Sunday, November 25, 2007

Worldwide Candlelighting

On the second Sunday in December every year, there is a worldwide candle lighting that unites families and friends around the globe for one hour to honor and remember children who have died at any age from any cause. As candles are lit at 7 p.m. local time, hundreds of thousands of persons commemorate and honor children in a way that transcends all ethnic, cultural, religious and political boundaries. This year the candle lighting will be held on Sunday, December 9 at 7 p.m. For those who would like to participate, many states list their information for the ceremony on the Compassionate Friends website: .

It took many years of hard work to get legislation to make this an official event. The U.S. Senate unanimously passed the resolution declaring this day National Children’s Memorial Day. It allows us to join together in unity to remember and honor the memories of all children so they may never be forgotten.

The worldwide candle lighting creates a virtual 24-hour wave of light as it moves from time zone to time zone. Not only are hundreds of formal candle lighting events held, but also thousands of informal ones are conducted in homes as families gather in quiet remembrance of special children to always be remembered. It is believed to be the largest mass candle lighting on the globe.

This lighting started in the U.S. in 1997 as a small internet observance, but has swelled in numbers as word has spread throughout the world. In the U.S., publicity about the event has been featured in Parade Magazine, Ann Landers column, Guideposts magazine, and hundreds of newspapers.

I hope you can find this event locally so that you may participate, and if not, just doing a lighting in your own home will ensure your child is never forgotten.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Thanksgiving remembrances

Thanksgiving: a time for families to gather around the dining room table, a time to share the story of the pilgrims and their bountiful harvest, a time for caring, a time for loving.

Thanksgiving 1993 was the last time I saw my daughter in a family-type setting, so it is hard for me to think of it as a joyous occasion when it comes around every year. I still miss her laughter, her stories, her hardy appetite, as I would watch her gooble down the turkey she loved so much. That last time she was just married a little over a month, so she drove from California to Arizona that weekend with her husband, planning to spend Thanksgiving with the family and her friends still living in the area. I remember how uncomfortable she was in the trundle bed and complained it was hard to be close when the two beds were just pushed together. After all, she said, they were officially a married couple and wanted to sleep close together. I laughed and told her she could deal with it for a few days, that there would be so much time, so many years together. No, not to be. Only a few months as it turned out.

I don’t think it matters that she was my only child. I’m sure it is just as hard for parents who still have other children to look at that empty seat at the dinner table and remember with love other, more happy Thanksgivings. But we all do the best we can.

One year I helped out at St. Vincent de Paul dining room for the homeless. I stood behind the counter and dished out food. As they came through the line, I played a game with myself. Let’s see if I could guess the situation and why these people were homeless, why they had no one with whom to share this holiday. What had happened in their lives to place them there on that day? As hard as I tried I couldn’t imagine. And then I heard some stories…all heartbreaking to say the least. You always think your situation is the worst, until you hear another’s story.

It is then I realize how lucky I am to have people who care, people who invite me every year to their dinner table, those who know it’s hard for me but want me to know they understand. Those people are my true friends. I try as hard as I can to enjoy myself. Sometimes it works well, other times, not so well. But I believe that is to be expected, and when it’s over, I breath a sign of relief that I don’t have to think about this particular holiday for another 365 days. I move on as I try to do every day of my life and make the most of it, always thinking of these good memories with my daughter, my friends and my loved ones.

And for those who don’t know the real story of that first Thanksgiving the Pilgrims celebrated, the feast was not with Turkey. They ate EEL and celebrated for three days!

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Alive Alone does online chat

Alive Alone, the organization for parents who have lost their only child or all their children, is collaborating with T.A.P.S. (Tragedy Assistance Progrm for Survivors...military) to have an online chat for parents with no surviving children.

The first live chat will be on Thursday, November 15 at 9 p.m. eastern. This chat is open to any parent whose only or all children have died, regardless of the circumstances. It is an excellent way to hear other parents tell their story and their coping techniques which could be of help to you also.

Everyone needs to register by going to, clicking on the blue TAPS Online Community/Chat box there on the right, and follow the promts to register. Remember your "screen name" and password to get back in. If you need to download Java to your computer before the chat, there is a link to click on within this sight.

Future programs include "Coping with the Holidays" with guest Darcie Sims, well known author and grief theapist, on Nov. 19 at 9 p.m. eastern. On Wednesday, December 5, also at 9 p.m. the topic will be "After Death Communications" with guest Sandy Goodman.

Sunday, November 4, 2007

A trip to the cemetery

I don't mind going to the cemetery. It is where my daughter is and always will be. I make a special effort to go on her death day, her birthday, sometimes near my birthday, her wedding anniversary and any time before I leave on a long trip. I place new white silk lillies (her favorite) next to the stone (the flowers last for months) replacing the old ones. I look at the picture on the stone and see a bright, happy, smiling Marcy as she was 14 years ago for her engagement picture, full of life, full of hopes and dreams for her future. I scrape the marble that has the picture embedded in it. Then I clean off her stone which has developed a lot of calcium corrosion from both rain and watering of the lawn. I like to have it clean for anyone who might visit. When I am done, it is usually the shiniest stone there.

As I look around at other graves, no one else seems to do what I will keep on doing for as long as I live. I am a virgo and virgos are very neat, organized people. I attribute a lot of my actions to my astrological sign.

I no longer ask why did this happen to Marcy, to me, to everyone who loved her. I know there is no answer and that you end up just accepting that this is the way it is. That doesn't mean I don't get sad or angry at the way life has turned out for all of us. I still have my moments but as time goes on, I am calmer and more practical.

I like talking to Marcy and telling her my latest adventures and the latest gossip, which I know she would love to hear. I sometimes chuckle and can almost hear her laughing with me.

One day I was called by a relative to tell me of an unusual experience he had at the cemetery in March 2006. His parents are buried there also, so when he goes, he also stops at Marcy's stone which is close by. I was having a very serious operation that day and when he went to Marcy's stone, he said something strange happened. For a split second, he could see a halo around Marcy's picture and her saying, "Don't worry, Mom will be all right." He was afraid to tell me of this experience because he thought I might think him crazy, but I certainly don't. I know things like that have happened to others, and I just smiled when I heard his story. The operation, by the way, was a success.

I find it interesting that a cemetery is a place of peace, quiet and solitude that people can go to be with a loved one for just a while, yet, how many take advantage of that. I realize some may have their reasons for not coming, but I think there are a number of people who find it morbid. I am not one of those, and I will continue to observe special days and certain anniversaries and find comfort in being close to Marcy.