for all our children. tonight and always

This post was supposed to be about children.

All weekend I had these wonderful thoughts running through my head.

About how much I adore the age of four: how he appears in our doorway in the dark dawn hour, hair tousled from sleep, beloved seahorse cradled in his arm, ready to climb in bed with us and snuggle. How he spills over with sweet love these days, so many kisses for his mama, even hugs for his brother, cuddles for the dog.

About how I’m learning to relove the age of two: how he grins like a chimpanzee when I catch him being silly, how his budding scientist self marvels at the miracle of running water in the sink, how he chortles himself breathless at the rhymes he finds hysterical. How he’s starting to sing back to me as I close the bedroom door at bedtime, I love you, mama! Good night, mama!

So I didn’t realize when I finally sat down to write this, when I went to close the browser windows to avoid distraction’s temptation, that I’d left open the New York Times. And this had popped up on my screen:

This Oct. 15, we’ll light a candle for Silvan. From 7 p.m. to 8 p.m. in each time zone around the world, thousands will join us. We’ll mark International Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day with a “wave of light” that symbolically sweeps across the globe. Though it’s unlikely anyone will see that wave of light, the image is still powerful.

So for anyone passing by my house this Oct. 15, I’ll be the woman with a candle in my window. Most passersby will not know my candle is for Silvan. But I’ll light a candle to remember more than my own son. I’ll light it to honor all whose lives have been too brief and all who are still here. Please join us.

I didn’t know.

I didn’t even know such a day existed.

I didn’t know it was today, a usually ho-hum October day of property taxes due and two-weeks-left-to-make-those-costumes.

I didn’t know last year at this time that I would even care.

But I do.

. . .

Two months have passed. So many changes. Still the world spins on.

I’m sure most people think we’re fine now, that we’ve moved on. After all it was so early. We couldn’t have been that attached. We have two healthy kids already. We’re young and we can have another.

Is that the way we measure a life? By length, by duplication, by replicability?

What if worth simply comes from being? What if that were the ultimate shock to our systems, so accustomed to striving for success, for uniqueness, for longevity? What if life’s value was simply life?

I believe it is. I believe this in the face of a culture that tosses it away, that bombs it to oblivion, that shoves its poverty to the margins. I believe it because of a God who pulled children onto his lap when his world said they were worthless, who touched bleeding women when his culture said they were unclean, who blessed lepers when his own people recoiled with repulsion.

I believe it, no matter how small this light flickers in the darkness.

. . .

This post was supposed to be about children. And maybe it was after all.

The children we remain as adults, the ones we remember we have always been, when we crawl back into God’s arms and wail like we did into our mother’s shoulder, that it’s not fair, that it hurts too much, that it shouldn’t have to be this way.

And the children we love, even the ones we lose too early.

So tonight, if you drive by our house when the sun has just sunk over the hill into the blue-black of October night and the two wild boys full of shouts are upstairs splashing in the bath, you’ll catch a glimpse through the leaves of one small light flickering in our window. I will make sure of it.

Because it wasn’t just a dream. It wasn’t just a loss.

It was a life. It was a baby.

It is still ours.

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9 thoughts on “for all our children. tonight and always

  1. I am so very sorry for your loss. I believe you have every right to grieve; no matter how far along you were or how long ago it happened. May God’s peace and comfort be with you.

  2. I still grieve. I had twins die in utero at around 11 weeks in 2004. I got pregnant again a few months later and have two wonderful healthy children. But it’s still sad. They were beautiful lives, sweet little souls. They were alive.

    Months can go by now and I don’t think about them. But when I do, it is still sad. I’m tearing up now thinking about it. Part of it is that they died, of course, and I would have loved to have known them. But the other part of it is that it’s easy to remember how sad I was – how people rallied around me (I had told everyone I was pregnant), how many genuine expressions of sympathy I received. So, some of my tears are for the goodness of people as well.

    Since they were old enough to hear me, I’ve told my daughters that most people only have one guardian angel, but that they have two. They’ve never asked why but I love that they know that they have two guardian angels.

    I’m so very, very sorry for your loss.

  3. It is so important to honor those little lives lost, and it’s hard when our world doesn’t give us a language or a context for doing so. I love this ritual and am sorry I missed October 15th. Maybe I’ll do my own little remembering ritual tonight. Hugs and prayers for you.

    1. Thank you so much, Ginny. And for sharing your own stories so bravely and lovingly – I carry them in my heart, too. They helped give me language for my own loss.

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