Every year since 1997 CHERUBS members have participated in National Children’s Memorial Day. This was started by Compassionate Friends in remembrance of all children lost. This includes children of all ages, including those not yet born, and includes children lost from all diseases, birth defects, accidents, murders, suicides – ALL children. Because we have several cherubs who were lost over 1 yr old, the Pregnancy and Infant Loss Day didn’t encompass all of our cherubs – National Children’s Memorial Day does. It also allow grieving parents to meet with other local grieving parents in their areas. This event occurs every year on the 2nd Sunday of December and proclamations by the Senate and President are signed. Proclamations are also signed by other heads of state around the world.
Each year, most of our grieving families light candles at 7:00 pm – with each time zone this creates a continuous light around the world for 24 hours. Many of us light candles for our cherubs and for other cherubs as well. I invite ALL members to participate this year. This includes those of you who still have your cherubs – please light a candle for those cherubs lost, in honor of your miracle and blessing of still having your cherub here.
Some of you may know, I have had many miscarriages. I light candles for those babies as well and light candles for many cherubs. I started doing this in 1997 and in 1999 I had to add a candle for Shane. That first year his candle (a tealight) caught my coffee table on fire. 20-something candles on the table for my babies and many cherubs and his somehow got the polyurethane so hot that it burnt a hole in my antique table. I still used that table until last month when I got married and didn’t have room for it – I smiled every time I saw that burn mark – like Shane was sending me a sign that he was there. Because the 2 years before, he had been, watching the flames on the candles as his dad and I said prayers for the children lost. And saying prayers for how thankful we were to have him still here. This is why I ask of all you to participate – in joy for our cherubs still here and in memory for those who are not.
Some other things we can do to also raise awareness…. wear CDH Awareness clothing. It doesn’t matter what group it’s from, what color the ribbon is… just raise awareness. Our Texas members had group candle lighting ceremonies for 2 years. I help a group candle lighting in NC for all local grieving parents (not just CDH) one year. Churches will often include information in their services and programs if you ask. Many churches will let you hold candle lighting ceremonies as well. During the day you could organize a balloon release with the children’s names on the balloons (florists will often donate them). Local newspapers usually welcome stories on NCMD and the events held locally. This is a great way to raise awareness of NCMD and CDH. Or you can just gather your family in your home and light candles and say prayers at 7:00.
The week before NCMD, our site will change to black and white and there will be a listing of all the 100’s of babies lost to CDH on our homepage, with a candle by each of their names (make sure you check the box to give publishing permission on your Profile so your cherub is included if your cherub has wings). This will stay up for 1 week and it will be a very solemn reminder of just how many cherubs are lost – scrolling and scrolling through a list of names of victims to CDH is heartbreaking when you think of all the families of all these children. We do this out of respect for our grieving families, those who will not get to buy toys for their cherubs this Christmas or watch them build snowmen or celebrate New Year’s.
The point of all we are doing for NCMD, of all of this, is let us all participate this year and remember why we are all here – to help CDH families and to try to stop the loss of more babies to CDH.
If you would like to hold a local event, please let us know.
CHERUBS – The Association of Congenital Diaphragmatic Hernia Research, Awareness and Support