National Children's Memorial Day is a special holiday that Paul and I, together with our family will celebrate forever. It is always held on the second sunday of December and is a day of remembrance for all the children that have passed away too soon. This special day was brought to our knowledge by the MISS foundation's Los Angeles chapter -- a community of compassion and hope for grieving families. This foundation was recommended to Paul and I on our last day at the hospital by the social worker in hopes to help process our grief. Although, Paul and his side of the family were unable to join us at our first ever Candlelighting Ceremony for this cause tonight, my parents, brother and sister were able to and it meant the world to me.
We have not had the chance to join or be a part of a support group yet so this environment was so different and eye-opening for the five of us. It felt comforting to be surrounded by and physically know firsthand that we/ I am not alone in this journey. Though none of us ever thought or wanted to be a part of this group and pray so deeply that others do not have to ever go through this, there is something so special and powerful about community, this community and what it stands for.
Tonight, we had the privilege of listening to the stories of a few families and so many names of all the other babies and children gone too soon. Together, all of us in the auditorium under white warm sparkly Christmas lights, we nodded in agreement, cried, laughed and remembered together. Each family brought their own beloved photo of their beutiful son or daughter or both and placed them at the front tables of the room. The last part of the service was the time that the MISS fascilitators invited each family -- whenever they felt ready -- to come up to the front, light their candles, share their child's name and a quote, and then place their candles with their child's picture frame.
This part was my favorite. Emotional, raw, heartbreaking and yet so beautiful. Watching each family go up, hearing their babies' names and seeing their support system accompany them and be a part of something special was incredible to me. After about fifteen minutes, I finally felt inspired and "ready" to go up and share Haven's name not only out loud but also to a room filled with strangers but yet to a room with people that know the very pain, grief and heartache I live with daily. It was exhilarating and nerve-racking all at once.
When it was our turn, I said, "Tonight we light this candle in honor of my daughter, Haven Faith Mara Gavini" and my quote, "I carried you for every second of your life and I will love you for ever second of mine."
My voice cracked, I said "Umm", I started tearing up, but it felt so good for my heart and my soul to just let it out and share you, Haven with the world.
We placed five candles in front of your frame - one from me, one from Mama Meg, one from Papa DJ and one each from your grandma and grandpa.
The table looked so peaceful and elegant once every family went up and shared their precious loved one. We finished off the night with yummy Italian food and the room filled with people on the same life-long grief journey. This evening was such a release for me, in all ways healthy and stretching from my usual comfort zone. I wish Paul was able to experience it with me but I know we look forward to the rest of our lives being a part of this special day and a part of something so heart-breakingly beautiful.
There are no words to amount to how much I miss, love, think, dream, pray, and long for you more and more everyday.
Forever your mommy <3