Compassionate Friends Candle-Lighting Ceremony December 14th

Article by Make The Days Count Contributor Tamara Belinc


Parents all over the world will light candles December 14th at 7:00 p.m., in honor and remembrance of their children who have died in an annual candle-lighting ceremony sponsored by the Compassionate Friends organization.


The Compassionate Friends organization strives to help families move toward the positive resolution of grief following the death of a child at any age and to provide information to help others be supportive.  The support group was organized over 40 years ago in England when a chaplain at a hospital brought together two sets of grieving parents, realizing they could support each other better than anyone else could.


The Society of the Compassionate Friends was born. The organization came to the United States in 1978.  Today, Compassionate Friends is made up of over 600 chapters in all 50 states, plus Washington, D.C., and Puerto Rico.


Patricia Loder is the executive director of the Compassionate Friends organization of the United States.  Her children were killed in a car accident in 1991, and a few months later, she found a chapter of The Compassionate Friends to attend.  Later, she established a chapter of Compassionate Friends near her home. Her husband serves as the public awareness coordinator.


Members of Compassionate Friends are dedicated to bringing hope back to parents who may think life is over once their child is gone.  The organization doesn’t discriminate based on when a child was lost and includes parents whose children were stillborn, died as young children and teenagers or as adults.


The candle-lighting is traditionally held the second Sunday in December at 7:00 p.m., local time. Candles stay lighted for one hour in each time zone creating a virtual 24-hour wave of light. It is believed to be the largest mass candle-lighting ceremony in the world and has hundreds of thousands of participants.  For anyone who cannot attend one of the formal candle-lighting ceremonies, you are invited to hold an informal one in their home.


To find a ceremony near you, visit the Compassionate Friends website.

Posted on 12 December, 2008 in Helping Others, Parenting
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