It was President Reagan who first recognized October as Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month in 1988. Five or six years later, the International Wave of Light began as a way to stretch love and awareness over the world for 24 hours.
You may or may not remember these dates. One date you will remember is the day you FOUND OUT. You’ll never forget where you were, what the weather was like, what you were wearing when you found out that your child was gone.
I found out, ironically or maybe not, on an October 15.
My son would be born the next day, October 16. In that moment, on the day that I FOUND OUT, I was in such a state of shock that I could barely function. I watched TV with my husband. We were staring straight ahead, willing the clock to move forward so we could head to the hospital, and get away from FOUND OUT Day as fast as possible.
My FOUND OUT Day was a day of awareness for others that have come before me. For me in 2012, it was only a day of pain, guilt, panic.
Here I stand, six years later. I’ve burned a candle every October 15th for Hank. I’ve burned them on October 16, too. These are my dates. These are my FOUND OUTs.
Guess what the best part is, if there is a best part in this?
My dates, my FOUND OUT feelings, my tears, my rage, my grief, my guilt. I’m still standing. The energy that was created from my loss, and yours, is all around us tonight. It’s awareness. It’s hope. It’s love.
Hanks Hope Inc started in 2013. We became a non-profit in 2016. In 2018, we hosted Delaware’s first annual International Wave Of Light. We are working in all three counties and helping hundreds of women. We desire to help others in their darkest days- the days that are in our rear view mirror but sometimes carry over onto the windshield, blinding us.
For the one in four of you that have had a loss, we are here. We are still standing. And when we feel like we just can’t, we lean on each other, for we have found our tribe.
As you light a candle on October 15th, I urge you to do the following.
Feel your pain, but don’t let it overcome you. Honor your grief but don’t let it swallow you. Recognize your guilt but don’t – DON’T – let it drive the rest of your life. Take your broken pieces of self and let love and hope be the glue. Always remember, your babies are proud of you.