Candle lighting: Families remember those lost

Diane Briones and Alice Renolds, light the candles before the audience at the 19th annual Candle Light Remembrance Program presented by the Santa Clarita Valley Chapter of the Compassionate Friends, Sunday evening, Dec. 8, 2019. Gilbert Bernal/The Signal

The Compassionate Friends of the Santa Clarita Valley invited the community to come together Sunday at La Mesa Junior High School to remember loved ones who have died.

“We are all seeking and struggling to build a future for ourselves, but we are committed to building a future together,” said Steve Berry, as he recited the Compassionate Friends credo. “We reach out to each other in love to share the pain as well as the joy, share the anger as well as the peace, share the faith as well as the doubts and help each other to grieve as well as to grow. We need not walk alone.”

In addition to candle lighting, the 19th annual Candle Lighting Remembrance Program was filled with music performances, poems and a video presentation — all of which were done in memory of those the performers had lost.

A mother and daughter duo, Rachel and Elizabeth Burson, left to right, sang “Remember Me” as her mother played the piano at the 19th annual Candle Light Remembrance Program presented by the Santa Clarita Valley Chapter of the Compassionate Friends, Sunday evening, Dec. 8, 2019. Gilbert Bernal/The Signal

“Losing a child is devastating, but we have all been left with a special gift: our memories,” said chapter leader Diane Briones. “Though at times it may be painful to think about, our childhood remains a part of us forever. Memories are forever.”

The national Compassionate Friends organization created Worldwide Candle Lighting Day in 1997 as a day “to honor the memories of the sons, daughters, brothers, sisters and grandchildren who left too soon,” according to their website. 

“The Compassionate Friends Worldwide Candle Lighting Day unites family and friends around the globe, creating a 24-hour wave of light that encompasses the globe, moving from timezone to timezone,” Briones added.

A gathered audience listened to Steven Sprague play the piano and sing “The Prayer” at the 19th annual Candle Light Remembrance Program presented by the Santa Clarita Valley Chapter of the Compassionate Friends, Sunday evening, Dec. 8, 2019. Gilbert Bernal/The Signal

During the program, chapter leaders Briones and Alice Renolds lit five candles, representing grief, courage, memories, love and hope. 

“This candle represents our courage to comfort our sorrow, to comfort each other, to change our lives,” Renolds said. “Like a chain, we are as weak as our weakest link — this is but half of the truth — we are also as strong as our strongest link.” 

The Compassionate Friends of SCV meets the first Thursday of each month at Fellowship Christian Church, located at 26889 Bouquet Canyon Road, Suite C, in Saugus. To learn more, visit compassionatefriends-scv.org.

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