To the editor:
The loss of a child, no matter what the age, is a heartache that mothers, fathers and families carry silently year in and year out. The pain and grief can be especially difficult during the holidays when families gather together to share and make memories.
At 6:15 p.m. Sunday, bereaved parents and their families can find comfort and support through the Compassionate Friends Worldwide Candle Lighting ceremony.
The ceremony will take place in the Hopkins Park Terrace Room, 1403 Sycamore Road in DeKalb, and is sponsored by Northwestern Medicine Hospice DeKalb and organized by local bereaved parents.
During the ceremony, we remember and honor our beloved children and recognize our loss and grief through songs, readings and personal stories.
At 7 p.m., after the main program, there will be a time of reflection and remembrance as each bereaved parent/family, who feels comfortable, is invited to light a candle for their child. This time of candle lighting is meant to coincide with candle lighting ceremonies by Compassionate Friends groups all over the world who will also light candles at 7 p.m. in their own time zones.
Jen Conley, Northwestern Medicine Hospice music therapist and harpist, will provide music during the ceremony.
Refreshments and a time to connect with other bereaved parents will follow the ceremony. And each family will be given a special Christmas ornament, handmade by the bereaved parents organizing the ceremony, to take home to remember their child.
Parents are invited to bring a photo of their child to display on a remembrance table during the evening.
We lost our 23-year-old son, Kevin, to leukemia, several weeks after Christmas about six years ago. Since then, this ceremony has given us a chance to reflect on and honor Kevin’s memory during what is always a bittersweet holiday season for our family.
Please call Erin Mitchell, hospice bereavement support coordinator, at 815-756-3000, for information.
Diane DeMers and Dave Ballantine
Bereaved parents and DeKalb residents