The death of a child is devastating and it’s important to the family that the child always be remembered. That’s why members of The Compassionate Friends of Santa Clarita will participate in an annual worldwide event designed to honor the memories of all children, regardless of age, who have died.
The chapter is joining Sunday, Dec. 9, with hundreds of organized memorial services around the world for The Compassionate Friends 22nd annual Worldwide Candle Lighting, an event now believed to be the largest mass candle lighting in the world.
The local candle lighting will be part of a special service held indoors beginning 6:30 p.m. at La Mesa Jr. High School, 26623 May Way, Santa Clarita, and will feature poems, selected readings, music, a slide show and performances with featured singers. Annually tens of thousands of families, united in loss, light candles for one hour during the Worldwide Candle Lighting, held the second Sunday in December.
Candles are first lit at 7 p.m., local time, just west of the International Date Line. As candles burn down in one time zone, they are lighted in the next, creating a 24-hour wave of light as the observance continues around the world. Battery-operated candles will be provided to all who attend.
The holiday season is an extremely difficult time of the year for families grieving the death of a child. This Worldwide Candle Lighting has united bereaved families around the globe 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.
First started in the United States in 1997 as a small internet observance, the event has since swelled in numbers as word has spread throughout the world of remembrance. Hundreds of formal candle lighting events are held and thousands of informal candle lightings are conducted in homes as families gather in quiet remembrance of children who have died, but will never be forgotten.
This candle lighting transcends all ethnic, cultural, religious, and political boundaries as tens of thousands of families share in this worldwide memorial event.
Throughout the United States, members of nearly 700 chapters observe this day in differing ways, some alone, some with friends and family, and many in organized candle lighting ceremonies like the service planned by our chapter, The Compassionate Friends of Santa Clarita. We invite everyone, whether or not they have suffered the personal loss of a child, to join in this moving tribute.
With the theme “…that their light may always shine,” the Worldwide Candle Lighting has grown larger every year with formal services last year in all 50 United States and Washington, D.C., as well as at least 19 countries around the world. TCF’s national website, www.compassionatefriends.org, is expected to receive and post information on more than 550 services on its website. It will also have open for posts a Remembrance Book on Sunday that, in a 24-hour-period, will receive thousands of tributes from family members and other caring individuals.
To contact The Compassionate Friends of Santa Clarita, call Diane Briones at 252-4654 or Alice Renolds at 252-4374.
For more information about the national organization and its chapters nationwide, call 877-969-0010 or visit TCF’s national website, www.compassionatefriends.org and the Santa Clarita Valley Chapter website, www.compassionatefriends-scv.org.
The Compassionate Friends has a presence in at least 30 countries and is the world’s largest self-help bereavement organization.