On this day, for my family, it is a happy day. A day when a family grew and welcomed one more into their midst. My younger brother was born this day, the day before his only brother was born. My brothers have almost always shared a birthday even though they were born six years and one day apart; the younger’s birthday coming one day before the elder’s.
My older brother had six sisters bracketing him for the first six years of his life. His only brother came home on his own birthday after being born one day before. He told my mother that this was the best birthday present he could ever have.
But as I looked up this day online, I discovered that it is a bittersweet day for many others.
Today is Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day.
It is not internationally observed, though that doesn’t mean that there aren’t people out there trying to make it so. The fact that it is observed at all is fairly new in and of itself.
This day has more meaning to my family than just one thing or another. We have lost children due to miscarriage or shortly after birth as well. I wish that we had known of this day earlier, we could have had moments of silence for my lost uncles and aunts on both sides, for the loss of a niece or nephew and for the loss of my cousin. But this day also gives me hope, because on this day a child lived and breathed and continued to live until he grew and became an adult.
My younger brother is the most forgiving person I have ever known. When I am terrified, I turn to him. When I am grief-stricken, it is him I ask for. After learning of this day, I cannot think of any other I would associate with this Day of Remembrance than the gentle soul that is the youngest member of my family.
Even if you haven’t lost a child in your immediate family, even if you haven’t lost one in your extended family, please join people scattered across the globe who will light a candle at 1900 hours their own time (that’s 7:00 pm) for one hour to help remember the little children who could have been joining the world, but were taken home so early on.
Have a moment of silence in remembrance of the bright lights that only flickered for a small moment of time in the universe.