A Flame of Hope

screen-shot-2016-10-12-at-6-57-33-pmI have always been afraid of the dark. When I was a little girl I was terrified of the basement. I got a pit in my stomach every time my mom sent me downstairs to fetch something. It wasn’t necessarily the going down that scared me. It was the coming back up – in the dark.

I’d gallop up the stairs like a racehorse; screaming by before anything could capture me.

For a while I would make my younger brother go down with me. I figured that he couldn’t run as fast as me so if anything came chasing after us, it would get him first.

But then my mom clued in to that and made me go all by myself. Sometimes I would sing really loud. I thought that the creepy, scary things would hear how good I was at singing and they wouldn’t hurt me. They’d ask me to keep singing. Hahaha.

I still don’t like going downstairs. I still don’t like the dark.

I’ve been thinking a lot about darkness and my fears this week as I get ready for the Wave of Light this weekend.

On Saturday, Oct. 15 – Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day – I will set out a special candle and light it. I will let it burn for one hour in memory of my stillborn baby boy Luca.

The idea is that if someone from each time zone all over the world lights a candle at 7 p.m., and keeps it burning for an hour, there will be a continuous wave of light over the entire world, honoring all of the babies who have gone too soon.

I don’t know why or how this tradition started but I’ve been thinking all about why I will light a candle in memory of my angel son.

Why is light so important to me? When I was little the light gave me strength. As I said earlier, I was always scared of the basement because I hated coming back up. Why? Because I had to turn off the light and walk (or run like a crazy person) for a few steps in the darkness before I made it upstairs.

When I had the light on it showed me where I was going and it illuminated where I had been. It shined on all of the shadows and dark spots around me and made things seem less grim. It warmed my heart and gave me hope.

I think that’s what light does. It sparks hope.

When I lost Luca my light went out. I was scared. I felt alone. Things seemed very grim. I couldn’t see my future – where I was going – and I was heartbroken by where I had been.

Time, amazing loved ones and many, many special events have led me back to the light.

I had to walk for a few steps in the darkness and there are still cloudy, dim days, but my light is growing. And so I think about my path as I find my candle and prepare to light it in a couple of days.

I light a candle to remind myself of how far I have come. I light a candle to help me remember that the dark spots and shadows can be flung aside. I light a candle to foster hope.

Hope that I will live with my baby boy again.

Hope that every other mother who has felt the loss of her child will hold on until the sliver of light appears.

Hope that someday no more mothers’ lights will be extinguished by the death of a child.

Hope that my light will blaze on.

Hope that I can share it with others.

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