The Day After


At 7:00 pm last night, we lit our candles.  Well, close to 7:00 anyway.  I was ready, but Quentin was still climbing out of the bathtub and shaking himself dry.  It made the mood more lighthearted.  I asked Ger if he had a song and he immediately said “Candle in the Wind” (1997 version). The lyrics weren’t exactly right for our losses, but seemed somehow fitting anyway.

I reminded the kids that all around the world people would be lighting candles at 7:00 pm to remember their babies.  Theo said “Oh!  So it is International Dead Baby Day?”  The frankness still stings.

I lit several candles.  Two tall white pillars that I received on All Soul’s Day services in 2015 and 2016.  In 2015, I had only lost Nelle and written her name on the candle.  In 2016, the candle bore both of their names.  Then I lit two small candles from a workshop that I went two for bereaved parents. I lit a large candle with three wicks, thinking of my three living children. And I placed the luminary beside my candles.  I also put the white roses in a crystal vase next to the flicking flames.  I ended up with five roses for my five children.

After a few minutes, we extinguished the smaller candles.  I kept the large pillars burning for the full hour of Wave of Light.  The big kids wanted to blow them out, so at 8:00 I retrieved them from their room. As they bent their faces toward the flames, I said out loud “For Nelle. For Iris.”

The day awakened today, now an ordinary day. I am sure I will be asked at least one time “How was your weekend?”  Another one of those moments where I am forced to swallow my feelings, gather my professionalism and say brightly “It was fine!” instead of “It was a hard weekend. We recognized Pregnancy & Infant Loss Remembrance Day and honored all of the babies gone too soon.”  Instead it was bland, comfortable conversation about the weather and how it had turned chilly.

Your candle’s burned out long before
Your legend ever will
-Elton John