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Ceremony to pay tribute to lost babies

After experiencing four miscarriages, one local mother finally gave birth to a healthy baby boy on Jan. 7, 2018. On May 6, four short months later, Shayla Mena put little Xavier down for a nap. He never woke up.
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Shayla Mena is one of the organizers of the Wave of Light ceremony held Tuesday at the Omineca Art Centre. Mena lost her son Xavier last year when he was four months old. The Wave of Light ceremony is a memorial for all those who have lost their angel babies.

After experiencing four miscarriages, one local mother finally gave birth to a healthy baby boy on Jan. 7, 2018.

On May 6, four short months later, Shayla Mena put little Xavier down for a nap.

He never woke up.

To honour the memory of all angel babies, the Wave of Light Ceremony will take place Tuesday at the Omineca Arts Centre from 6 to 8 p.m.

The Wave of Light is a global event that takes place on Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Day, Oct. 15, where people around the world are invited to light a candle in memory of their lost little ones at 7 p.m. in all time zones for one hour, creating a wave of light across the world.

The event is for all those who are affected by the loss of an infant, including mom and dad, grandmothers and grandfathers and all other family members and friends.

During the local event, there will be a slideshow of those babies who have been lost.

Mena is the organizer of the local event along with her sister Natasha Muir and Xavier is their inspiration.

Having experienced such loss, Mena knows how important it is to seek help and support during these difficult times. Mena said she's experienced many losses during her lifetime but losing Xavier has been the most difficult.

"After I lost my son, I just realized pregnancy and infant loss aren't considered taboo subjects as much as they used to be but support systems for that kind of loss are not really advertised," Mena said. "So that's why I'm trying to raise more awareness and show people there is more support out there."

The Wave of Light is something Mena finds very healing, she added.

"It's also a really good space to be able to share our stories without having to worry abut how others are going to react because it can be very awkward being an infant loss parent or pregnancy loss parent," she said.

"It's definitely a hard subject to bring up but having a place to share your story I find is a very important part of the grieving process. I find a lot of people try to avoid talking about their children in front of me because they are worried about upsetting me, which can be a difficult situation because some days I'm fine and then other days it hits me but for the most part I like to talk about my son as much as I can and I think that's always the way it is for a grieving parent - at least for myself - one of my greatest fears is that my son will be forgotten so I try to keep his memory alive as much as I can."

Mena has asked Ann Bozoki to appear as a guest speaker during the event as she is a representative for the Compassionate Friends Group in Prince George.

"During the event we will do a slideshow with names, dates and photos and I will read out the names as we light the candles," Mena said. "It seems to help people to hear their angel baby's name being spoken."

Organizers of the event will provide care packages for those parents who have lost a baby, which include a resource list of programs to help with the grieving process.