Last week was the Wave of Light, an annual event to bring awareness to our losses where you light a candle for one hour in remembrance of babies who died too soon.
It’s an event that flooded my social media the day off, and the whole week prior, announcing its approach and promoting the importance this event holds for the families who have lost a child.
Subtle hints were dropped by loss parents to suggest that participation in the event is a great way to support the loss community. Other posts were less subtle and just outright requested others to participate in their child’s memory.
To quote @thelegacyofleo:
“Some may ask you to join them – to light a candle in honour of their baby. They’ll likely ask in a somewhat passive way, gently suggesting that if you happen to be anywhere near a candle and a match at 7pm could you please possibly light it? And if you have your phone to hand, maybe it would be nice if you could take a photo, pop it on Facebook and tag them?
They are asking gently, but in all honestly – they are bloody desperate and secretly wanting to know just how much their baby means to the world, and quietly hoping that those people who seem to have disappeared might just text them at 7:05pm with a picture (or even a video!) of a flickering candle with the words “thinking of your boy tonight, he is so loved, hope this years wave of light gives you peace”.
They are asking gently because they are fearful no one will bother. They are just quietly, passively, secretly desperate for the world to see their child, every day, but if not every day, maybe, just maybe on the 15th October – on #WaveOfLight day, on Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Day, marking the end of Baby Loss Awareness Week 2019.
So if you see a plea on your feed – just light a candle & share a photo. See their child.”
YES TO ALL OF THE ABOVE!!!
Sure, this is an awareness event. It is meant for those affected by child loss to use as a platform to bring awareness to those who don’t know the pain of losing a child.
We should be participating in the event.
But is it that hard for someone, who doesn’t know this pain, to light a candle for an hour in support of us?
No, it’s not.
Hell, I do it for complete strangers I’ve never even met when they request on social media to have a candle lit in their child’s honor for their birthday.
Each year the anticipation of this event brings me hope that others will remember my boy. That my friends, outside of the loss community, will send me a message confirming they are thinking of him.
Yet each year, the number of those messages dwindles. That first year after he died, I received a lot of photos of candles burning brightly for him.
Last year, that number dropped.
This year, it dropped even further.
Of course, I still received many photos, mentions, tags from people; a majority of whom are fellow loss mothers. (Thank you to all of you who reached out and remembered us!)
But from my non-loss friends, from the people who have known me since before I lost my son, the people who were there when we learned he died and who witnessed the shattering aftermath?
I received 11 messages, a couple of which were sent by people that I haven’t seen in YEARS (which is so kind).
The intention of this post isn’t to point a finger at my friends who didn’t light a candle. It’s not to chastise them for their lack of support.
It’s to draw attention to the fact that this is one of the very few things you can do to remember my child (and it’s pretty freaking easy).
I know that a lot of the time people don’t’ know what to do with/for me. They aren’t sure how to support me in my grief almost 3 years later.
This is one way you can do that.
Something as simple as lighting a candle means the world to me because it confirms you took the time to take a small moment and think of my son.
As @thelegacyofleo said, we are desperate to know our child is remembered. I know he is remembered by many but the Wave of Light is one way to remind me of the fact that my little boy will never be forgotten.
I get it. Life can be crazy and chaotic.
I mean, I literally forget to do things WHILE I’m doing them. I set reminders on my phone to remind me to do things when I get home from work because I know I will forget all about it on my 20-minute drive home.
It’s easy to get distracted and forget to light a candle for your friend’s dead baby when you are busy raising babies of your own. I understand.
But…maybe next time, set a reminder on your phone? Or send a text during the day to let them know you are aware of the importance of the day?
If you miss the Wave of Light, take a moment to light a candle and send a message.
Better late than never.
Better to acknowledge our child/ren than to never.
What matters is that you thought of our child and took the time to tell us so, even if you needed a phone reminder to do it. It means so much to our broken hearts.
So take the time now to mark your calendar for next year’s Wave of Light, October 15, 2020, to remind your dear friend that you remember their child with them.
It is everything to us!
Amy Lied is a wife and a mother to her son, Asher, who was inexplicably born still on February 19th, 2017 and twin daughters. Before losing Asher, she suffered a miscarriage and struggled with unexplained infertility. She has documented her journey from the beginning of her infertility struggles on her blog, Doggie Bags Not Diaper Bags. She is also a co-founder of The Lucky Anchor Project , an online resource for loss families that houses an Etsy store whose profits are donated to loss family non-profit organizations. She hopes to help others by sharing her journey as she continues to navigate the bumpy road that is life after loss.