Bereaved parents create worldwide circle of light


SAN ANTONIO – The parents gathered in a small community room at St. Matthew Catholic Church were all different, but they shared a common bond: all of them have had to bury a child.

On Sunday, the Alamo Area Chapter of the Compassionate Friends participated in the 16th annual Worldwide Candle Light Ceremony. The families stood in a circle and lit a candle in memory of their lost loved ones.

"Bereaved parents often feel alone and isolated," said the chapter's president, Janet Reyes.

Reyes lost her only daughter Angela in a car wreck. She said the families standing together Sunday help each other stay strong in the face of tragedy.

"Our organization gives them a place where they have true companionship," said Reyes.

The group lit their candles at 7 p.m. central time. Once they were extinguished, another group of parents in a different time zone lit candles to remember their lost loved ones. The ceremony creates a 24 hour circle of light around the world.

Trish Willoughby attended to honor her daughter Casey. She said the somber event is actually a celebration of the life her daughter and all of the children lost once lived.

"Everybody here absolutely knows what they're feeling because they've been through it," Willoughby said. "They understand the hole in their heart having lost their child, which is different than any other loss there is."

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