Compassionate Friends Host Worldwide Candle Lighting
Everyone involved with Compassionate Friends across the world are invited to light a candle at 7 p.m. Sunday to remember loved ones who passed away.
Holidays can be especially tough for those who lost a loved one, and a unified event on Sunday aims to provide a moment of healing and remembrance.
International bereavement support group The Compassionate Friends hosts a Worldwide Candle Lighting each year to remember children who were gone too soon, and the Sarasota chapter will join in at 7 p.m. on Sunday. This is the 16th annual event for the Compassionate Friends.
"It's a feeling of comfort because it's very hard around holiday time when you lost a child," Compassionate Friends Sarasota chapter leader Vivian Kehrer told Patch. "The candle lighting— it's just an evening of a beautiful remembrance of your child or your loved one."
The program lasts from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. at the South Gate Community Association Center, 3145 South Gate Circle. The admission is free and refreshments will be served. Larry Rifkin will be the master of ceremonies.
Candles are offered to each attendee with themes and messages of grief, courage, memory, love and faith and are accompanied by themed musical performances on Sunday. The event is opened up to anyone who lost someone special in their life—not just their children, Kehrer said.
Kehrer personally knows how tough it is to lose a child around the holidays.
Her son Eddie Philip Meyer Jr., died in a car accident on his way to hockey practice in Clinton, N.Y., on Dec. 11, 1979 at the age of 16. To her, Christmas carries on because of Eddie.
"A lot of people say, 'we're not going to put up any Christmas decorations up since we lost our child. We're not doing this; we're not doing that. We're not celebrating any holidays.' Well, if there are other children in the home, you really need to do it," Kehrer told Patch in a previous interview. "When I lost my son, I was a single mom, and he was an only child. He loved holidays. Christmas was his favorite."
The group has a new meeting location for its monthly meetings.
Compassionate Friends Sarasota Chapter meets on the second Monday of the month from 7 to 9 p.m. at Homewood Suites, 3470 Fruitville Road. The next meeting is Jan. 14.
Worldwide Candle Lighting
6:30 to 8:30 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 9
South Gate Community Association Center, 3145 South Gate Circle
Live music will be provided by Ed Kinder, Steve Arvey, Rebecca Bird, Katt Graber, Pat Barbara, Kara Nally and Maria Chan. Closing prayer will be provided by MarcAnthony Roman.