Wednesday, February 8, 2012

The candle and the saucer.

The pediatrician we had for Eva was the all-time best pediatrician in the world.  He is a pediatrician for high-risk kids but he has agreed to take on our boys and any other future children we might be lucky enough to be blessed with, even though they are not high-risk (hopefully). 
This pediatrician gave us a beautiful, high-quality pure beeswax candle when Eva died.  We burned this candle during Eva's memorial (part of it anyway) and I have burned it every now and then when I wanted to feel especially close to her. There is something truly living about a flame. This candle has been getting smaller and smaller and I became more and more stingy about burning it...all those little connections to my child that I am loathe to give up. 
Today, I learned that someone I know gave birth to their baby at about 5 months gestation.  Baby Faith died.  She went to Heaven with her big brother. I'm sure he is taking good care of her up there and showing her the ropes but it tears me up...all this pain...all these children in Heaven.
I got out a candle for Baby Faith today and put it on the saucer with Eva's candle.  I lit them both and thought of those two girls together in Heaven.  Two little girls that could have been close enough in age to be friends here on earth.  Faith's candle burned all day and this evening burned its brightest before sputtering out.  Eva's candle continued to burn into the evening and it was so small I decided to let it burn out...I'd been watching it all evening and as the flame got bigger and more erratic as the candle began to die I thought about life...does it burn brightest before the end?  Eva's candle flickered and burned much longer than I would have expected given the tiny amount of wax left and I think about Eva's life as it burned much longer than we expected those first days in the PICU.
Since placing Eva's candle on the saucer I wondered what I would do when the candle burned out...would I scrape off the wax and throw it out...would I keep it...I just did not know.
Turns out...the candle burned so hot at the end that I was sitting on the couch and I heard a crrrraaack! The saucer had broken into many pieces, yet the candle burned on.  Eva's body is broken but she lives on. It felt appropriate that this saucer should break. There are no decisions now as to what to do with it...those of you with only living children will wonder at my sentimentality over a candle and a saucer...but those of you who have lost children will understand the sentimentality of holding onto every little scrap that we have left of our children.  There will never be another candle that burned at her memorial. 
We will light another candle and I will look at the children sitting at the table and I will look at the candle like I did with this one and imagine all my children at the table together...which will never happen again, no matter how many children we have.


  1. Gorgeous. I love how the saucer broke and the lit candle kept on going. Such a beautiful metaphor for the brokenness of our lives after our children die and the never-ending love we have for them--a love so bright, and it burns something fierce, too. I understand wanting to keep the pieces. Maybe make a mosaic tile with them? xo

    1. Dear Missing Molly,
      I thought about all the metaphor in it too and couldn't quite wrap it up the way I wanted to...your comment does it perfectly in a way that I hadn't been able to put into words. Thank you.