The season of Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays are usually spent with family and friends.
It is supposed to be a time for celebration and the joy of being with those closest to you. It is also a time when those who are no longer with us are missed the most. Families who have experienced the loss of a child, feel it the keenest during the Christmas season. Compassionate Friends, an organization to bring together those who share this most painful of losses, holds an annual Candlelight Service to remember and honor those who have passed away too soon. Sunday, December 9, at 4 p.m. at the First Presbyterian Church fellowship hall.
Everyone in the family who has suffered through the loss of a child is welcome to come and share in the solemn ceremony of remembrance. This includes the loss of adult children, teens, young children, infants and miscarriages.
“Kevin has been gone from us for almost seven years now. I really don’t know what we would have done without Compassionate Friends,” said Bernadette McTaggart, whose youngest child Kevin was killed in an auto accident February of 2006. “When you lose a child, everyone is afraid to come and speak to you about your child. They don’t know what to say and don’t want to make you cry. The people with Compassionate Friends have suffered the same sort of loss and can help give you the support you need.”
During the candlelight service, there are photos and other sorts of precious mementos that are on a table. The person’s name is called and the family comes and lights a candle beside their photo. To have their name spoken aloud in the silence is powerful. It evokes the knowledge that the child is not forgotten. The family is free to read a poem, a tribute or anything that brings them comfort. At last year’s ceremony, Kevin McTaggart was remembered with his photo and a pair of cowboy boots that he rarely took off. They are a piece of Kevin that his family holds dear.
Kevin is remembered by his family with tears but also with laughter and joy. Anecdotes of the things he did and said during his life are shared among his family and friends. He was greatly loved.
“Kevin was so special,” said his grandmother Rosalyn McTaggart. “He touched so many lives during his short life. He was always interested in God and heaven. He was always asking questions. We miss him so very much.”
Compassionate Friends is open to anyone who has suffered through this devastating loss. There is no religious affiliation connected with the organization. It is there for anyone who needs the support that can only come from people who truly understand. To find more information on the Compassionate Friends Organization, their web address is www.compassionatefriends.org/