Former educator Devany LeDrew writes about grief outreach.
When you think of October, you probably visualize changing leaves, pumpkin spice lattes, and Halloween. Maybe you remember Fire Prevention Week if your child comes home from school with fire truck crafts reminding you to check the batteries in your smoke detector. October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month so you'll see pink ribbons popping up everywhere. Hopefully, if you're a woman, this will prompt you to work on your early detection plan instead of posting cryptic statuses through social media.
For me, October is the beginning of my heavy grief season. The temperature change brings back memories of meeting and saying goodbye to our baby girl at the beginning of November. I start the annual and intentional build up to her birth and death days as well because October is National Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month. In 1988, President Ronald Reagan proclaimed, "This month recognizes the loss so many parents experience across the United States and around the world. It is also meant to inform and provide resources for parents who have lost children due to miscarriage, ectopic pregnancy, molar pregnancy, still births, birth defects, SIDS, and other causes."
How many parents exactly? According to Faces of Loss, one in four pregnancies ends in miscarriage, stillbirth, or early infant death.
In 2002, October 15th became the specific day to remember babies who have died. We participate in Sweet Pea Project's Annual Remembrance Gathering to release eco-friendly balloons with notes attached to our daughter.
Last year when we returned home from the somber yet beautiful event something extra healing happened. My friends and family lit up my Facebook wall with candles to remember our daughter along with us. We were all participating in the Wave of Light by lighting a candle for babies lost at 7 pm in our time zones thus creating the wave of remembrance around the world.
If you know someone who has suffered the loss of a child, I urge you to make their pain a bit more manageable by lighting a candle and speaking their baby's name to them tomorrow.
If you yourself have survived this tragedy, I hope you will light your own candle, break the silence, and know you are certainly not alone. We remember them with you.