By Alice Renolds
When a child dies at any age the family suffers intense pain and it is probably the most traumatic life-changing event that you will ever experience. That is why it’s important to the family that the child always be remembered.
We know firsthand this deep searing pain. I am Alice Renolds, the mother of two sons who were killed in a horrific car crash 18 years ago here in Santa Clarita and Diane Briones is the mother of a beautiful daughter who was killed in a single-car crash on the 170 freeway 20 years ago.
We are both leaders of the Santa Clarita Chapter of The Compassionate Friends support group. This group is a self-help organization made up of parents who have experienced the death of a child who offer support, comfort and understanding through our monthly meetings to families who have suffered the loss of a child, grandchild or a sibling. The both of us know how very important it is for bereaved parents to hear their child’s name and see their pictures, whether it has been a month or 20 years.
That is why we want to make sure that the community knows that they are invited to join our local chapter as we participate in the 22nd Annual Worldwide Candle Lighting to remember all children, siblings and grandchildren who have died at any age from any cause.
Our special program will be held at 6:30 p.m. Dec. 9 at La Mesa Junior High School, 26623 May Way, Santa Clarita. It will feature poems, selected readings, music, a slide show and performances with featured singers. Candles (battery operated) will be provided to all those who attend. After the program, cookies, coffee and hot chocolate will be available.
The holiday season is an extremely difficult time of the year for families grieving the death of a child. For us, even after 18 and 20 years we can barely get through these celebratory days starring at those empty chairs and wondering the “what if’s?”
This candle lighting, however, unites bereaved families around the world as a symbolic way of showing the love we continue to carry for our children, even though they can no longer be with us physically.
Please join us so… “that their light may always shine.”
You may contact us at [email protected] or visit www.compassionatefriends-scv.org.