Today is the second Sunday is December. Those who celebrate are getting ready for Christmas or any number of other Holidays or this year are in the final days of Hanukkah. In addition to all of those celebrations, today there is a different celebration sponsored by the Compassionate Friends.
The Compassionate Friends is a worldwide organization that provides support to people who have lost a child or sibling. A friend invited me to a meeting a few months after Maggie passed away and I went somewhat reluctantly. To my surprise, I find it helps. I found a group of people who really understand what I'm going through because they are going through the same things. They understand that it doesn't go away in a few months or a few years. In fact, some have been coming for over 20 years.
The "children" or sibling of the attendees were of all ages and the ways their lives ended vary dramatically. Neither of those thing matter, though, because a parent is not supposed to lose a child. It is not supposed to happen, but it did -- to everyone in the room. Whether you understand that or not, there is comfort in the connection. I feel better when I go to the meetings, which only happen once a month.
On the second Sunday in December there is a candlelight ceremony sponsored by Compassionate Friends at 7PM in every time zone around the world. They honor all the children who have preceded their parents or siblings. Tonight in the Bay Area, there is one in Novato and in South City or San Bruno and probably other places as well.
Though I love the idea of this ceremony, I am actually not going to attend either one because in all honesty, it will make me too sad. I have learned what works best for me and protect myself by staying within those bounds. The ceremony and ritual are good or me, but doing things publicly is not. I want to honor Maggie and the other children but don't want to be overly sad, so I will do it my own way.
At seven o'clock I am lighting a candle for Maggie and for all the other children of the world who have gone before their parents. I do this not only to remember the children but also for all the other parents around the world who find themselves in my position. Everyone is welcome to join in.
They are remembered and their light shines on.