A tearfully messy perfect night

by Andrea Powell, HPCCR Electronic Communications Manager

Light Up A Life logo - blueDo you get emotional during the holidays?  Don’t be embarrassed to admit it.  I certainly do.  Every time I hear that song, Christmas Shoes, I have to turn the radio to another channel lest I start sobbing so hard I a) scare my kids to death or b) drive off the road.  (Seriously, I dare you to read the lyrics / listen to the song without welling up!  And if you don’t get misty-eyed, you are most certainly a green, cave-dwelling creature with a heart that is “two sizes too small”.) 

I don’t know why, but tears during the holidays just kind of feels right to me.  Cleansing, if you will.  And if you are the same way, I invite you to join us at one of our (remaining) Light Up A Light Interfaith Memorial Services

I’ve written about these services before.  They are unique because they are more spiritual than religious in nature.  They are simply gatherings of community members who want to honor the memories of loved ones they’ve lost.  Each service includes music, poems, responsive readings, and one emotionally charged candle lighting ceremony.  (Don’t say I didn’t warn you!) 

Each participant is given a candle upon entering the gathering space (chapel, church, temple, etc.) and, toward the end of the service, the officiant lights a candle in memory of a loved one and then uses his / her candle to light the candle of the next person.  You are encouraged to say, “I light this candle in memory of (insert name here). . . ” and then say a word or two about your loved one.  But you don’t have to.  That’s the beauty of the ceremony.  You can just listen and think to yourself.  But if you feel so compelled, you can share something wonderful about your loved one that might help you feel better.  Chances are, you’re touching the heart of every person in that room and, as a result, you are receiving positive energy and blessings aplenty back from everyone listening to you.

I went to the Light Up A Life memorial service at Temple Beth-El last night.  It was the first time we’ve had a service at this location and it was very special.  It was personal.  And tearfully messy.  It was absolutely perfect.  There were folks attending whose losses were shockingly recent.  And there were just as many who were still grieving the loss of a parent or spouse 30 years later.  Some of us could barely speak because our emotions were so raw.  Some of us spoke the name of our loved one in a strong, clear voice.  Every single one of us was awash with memories (happy and sad).  But we were all heard

You can’t appreciate joy without knowing pain.  And there was a lot of pain in that room last night.  But, at the same time, I feel confident that there were many steps taken toward healing; steps taken toward recapturing joy.  Why?  Because just knowing that we are not alone — that we have all lost someone we truly cherished — gives us a common bond.  It takes away our differences and lets us know that, at our very core, we are all human beings with the capacity to love.  And knowing that, somehow, makes the pain a little easier to handle.

So I got a good dose of holiday tears last night.  And today I feel lighter.  Hopeful.  Fingers crossed I don’t hear Christmas Shoes on my way home from work . . . .

There are still four Light Up A Light services that you can attend.  The next one is tomorrow night (September 6), in Belmont, at 7pm at Holy Comforter Lutheran Church.  On Saturday evening (December 8) at 5pm, you can attend the service at St. Martin’s Episcopal Church.  If you live in the Lincolnton area, join us on Sunday (December 9) at 3:30pm at Emanuel Reformed Church.  And on Tuesday, December 11, we welcome you to come to our service in Cornelius at Mt. Zion United Methodist Church at 6:30pm.  More information can be found on our website, hpccr.org.

Explore posts in the same categories: awareness, end of life, grief, hospice, Hospice & Palliative Care Lake Norman, Hospice & Palliative Care Lincoln County, Light Up A Life, special events, spiritual care

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2 Comments on “A tearfully messy perfect night”

  1. Samantha Says:

    touching….thank you

  2. Marilyn Petersmark Says:

    My sister, Nancy talks about these ceremonies every Christmas season. She says they are so memorable and healing. I wish I lived in N.C. so I could attend one with her. Of course we would shed many tears!!


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