My husband Mat and I attended the Bears of Hope ball last night. It was amazing to be surrounded by so many men and women celebrating their babies.
It was made even more special because I won the competition they were running. We had accommodation provided at the lovely Quest Apartments (Homebush) and my hair and makeup done too! I booked the tickets for the ball back on March, today I looked up the exact date and it was only 9 days after Ava died. I must have known at the time that we would need something to look forward to in the next few months. I remember feeling such an overwhelming need to have Ava's life acknowledged and the BOH ball did an excellent job of this!
The room was of course full of bereaved parents, grandparents, aunties, uncles, friends and supporters. I have wondered what the mood would be like for months. Would it be full of a room of crying parents? Because let's face it, I'd understand if it were! Instead it felt like (and it was) a celebration of all the babies gone too soon. Of course there were tears, we all miss our babies terribly and wish we were celebrating their birthdays and watching them grow up, but overwhelmingly I saw alot of smiles of proud parents!
It was lovely putting faces to names and names to babies meeting people for the first time that I have only got to know online in my support groups. I kept thinking how amazing it is that I can remember the stories and pictures of so many precious babies now - the same babies who are in heaven playing with Ava Grace right now!
My brother and sister in law came to support us which was really lovely, and I also want to acknowledge their two losses before going on to have my gorgeous neice Harriet!
Bears of Hope do an incredible job of acknowledging the loss of our children through the many ways they provide support and the advocacy and education they do in breaking down the barriers and talking about miscarriage, stillbirth and neonatal loss.
One way our babies are acknowledged at the BOH ball is the candle lighting ceremony. On each table are candles and matches and we lit these rembering our babies. As we were doing this a presentation of our babies names were displayed on big screens. I was so taken and overwhelmed by my candle I was lighting for Ava that I missed seeing Ava's name because she was right at the start!
There is something powerful that happens when we see our babies names. It gives life to those that are not here now. It is a visual demonstration that our babies were here, even for just a short time, whether just in the womb of minutes in the arms of their parents. It acknowledges those parents who are left with empty arms and who don't get to hear the words mummy and daddy daily.
Thankyou Bears of Hope for creating such a lovely evening. I look forward to attending this event and seeing Ava's name up in lights again!