Sunday, December 11, 2011

Candle lighting

Last night I went to a candle lighting ceremony that Vivian organized and it was beautiful. I picked up Jackie on the way and it was nice to have company in the car and a navigator since I was driving to an unfamiliar part of Toronto.

There were 6 of us there so it was a nice, intimate group. Vivian greeted us with the best hug. She always gives wonderful, amazing hugs.

Vivian did so much work organizing this. She just kept pulling out something else that was a very nice touch. She printed some nice messages on cards and placed them around the tables. There was babyloss music playing throughout the night. Songs that most babyloss Mom's are familiar with and we listen to often.

Vivian brought many tealight candles. At first we took the number that we needed to represent our own babies, but then we started saying names of other babies that we know and writing their names on labels and giving each of them a candle as well. It was surreal how many babies we knew between us that have died. I was scared of not thinking of all of their names, so I also did a candle labelled "In memory of".

Vivian got up and read some poems, then she read what she wrote about Ryan and we were all in tears by the time she was finished. Such a miracle he was, how strongly he is missed. Then she lit a candle for Ryan and her first, Squishy, and the babies of some of her friends. Then it was my turn. I lit a candle for Jacob and said that I was lighting a candle in memory of Jacob, who was stillborn on June 1, 2010. I got through saying that okay, but by the time I picked up the candle for August, I was crying too much to continue. I just had to sit there with one lit candle in one hand and an unlit one in the other while I cried for my boy, who I miss so much.

I finally collected myself and lit candles for August, Cub, Madeline and Emma Grace, saying how long I carried them and when I lost them. Then I lit the candles for the babies I know. There were so many. I said their names, their Mom's name and the date they were born and/or died. There were a lot of candles in front of me by the time I was done, which was sad.

Then Jennifer, Jackie, Monica and Nigel said their babies' names and stories as they lit their candles, and the candles for the babies they know. We just sat there for a while, looking at the candles. Crying, thinking, missing. It was amazing the see the light that so many candles created and heartbreaking to think that each represented a baby who was loved and missed so badly. I counted the candles at one point and there were 36. The 6 of us knew at least 36 babies that have died. Some of the candles had many names on them. I guess there were 50 babies listed on the candles.

Then one person said something about their baby and slowly we all joined in, talking about random memories, the time we had with our babies, signs we've had from them...anything that came to mind.

We all brought a picture of our babies or something that reminded us of them. I brought Jacob's amazing profile picture from my last good ultrasound with him. The picture ended up being passed around and they commented on what a great profile picture it was. I loved being able to talk about him, about the day I got that picture and how incredibly proud I was/am of him. We looked at pictures of all the babies and learned the stories behind the pictures.

Eventually we started snacking some more on the food that was brought, including the nice cake that the priest donated, which was surprisingly good. I usually don't like store-bought cakes, but this one was really good.

I started taking pictures of each of the candles. It took awhile, since there were so many.

Then we started taking pictures with each other.

Pretty soon it was 10pm and time to go.

Vivian brought out some gifts she made, colour coded for a boy, girl or unknown by the ribbon colour. So I took blue for Jacob, white for August, green for Cub and pink for my girls. Inside is a butterfly of the same colour. Just beautiful.

Jennifer and I had planned to exchange Christmas gifts ahead of time. I got her a key chain that says "Mom" on the front with 3 butterflies and Angel's name inscribed on the back. I'm also going to knit a sweater for the bear she got for Angel.

She gave me some beautiful items. The card she wrote was so nice and touching. She gave me a candle, as I like to light candles for my babies. She also gave me a beautiful glass candle holder with Jacob's name and a butterfly on it.

That would have been enough, but there was a second card in the bag. She made a donation to the Hospital for Sick Children in memory of all of my babies. It was so special. Just a wonderful thing to do in the first place, but also because Jacob would have been a patient there because of his leg and I used to volunteer there. The front of the card is also very similar to the front of Jacob's baby book.


