My thoughts on Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Day as posted on Lost Innocents. Light a candle at 7:00 PM to participate in the international wave of light in remembrance of our lost babies.
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Today is October 15th, Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day. It’s been over six years since we lost Innocent and this site was started, nearly six years since we lost Andrew, over three since we lost Gabriel, and almost exactly three since we lost Demetrius. So much water under the bridge, so many tears, so many blessings.
I know that every day people come to Lost Innocents who are losing or who have just lost one or more babies. For you, this time is probably a mixture of pain, sorrow, confusion, denial, anger, despair, and shock. The statistics say that one in four women will experience at least one loss. Something that affects a quarter of all women sounds pretty routine, pretty common. For the woman in the maelstrom of loss, it is anything but common. This is not just a pregnancy, not a bit of tissue, not a clump of cells. This is her baby, her irreplaceable child. The loss of this child is heavy enough to tip the scales even if the entire world were hung on the other side. This baby exists for all eternity and matters as much as any other soul created by God. A mother instinctively knows this.
The old saying, “time heals all wounds”, is unfortunately true. In the midst of the acute pain of loss it seems impossible that life will ever contain happiness again. I can solemnly promise you that it will. I didn’t believe it either when other experienced mothers tried to comfort me, but they were right. Joy does return.
I say “unfortunately” because however we may want to escape the grief, there is also the fear of forgetting. Most people around us will forget. There is the worry that if we don’t remember our babies every day, then they will, in a sense, cease to exist. Even if this is not a rational thought, or even a conscious thought, I guarantee you that the majority of women will have that fear. One day we will all die. Our children may remember the sibling(s) in heaven, but after that? Who will keep their memory alive?
There is One whom we can trust with our babies without reservation. The One who created them, who holds them still. As Orthodox Christians we say “memory eternal” when someone dies. Despite what you may think, this does not mean that we wish the departed to be remembered forever by other people. No, we say “memory eternal” because the soul of the departed is with (and “remembered” by) God for all eternity. Our babies will never be truly lost, never forgotten. It is safe to allow God to heal our hearts so that one day the memory of our babies is a sweet one. We do not have to cling to grief out of fear. His remembering is sufficient.