Compassionate Friends candle lighting to remember those who have passed

Diane Briones, left, and Alice Renolds, right, speak to the attendees at the Compassionate Friends of Santa Clarita Valley’s 20th Annual Candle Lighting Remembrance Program at the New Life Assembly of God in Santa Clarita, Calif., on Sunday, Dec. 12, 2021. Chris Torres/The Signal

Its purpose is to honor and remember sons, daughters, brothers, sisters and grandchildren who have left too soon. 

The Santa Clarita Valley Chapter of the Compassionate Friends plans to host its 21st annual Candle Lighting Remembrance at 6:30 p.m. on Dec. 11 at Bethlehem SCV in Canyon Country for those who lost loved ones. 

According to Canyon Country resident Alice Renolds, a parent who lost two children, events like this are an important part of the healing process. 

“I lost my two sons — 18 and 15 (years old) — in a car crash 23 years ago this February on Soledad,” she told The Signal in an interview. “It’s important to bereaved parents to always remember them, to hear their names.”  

Renolds added that at these candle-lighting events, a slideshow with pictures of those who have passed is one particular tool that offers comfort to those grieving. To see their faces and hear their names called out, she said, is quite profound. 

“This is a hard time,” Renolds continued, “especially 20 years down the line, and people, relatives just don’t want to talk about it anymore. But we do. We want to remember them, always. So, this is a time to come and hold that candle and remember them. It’s a very important time.” 

According to the Compassionate Friends website, when a loved one dies — particularly a child — “the family suffers intense pain and may feel hopeless and isolated.” The organization’s mission, then, is to provide personal comfort, hope and support to those going through such difficult times. 

The SCV chapter of Compassionate Friends, which Renolds said was founded 20 years ago, hosts regular meetings on the first Thursday of every month to carry out that mission.  

“It’s a support group run by parents who have lost a child,” Renolds added. “It’s not a psychiatrist’s help. It’s a self-help support group.” 

The Dec. 11 event, which typically runs about 45 minutes, according to Renolds, is to include music, poems and readings. Battery-operated candles will be provided to all those who attend. 

For more information, go to Bethlehem SCV is located at 27265 Luther Drive in Canyon Country. 

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