Last night was the annual Worldwide Candle Lighting Ceremony sponsored by the Compassionate Friends. I attended the ceremony (read: was dragged there, kicking and screaming, by my best friend who always knows what’s best for me.) It was absolutely excruciating and incredibly helpful all at once. My experience was incredibly personal, and I don’t really want to share the details here.
The candle lighting itself was beautiful. We each walked up to the table of candles after our children’s names were read and lit a tiny white votive, briefly saying whatever it was we felt like saying at that moment. I truly wish no one had a reason to be there, but since we did, it was nice to be surrounded by people who get it and to feel validated.
Compassionate Friends exists so that people dealing with the loss of a child, from miscarried children all the way to adult children, can feel less alone. If you’re in this situation, please consider talking to someone from that group, even if only through email or phone. It might be terrifying to even *think* about truly looking at your loss– my best friend really did practically force me to go to the ceremony last night– but when you start to look at it clearly, you start to piece things together again.
The World Wide Candle Lighting starts, as I learned last night, at 7:00 PM at the International Date Line and goes around the world. The leader of the ceremony said astronauts had reported seeing these bands of candles lighting up all the way from space. Our children, regardless of how long or short their lives may have been, mattered. They still do.
I wish everyone peace over the holidays. May your candles always burn.