This day is reserved for remembering those children who have died before us.  International Children's Memorial Day is marked on the second Sunday of December each year. It is internationally observed by family and friends in their respective time zones who light candles from 7-8 p.m. around the globe in memory of their beloved children who have died at any age for any reason.  

This year my husband and I will honor our son, Joseph, when we attend a candle lighting service at Children's Hospital of Philadelphia from 7-8 p.m.  During that time music will play while a slide show of all of the children being remembered at that service will be shown.  The slide show, from start to finish, will take almost the full hour which is just a small example of how many children and their families live with the injustice of child loss.

When time continues after the loss of one's child, as unbelievable as that may be to the parents, I am of the mindset that the most helpful thing that friends and family can do to help those grieving parents function despite the hole in their hearts is, simply, to remember the child who has died.  Remembering the child who has passed can be done in various ways.  Luckily, all of them are relatively easy to accomplish:
 
1) Do not fear speaking of the child who has died;
2) Do not fear hearing the parents speak of the child who has died;
3) Be aware that, no matter how much time has passed, a parent never "heals" from the loss of a child;
4) Resist the temptation to "fix" a bereaved parents sadness: just listening to a grieving parent speak or letting them know you are thinking of them can bring tremendous comfort.

On Sunday, December 12th, please consider lighting a candle to honor the memory of a child who has died.  If you are lucky enough not to know anyone in this category, I invite you to light a candle in memory of our son, Joseph, who was and continues to be the light of our lives. He is loved and missed more with each passing day and, while we think of him most moments of every day, we appreciate this hour set aside to let the light of his soul shine bright...which is the very least it deserves.