One of the most special items we sell at Little Olive Tree is our memorial candle for honouring the precious people in our lives whom we have lost.
Anniversaries, birthdays and family events can bring back the sorrow and grief of the loss. Lighting a candle in memory of them is a practical and meaningful way to include our loved ones in events and to celebrate their life. This ritual can provide the comfort of a meaningful tradition shared with family members around the world.
These beautiful candles are a collaborative project with Susan from KJdesigns Handstamped Jewellery. We produce the scented soy candle in a gorgeous glass container covered with a special quote or poem and the team at KJdesigns hand stamp your custom personal message onto a stainless steel disc.
I spent some time with Susan to chat about what she does and her inspirational story of dealing with loss and grief.
Here’s her story…
What inspired you to start your business KJdesigns?
In 2011 my much-wanted baby, Koby James, was born silently into this world, and I was plunged into a world of disbelief and grief. In the months following his death, I began searching for ways to commemorate his life, to make him ‘real’. The roller coaster that is grief, the inability to understand why, and my endless searching for reason led me to re-evaluate my life.
This search eventually led to the discovery of hand-stamped jewellery, and when I couldn’t find anyone in New Zealand creating this, I decided to make some myself.
KJdesigns was born. I threw myself into creating, it became my passion and eventually my full-time business. Koby changed my life, gave me a new direction and helped me find passion.
How do you think a memorial candle helps someone who is grieving?
For me, having and doing things for my baby, is how I can continue to ‘parent’ him. It makes me feel more connected to him and creates new memories. Having something with his name on makes it even more special and personal. The idea of lighting a candle and seeing the flame flickering, the gorgeous scent – it’s creating a special memory with you and your loved one. It is my hope that they are just as special for others also.
A fairly large proportion of customers who purchase our memorial candles do so for the International Wave of Light. This is an amazing event held around the world at the end of Baby Loss Awareness Week. At 7pm on 15th October we light a candle for our baby and keep it lit for at least an hour. This creates a wave of light that travels around the globe and can be seen in the heavens. Such a beautiful event and it’s lovely to share and see photos of everyone’s candles and tributes to their babies.
Our memorial candles offer a beautiful and practical way to honour and commemorate a special person. Sometimes it can be very hard to find the right words or actions to support someone who is grieving
Do you have any suggestions about how we can help someone who is grieving the loss of a loved one?
I think the main thing to remember is that there are no ‘right words’. My biggest suggestion is to be there, not to avoid the person just because you don’t know what to say or are afraid of saying the wrong thing. If you don’t know what to say – often the best thing to say is “I don’t have the right words, but want to let you know I’m here when or if you need me” or “I don’t know what to say but really wanted you to know I’m thinking of you.”
The other important thing to know is – NEVER be afraid to mention their loved one’s name. I’ve heard people say “Oh, you seem to be happy, I didn’t want to remind you!”
Well, we will never forget.
Mentioning our loved one’s name reminds us that they haven’t been forgotten – which is REALLY important to us as time goes by.
In a practical sense, in the days and weeks following the loss of a loved one – meals are a really great practical thing you can do. The fog of grief after the loss can be such that practical things are especially difficult.
On your website you say: “At KJdesigns we believe that life is all about the connections that you make with people, places, events, animals… what inspires you and makes you want to get up in the morning… what makes your heart beat faster, and your soul sing.”
What makes your soul sing and what do you do to celebrate life every day?
I’m inspired by my children every day. I wake up every morning to my 5 year old telling me he loves me. What more could I ask for? We’ve recently moved to the country, and every morning as I make my cuppa I hear the birds sing and have a beautiful view out over the hills behind my house. If I’m up early, I am treated to a beautiful sunrise. My inspirations are all 3 of my children, creating, nature, and my business. I am very lucky that my grief has led me to where I am meant to be.
Baby Loss Awareness Week
Baby Loss Awareness Week takes place from 9-15 October every year. It is a time for families and whanau around New Zealand to come together in remembrance of their babies who have died, no matter what their gestation or length of life.
The week culminates on the 15 October with the international Wave of Light event. At 7pm in each individual’s time zone, families are asked to light a candle for an hour in honour of their babies. This continuous chain of light crosses and shines across the globe for 24 hours as participants in each country light their candles.
You can find out more information at https://www.awarenessdays.com/awareness-days-calendar/global-wave-of-light-2019/
This year people are also invited to join a digital Wave of Light on October 15. Take a photo of your candle and post it to social media using #WaveOfLight at 7pm your local time.
Order Your Memorial Candle
If you would like to order a memorial candle to take part in the Wave of Light or as a thoughtful gift to comfort someone who is grieving the loss of a loved one, we would be so honoured to make one for you.
Come over to our website to choose your scent and personal wording to be hand-stamped on the disc.
If you are struggling with grief and need help, please reach out to any of the organisations below:
- Baby Loss New Zealand www.facebook.com/babylossnewzealand
- Sands New Zealand – offering support to parents, families and whanau www.sands.org.nz
- Grief Centre – provides support and advice on how to cope with grief. They also have counsellors and support groups available. www.griefcentre.org.nz
- Skylight – supporting people through times of trauma, loss and grief. They have a free phone line, 0800 299 100, and a range of different resources and information on their website www.skylight.org.nz