‘Want their life to continue to shine’

Published 12:15 pm Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Family members and friends throughout the Lunenburg County area gathered at the Victoria Public Library on Sunday to remember loved ones who had passed away.

The ceremony was part of the 21st annual Worldwide Candle Lighting by the Southside Chapter #2060 of Compassionate Friends.

Compassionate Friends, based in Oak Brook, Illinois, holds an annual candle lighting on the second Sunday in December. The event, according to the Compassionate Friends website, creates a 24-hour ceremony in which chapters throughout the world participate across different time zones. Compassionate Friends provides a place of support and commonality for those who have lost loved ones.

Southside Chapter organizer Margaret Richards said the area candle lighting event gathered a larger crowd than expected given the weather.

“We were very pleased with the event,” Richards said.

Richards said she and two others started the Southside Chapter in light of several parents having lost their children, including Richards, whose only son, Jeff, died in a vehicle accident in 1991.

“As parents we were looking for somewhere to go to be with people who, you know, knew the same feelings and could help us through the grief process,” said Richards, who noted they worked with the national organization to establish the chapter. “It’s really hard to go through, and if you don’t have to go through it alone, then you shouldn’t.”

Richards said the event allows people to remember their loved ones.

“It’s just so we can all remember that we want their life to continue to shine,” Richards said.

She said the Southside Chapter meets on the third Tuesday of each month at 7:30 p.m. at The Episcopal Church of St. Paul & St. Andrew at 512 S. Broad St. in Kenbridge.