"Wave of Light" to support those experiencing loss
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KAISERSLAUTERN, Germany -- Maj. Mark Rendon, US Army Garrison Rheinland-Pfalz Family and Life Chaplain, will be hosting a "Wave of Light Celebration" at the Java Café on Rhine Ordnance Barracks, Dec. 12.

The celebration is to honor pregnancy and infant loss babies by celebrating the joy they brought to families across the Kaiserslautern Military Community and is an opportunity to join bereaved parents, families and friends and commemorate all babies who passed away.

Even though October is Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month -- where many organizations throughout the world conduct events recognizing stillbirth, miscarriage, neonatal death and Sudden Infant Death Syndrome and the official month of the "Wave of Light" -- the Rheinland-Pfalz Family and Life Chaplain felt this was something parents needed and did not want to wait until October 2018 to help support area families in need.

"There was an event in Landstuhl in October," Rendon said. "But, I wanted to give the opportunity to families that either didn't know about the event or those that didn't think they were ready to attend. I wanted to give them a chance to share their story."

This celebration is to help break the silence around the death of babies by talking about individual experiences that could potentially help others that have gone through something similar, cope with their pain.

"My wife and I have lost three of our own babies, and subsequently after each loss there was little to no support," Rendon said. "Often times what happens is there is support at the hospital and you leave and you feel alone."

The Wave of Light is a creative concept developed by English and American organizations, based on progressive candle lightings all around the world. The thought is people across the globe would light a candle at 7 p.m. for at least an hour, and as the light is being extinguished in one time zone, a new time zone will take on the duty of lighting a candle causing a continuous wave.

"I think the lives that have been lost through pregnancy are just as important as the old parents that you lay to rest," Rendon said. "Maybe their life was short but there's value in all those little moments, and that's important."

The loss of a child can cause stress on families and a strain on relationships. There are resources that will be made available to families during the event.

"Starting in January, I'm going to start a support group, one evening a month for family members to come and talk and know that they are not alone," Rendon said. "I'm passionate about what I do, I want to love people and I want to help people through their journey."

For more information on the ceremony or to join the support group, contact USAG Rheinland Pfalz Family Life Chaplain (Maj.) Mark Rendon office located at Bldg. 277 on ROB.