Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Names and Light



It's been on the calendar since September; I know, because our photo and written submission were due October 1. And yet, it was just last night when Bella asked what was going on this coming weekend that I realized Sunday night is the annual worldwide candlelight service for children who have died. Per usual, sponsored by Compassionate Friends, and for us, hosted locally at Children's.

For those who haven't been reading since inception (and who can blame you?), the first year we went to this it was . . . rough. It was rough thinking about going, and in the end we were stood up by family members -- the first of many schisms abysses to appear in the relationship we have with extended family.

But. I decided it would make me feel better, and less lonely, and even my load so to speak, if I carried in my coat pocket the names of all the children I know who have died. And you know? It did. And I did it again last year, when Bella and Mr. ABF were kept home with a bilateral ear infection and I went with my Aunt and Uncle. And again, as I absorbed the names and faces of the children in the program in front of me, I silently clutched my stack of names, knowing I wasn't alone in this. None of us are alone in this.

We're planning on going, barring a last-minute massive ear infection for any of us, and again I'd like to carry my names with me. Please note: these names are NOT part of the service, they are not read aloud. I write them down on a piece of paper, and all of the names come with me in my pocket where they keep me company and the palm of hand nicely warm. At our service, they read the names and show the pictures of children who have died at Children's -- some going back before the year I was born, back when fire was invented. Everyone holds candles that look amazing in the frosty winter night, and the grief seems to dissipate skyward into the black. When I return home, the names all go into a bowl next to a candle that is lit nightly until my Christmas decorations overwhelm it all. (Or the cat threatens to dump everything on the floor. Crap happens in this house.)

I love saying the names of your children as I write their names, and put them altogether. There are far too many, and yet it makes me feel so much less alone in my grief and missing.

If you'd like for me to carry your child's name with me this year, please leave a comment with the name. If you'd like me to use a real name and not a blog pseudonym or you'd like to keep this otherwise private, please feel free to email me at tashabf at gmail. As always, I carry the names of children I gathered from my first year doing this, so it's highly likely I already have yours written down, but a reminder and double-check are always welcome.

And please, feel free to light a candle at 7:00 p.m. your time on Sunday, and join in a wave of candlelight remembering Maddy, and those who made impressions despite their short lifespans, earthside or inside.

46 comments:

N said...

It meant so much to us last year when you did this. If you wouldn't mind again, it would mean the world.

Wallaby and (my mother's child, my brother) Michael

Beruriah said...

You're wonderful Tash. Thanks for going, again.

Anonymous said...

He's not my child - but he was my older brother - born 2 months too soon in a time without artificial surfactant; my mother never got to hold him (she'd developed a fever, they whisked him away to another hospital with better equipment, and wouldn't transfer her until she was fever-free, which was after he passed), and there was no funeral for him. How she got over that to then have me, 2 years later, also 2 months premature (incompetent cervix, anyone?), I'll never know. As an aside - any medical condition with the term incompetent in it is just salt in the wounds, if you ask me. She had many losses (at least 4 that I know of, 2 after 24 weeks gestation). It's just me and my sister who made it.
His name was Chad; he was born on the 4th of July 1974; I wish I'd been able to know him.

AKD said...

Oh, that's just the most beautiful thing I've ever heard.

If you wouldn't mind, my daughter's name is Madeleine Rose. This is so very sweet of you. Hugs.

I hope it's a beautiful time for you all.

loribeth said...

(Weather permitting) Dh & I will be attending our support group's annual candlelighting tomorrow night.

I'd be honoured if you carried Katie's name with you again this year.

Michele said...

I remember you doing this last year. It warmed our hearts.

Nicholas, Sophia, and Alexander

And, if you could, Christopher Michael, my uncle, stillborn Oct 16, 1965

catherine said...

I don't have any specific names, working in the NICU and seeing this heartbreak, I want to thank you for your kindness and thoughtfullness.

Life in Eden said...

Oh Tash, I remember when you began this, I had just started reading. I was amazed then, and still am, at your sweet heart. I am so glad this simple act brings you comfort and also gives it to those other families. I'll be thinking of you all on Sunday.

