Candle Lighting Ceremony – 9th Dec

By Maureen Stols

dedicated to our Christmas Angel – Kimberlie 

Thoughts drift at this time of the year. This is for all of you who have lost someone dear to you, to all of you who have had to learn to celebrate in a different style or choose not to celebrate at all.
The approaching season when the Western world gears up for its annual celebrations-fun, laughter, family, friends, food, bedecked shops and bejewelled trees. All of this planning spins alongside your gut-wrenching dread-and you hover between wanting the world to stop and feeling obliged by society, friends or family to continue. Grief grips in waves-and it will side sweep you on an unsuspecting level-this time of year it tends to sneak up and pounce in ways you never thought possible.
This may be your first festive season without that special family member or friend, or indeed it may be several years on. When you start to use avoidance tactics; in the shops, with friends who want to make plans, and among your own family who are all dealing with the loss in different ways. It may be time to take time!
It is time to take a deep breath, to remind yourself of the wonderful times you did have with that precious person. To acknowledge that you miss them with most if not all of your heart. It is time to remind yourself there were good times, to try and honour your loved ones in those memories rather than the memories that are steeped in tears. To take care of the loved ones who are still here with you, and, most importantly, it is a time of reflection and self-care. Time to appreciate that people that care about you – your friends and family who stand by and try and share and understand your grief.
Compassionate Friends is a worldwide organisation that was created to support bereaved parents, siblings and grandparents. It connects the grieving to others who have suffered the same loss.
Once a year, on the second Sunday of December, there is a worldwide candle lighting event. At 19:00 hours local time a candle is lit for that lost child, sibling or grandchild. It is now believed to be the largest mass candle lighting on the globe. It creates a virtual 24-hour wave of light that moves from time zone to time zone, so that their light may continue to shine.
This is specifically for those that have lost children, however, there is no reason you cannot do it for someone else you have lost-after all we are all someone’s child at some time in our lives. It is a small symbol of huge significance. It resembles how a tiny step or gesture can create a path towards a better way of grieving and that in turn can lead to greater healing.
You have a choice-you can view it from afar or you can choose to actively observe your grief and not let it consume you.

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