Linda Hesch, who lost her son Bradley, 8 years ago at the age of 23 to a motorcycle accident and Judy and John Kampa who lost their son Bradley, 19 years ago at age 21 to a car accident, wants everyone to know that Sunday, December 9th, is the Compassionate Friends Worldwide Candle Lighting. It unites family and friends around the globe as they light candles 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 people commemorate and honor children in a way that transcends all ethnic, cultural, religious, and political boundaries. Believed to be the largest mass candle lighting on the globe, the Worldwide Candle Lighting creates a virtual 24 hour wave of light as it moves from time zone to time zone. Hundreds of formal candle lighting events are held and thousands of informal candle lightings are conducted in homes as families gather in quiet remembrance of children who are no longer with them.
Approximately 80,000 infants; children, teenagers, and young adults of families throughout the United States die each year from myriad causes. The death of a child is a shattering experience for a family. Our children are our future and having a child die is a break in the natural law and order of life. The child we have spent our time loving and caring for and planning to watch well into adulthood has been taken. It is a heartbreak like no other. Parental grief may go on for ten to twenty years or maybe even a lifetime. Children are an extension of us. They carry many of our physical and personality traits forward into the world. We see ourselves in their eyes. Through our children, we envision a better future. When we have a child die, we lose that extension.
Linda and Judy speak in behalf of all the families they know who has had a child die, and the ones they do not know, and they ask that a candle be lit on December 9 at 7:00 pm for one hour in memory of a child who has died. Time will heal the loss, BUT it will NEVER take the pain away. Please light a candle on December 9th in memory of a child of a family that you know who has died. Let them know you are thinking of them and their child and any memories you have, parents still need to talk about their deceased children, no matter how many years it is.