Anna said...

Oh, Tash. Thank you so much for this. Actually, on the evening of the first service you went to, we were in the hospital, waiting to birth our daughter who would never take a breath. So this would be a huge honor...to share room in your pocket with all of the other lost babies...

Sarah Elizabeth Bonick

mMc said...

Charlotte May McDonald.
Thanks Tash.

yummysushipajamas said...

This is so beautiful and I will absolutely be lighting a candle tonight for you and yours.

If you would, please carry our son with you tonight.

Aodin R. Hurd

Sue said...

Oh, Tash. Thank you.

Jacob Rhys
Joshua Spenser

Becca said...

I'm a new cyberstalker--er--reader of yours. I don't know exactly how I came across your blog other than aimlessly searching on the internet for the writings of people who felt my pain. But I immediately connected with so much of what you said and how you said it. Thank you for not holding back! I spent hours over this past week reading your blog from 2007 to present (including comments; you have a great bunch of ladies following your blog). I felt your deepest pain as you shared moments of your journey.

I actually have a 3-year-old son, and my daughter was due to be delivered via c-section on 11/4/09. Exactly one week before that I went to the hospital for decreased fetal movement, thinking they would monitor me, tell me everything was fine, and send me home. Instead, Addison was delivered the next morning, 10/28/09, and after an EEG and brain MRI, she was diagnosed with severe hypoxic ischemic brain injury (cord accident, so it appears). It was amazing to me that a baby with no reflexes (no blinking, no swallowing, no gagging, no eye dilation) could breathe on her own (never mind the fact that a virtually brain dead baby could score a 10-minute APGAR of 8...but that's a rant for another time). And so it came to be that we took Addison to hospice to die. Addison was born in a virtual coma-like state and remained that way until she died exactly one week later on 11/4/09.

Perhaps it's the similarity of us both having a 3-year-old at the time of the loss, myself being of "advanced maternal age," my lack of religious afiliations, the fact that my daughter lived 8 days, or my own propensity for 4-letter word usage that drew me to your blog. Okay, or maybe--just maybe, it's the fact that you're a damn good writer and put it all out there for us to see. Anyway, I'm glad you did, because it gives me a possible glimpse into my own future. Maybe I'll find joy again some day after suffering this horrendous loss.

I guess what I'm trying to say is, would you please carry the name of my sweet daughter with you on Sunday? My husband and I plan on attending our first Compassionate Friends meeting on 12/16, and plan on going to our local candle lighting ceremony. But if you would add Addison to you collection of scraps, it would remind me that your blog is no more a work of fiction than was my own pregnancy and delivery, even if I now have nothing to show for it but a shelf under my belly button, a box of cremains, and a stack of condolence cards.

erica said...

Thanks so much for doing this, Tash. Please add Teddy's name to your list.

after iris said...

It would mean so much if Iris was on your list too. Thank you, Tash. xx

Anonymous said...

Adelle Shayna Hanover, please. She is my friend's baby who only lived five months.

Sophie said...

Tash, I would love for you to carry Jordan's name again. Thank you. I will be lighting a candle on Sunday at 7.

xx

Alexa said...

It would mean so much to know you were carrying Ames' name with you. Thank you for this.

Hope's Mama said...

I'd be honoured if you could carry Hope with you again.
Much love.

CLC said...

I would love for you to include Hannah with all the other babies. Thank you.

Anonymous said...

I have been reading for a while but this is my first comment. I would be honored if you carried my daughter's name, McKenna, with you to the ceremony.

Crystal Escobar said...

I cried when I read about your little girl. How awful that must be, ugh, I'm so sorry. Anyway, I came across your blog somehow, and now I'm following you :) Just want to connect with other moms. I recently started a blog for moms, hoping to collect information and advice. Feel free to check it out.
www.balancedmoms.blogspot.com

Mirne said...

My three beautiful children: Freyja, Kees and Jet.

ezra'smommy said...

Thanks Tash - Ezra Malik

Anonymous said...