Today Ted and I were in a mall and he said that he woke up this morning and lay in bed thinking about the babies. He was wondering if August and Cub were girls or boys. He thinks that August was a girl and Cub was a boy and asked what I thought. I feel the same way about them and I loved that he was thinking about it. He also said that he was imagining what it will be like when he dies, that he'll be reunited with all of his babies and imagined 3 girls and 2 boys walking towards him as he enters Heaven.   He also called the twins by their names. He wasn't sure about naming them in the beginning, but I wanted to so I got 100% decision making power over their names and used names I've loved since I was a kid. Today he just said their names casually and it was music to my ears.


On Friday night, I went out for dinner with Mel and Jen. I used to work with Jen, until she left and Mel took her job, although she had already been working at the same company for a few years so I knew her already. Jen left a year ago and this was the first time that we managed to get together. Both of these women have been wonderful throughout everything. I was working closely with Jen when Jacob was born and she was a constant support until she left. When a baby was brought in, she would make sure I was ok. She was always doing little things that meant so much. And Mel. Well I can talk to Mel about everything and she is wonderful. Her parents died a few years ago so we can talk about grief and totally understand each other. Anyway, dinner was great and we caught up and talked about work and then Jen asked how I I really was. She knows about all of the miscarriages as well, but asked more about the twins since we weren't working together when they came along. She listened and said that she could see the sadness in my eyes. That I look a lot better than I used to, but she can still see it. She said some words of encouragement and caring and understanding and I'm amazed that she's so good at this. I'm very thankful for both of them.

So this weekend was nice. Very emotional, but nice and much needed.


LauraJane said...

I'm so glad you were able to do this and speak your babies names. It looks like a beautiful event. :) I'm happy you have some supportive friends to confide in, and who take care of you.

Hope you're doing okay. :)

fireworksandrainbows said...

The group of candles choked me up a bit. My many dead babies??? It's just so sad.

I think it's wonderful that you are able to talk about your babies freely with each other, bring up thoughts of them and keep their memory alive. I like talking about Xavier while he was here and what he would be doing if he was still here.

I too sometimes wonder like Ted what entering Heaven will be like...will someone bring me my baby as I enter? I hope so.


Mama Jen said...

the candlelighting was a such a special event, i just felt like my heart was full after. i am glad we got to experience that together.

ted's comment about heaven made me think about "growing up in heaven." do you remember that story in one of the early chapters of the book where they talk about parents who have lost 4 children - and the children were all there at the reading, and the medium sees the entire family walk out of the building together. i think our children are always with us but we don't know it...but in heaven we will be able to all walk together and know, feel and enjoy it fully.

Sarita Boyette said...

Dana, that was such a lovely memorial that you attended. The lady who organized it did a wonderful job, although I wish there were no need for childloss memorial services.(Sigh....)
You received some lovely & thoughtful gifts. I love that Ted talks about the babies - some men don't, even though they are grieving. He must be such a sweetheart - wish I could meet you & him & talk.
I tried to leave comments on some of your previous posts but I don't know if they went through. I thought the ornaments you made were so pretty. You & Ted are in my heart this Christmas. Remembering all your sweet babies...xoxo

Elaine said...

I'm still here! I've been sort of casually reading but I wanted to say hi and let you know I am still thinking of you daily. I wish we had of been able to get together this month. Hopefully in the new year.
The candle lighting sounds great. It's such a beautiful way to remember. I had my candle lit here at home at 7pm.

Julie said...

sounds and looks like such a beautiful event. it sounds wonderful to have some "real-life" friends with whom to celebrate your babies.

Drew's Parents said...

The candle lighting sounded like such a perfect way to remember your babies this holiday season. Everything looked so beautiful, and the women there are amazing.
Ted's comments about the babies were so sweet. I am sending you guys lots of love!

Becky said...

I love the candle holder and glad the event and your weekend went well.

cullensblessings said...

What an absolutely beautiful evening where you all shared so much with each other in memory of your children.
I am so happy that Ted lifted your heart in such a beautiful way by talking about the babies as he did. Sending you much love, light and thanks.. for everything.