Parents should never have to deal with the loss of a child no matter what the reason- through miscarriages, still births, birth defects, SIDS, diseases or accident. But sadly, a lot of parents go through this. In October of 1988, President Ronald Regan proclaimed that October was National pregnancy and infant loss awareness month. A woman by the name of Robyn Bear envisioned a day when all grieving parents could come together and be surrounded by love and support from family, friends and complete strangers. A day that communities like ours could come together and better understand the pain that these families go through and learn how to reach out to those who are grieving. A day to reflect on losses and embrace each other with love. October 15th was decided to be a day of remembrance and the Wave of Light was created as a world-wide event. Robyn’s vision was that everyone in all time zones across the world would light a candle at 7pm letting it burn for one hour to create a continuous Wave of Light, to remember all the angels that were taken from us too soon. While their lives were brief, they were very meaningful and will always hold a special place in our hearts. Never to be forgotten.

Ten years ago, Becky Heral and Kathy Maxwell started participating in the ceremony after the loss of two babies who were very close to them. What started with two candles in a driveway has now turned into an event that features over 650 luminaries each representing a child or pregnancy lost. In 2019, Banner University Medical Center began hosting the event where parents, nurses, doctors and community members could come together to celebrate and grieve the lives lost. This year the community of Vail was kind enough to host the event due to COVID restrictions at the hospital. In a safe, and socially distanced ceremony the nurses from Banner University Medical Center- Tucson’s Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, families and many community members came together to laugh, cry, and bring awareness to the taboo topic of infant loss.

In 2021, the hope is to continue The Wave of Light at Banner University Medical Center. The coordinators of the event would like to invite the community to join us then! If you would like a luminary made to honor an infant or pregnancy loss or information about next year’s Wave of Light ceremony , please email Becky Heral ( by October 1, 2021! Luminaires will be kept for all future ceremonies once they are made.

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Lucretia Free