Thank you so much for doing this. I would be honored if you would remember my brother Joey, who died at 4 years due to hypoxic brain injury at birth, and my cousin Stephen, who was born at 7 months and lived 6 hours.

Anonymous said...

Would love you to remember my three:
Xavier
Zora
Nathan

And my cousin who died as a baby:
Jeffrey

Thanks, Tara

Isabel's Mommy said...

My daughter, Isabel Grace King.

Thank you so much Tash.

3/4 mom said...

Thanks for doing this, Tash. Please include my Samantha in your list of names.

Oh, and I won't use the "c" word, but I'm sincerely happy to hear that you're expecting.

Lin said...

This is a beautiful tradition. I will share your post with a friend who has suffered many unfortunate losses. You're generosity is wonderful!

Anonymous said...

I will light a candle this weekend for your Maddy and all the others. I would love to have my little guy remembered, if you don't mind.

Owen Philip Lawrence
b 11.24.04
d 11.26.04

Your posts are beautiful and touching. Thank you.
Amy

Anonymous said...

Thank you for doing this again

please take my baby's name, June H

k@lakly said...

Oh Tash,
As if the reading of this wasn't enough to wrench my gut, but going through the comments and reading each little ones name, many I 'know', some I don't, it still just breaks me. I sometimes think I am a seasoned(read hardened) vet of all this db stuff, but this, this list and your willingness to hold close for these days the lost hopes of so many, it reminds me, how close to the surface and now spilling over the surface, the tears are.
I would love it if you could tuck Caleb safely into your pocket for me, it seems a perfect place for his memory to be right now.
xxoo

kp said...

Melanie.
Thank you so much.

Danny, Julie, Jack and Mari said...

Beckett H (9/28/08) and Sullivan G (9/22/09)

Grammacello said...

Shawn Douglas McDowell
Thanks SO much.

Cyndi said...

Thanks Tash. I have been reading for a couple of years now, but have rarely commented. Please take my nieces with you:

Brandalyn Faith and Savanna Hope

Azaera said...

I would love if you could add Sophie..

myskytimes said...

Tash, it's beautiful what you are doing. If you have a little space on paper left, I would be more than happy if you could carry my son Sky with you. Feels like he'll be in good company...

I will light all the candles I have on Sunday.
Thanks for what you're doing. xoxo

Sarah said...

Thanks for this. I missed the holiday memorial service for my local bereavement .

Kate Elizabeth Holden (6/19/05)

She lived for 7 hours following emergency delivery due to maternal uterine rupture. Official cause of death was meconium aspiration/hypoxia.

jussieu said...

Nicholas Holmes, please.

Mommy (You can call me OM) said...

Elisabeth Moira, my baby girl.

Thank you.

Anonymous said...

This is my first time posting anywhere about this but I have been reading around for awhile. I would be truly touched if my son Duke (stillborn at 31 weeks in June, no known cause) could be remembered.

Thank you so much.

Ann said...

Tash- Your generous heart is an inspiration. Please add our babies- The Strommen twins. We lost them in October, the pregnancy was at 14 weeks. Thank you for your kindness.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for carrying my Mary Elizabeth with you. I really appreciated it last year and again this year.

ms. G said...

I love that you do this, Tash. I meant to get on and email you my children's names rather than just letters, but I forgot, which actually is so telling of where I am at right now in terms of wanting to "remember" them. Maybe next year.

I hope the ceremony was peaceful for you.

Richard Payton said...

He's not my child - but he was my older brother - born 2 months too soon in a time without artificial surfactant; my mother never got to hold him (she'd developed a fever, they whisked him away to another hospital with better equipment, and wouldn't transfer her until she was fever-free, which was after he passed), and there was no funeral for him. How she got over that to then have me, 2 years later, also 2 months premature (incompetent cervix, anyone?), I'll never know. As an aside - any medical condition with the term incompetent in it is just salt in the wounds, if you ask me. She had many losses (at least 4 that I know of, 2 after 24 weeks gestation). It's just me and my sister who made it. His name was Chad; he was born on the 4th of July 1974; I wish I'd been able to know him.