to a missed miscarriage at 11 weeks in April of 2016, and her Rainbow Baby, Atlas Delilah Rose, born December 2017. You can follow her on Instagram to see her journey.