On Sunday, December 9th, my husband and I joined in The Compassionate Friends Worldwide Candle Lighting. It is held on the second Sunday of December, at 7 p.m., when bereaved parents light candles for their deceased children. The candles are supposed to stay lit for one hour. As candles are lit in community after community, country after country, a virtual wave of light goes around the globe. We readied our candle, watched the clock, and lit it as the chimes struck seven times. I looked at the flame and started to cry. "It never gets easier," I commented to my husband. "No, it doesn't," he agreed. "But we have learned to live with it."
Last year was the first time we participated in the ceremony, an emotional experience then and now. Yet the experience was comforting. I felt connected to the thousands of other parents who have lost a child. Last summer I spoke at the Bereaved Parents of the USA Annual Gathering in Tampa, Florida. We participated in a similar candle lighting ceremony there. The couple across from us had lost three children and I wondered how they were still standing. The mother held up two votives and the father one. Witnessing their sorrow made me cry. I cried for them and for us.
Candles won't bring our children back, but they can unite us, and give us courage to get on with their lives. We will be lighting candles on the second Sunday of December for the rest of our days and honoring our daughter by nurturing her wonderful twins.