Tonight I would like to ask that at 7pm, if you’re able, you light a candle.
One flame. Wherever you are in the world. 7pm on October 15th.
Losing a child is, in so many ways, the worst pain a parent can ever experience. Whether you’ve had years before they’re taken, watch them take just one breath, or never get to even hold them, the pain is devastating. It is crushing.
At 7pm we remember them. All of them.
In my short time as a mother I have experienced a miscarriage of my own, watched friends lose babies in pregnancy, others go through the horror a still birth, and a child the same age as Miss Rose lose a battle to cancer. And we are not rare cases. We are not exceptions.
One in five pregnancies will miscarry during the first 12 weeks. In the UK alone, it is estimated that a staggering three and a half thousand babies will be still born each year. Yet when it happens to you, when it happened to me, I felt so alone. I felt so isolated. Locked in a cage of agony, the death of my child still inside me as I incubated a lost dream. A lost love. And nothing had ever hurt as badly in my life.
What I have clung to, the comfort I still feel when that baby’s due date comes around every July is that my baby never knew pain. She never knew hurt. She never knew loss. Her entire existence was warm, was safe, and was intensely loved, and incredibly valued. Life can be hard and cruel, with bright lights and sharp edges, harsh voices and vicious fists. Yet my baby, my Pip, she never felt any of it. Her life was short, but it was special, it was valuable, and it was one entirely filled with adoring devotion. I never got to meet her, but nothing stopped me loving her. And I would never wish the world hadn’t had her in it. For those short weeks she brightened the universe with her existence. A shining star of wonder and hope, and she remains that star in my memory, and in the card and stuffed toy cow I keep safe (everything else I buried in a memorial for her), and in the lives of the girls I’ve gone on to have since.
At 7pm in England I shall be lighting my candle. I shall light it for me, for Pip, and for all of us who have had our children ripped from our arms and bodies, but never from our hearts. And as we all do the same across the world a wave of light shall illuminate the globe and send a message that no life, no matter how short, is forgotten. No life, no matter how short, is insignificant. And we still love them, still miss them, and still think of them.
Please take part, please light your candle, and please think of my Pip among those you remember.
Love to you all, as always x
You can check out all my contact info an links on www.jjbarnes.co.uk, I’m on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram so you can get in touch on there, as well as find links to all my work. There’s also www.sirenstories.co.uk which has all the work by both myself and The Boy (Jonathan McKinney) and loads of extra content such as background stories for different characters. If you want to subscribe on Patreon, its just $1 a month to help support our work and it also grants you access to our extra podcast a week, you can go to www.patreon.com/sirenstories.
Thanks as always for reading, and I’ll speak to you soon I hope!