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June 20, 2024 7:09 PM

Light a candle for our children

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BY DI SNEDDON

Death is never an easy thing to cope with but when it is a child, the sadness is all consuming.

At first it is hard enough to put one foot in front of the other, let alone anything else.

Jeanne MacDonell and Pauline McLoughlin, like too many others in Upper Hunter, have walked this path and say there is no right or wrong way to work your way through the roller coaster of emotions.

Plain and simple, everyone’s processing of the tragedy of the death of their child or grandchild is different.

One thing that is shared is the need to remember the child’s life and on December 13 the community can join the local Candle Night organised by the Compassionate Friends Singleton Chapter to do just this.

For the past 11 years, Compassionate Friends have organised a service where up to 100 people gather for a non-religious and simple ceremony, light a candle and remember the children no longer with us.

Unfortunately, due to covid restrictions, they cannot hold the event this year. Instead, people are invited to join others throughout the world to light a candle at 7pm and keep it lighted for an hour in honour of these young lives.

Pauline said it is times like Christmas that the loss can become overwhelming.

Her son, Paul, was killed in a road accident in 1996, and even now emotions of tremendous sadness continue to be triggered.

Pauline has been connected to the Singleton Chapter of Compassionate Friends for many years and says the support has helped her get through (difficult times) in a sense.

Jeanne’s son Angus, died eight years ago and Jeanne said it was about 18 months before she called Pauline for a chat.

“I don’t know, I was so busy doing everything I needed to do when it happened but then it stopped,” Jeanne said.

Thanks to her fellow Compassionate Friends, Jeanne discovered that ‘I’m fine’ actually stands for freaked out, insecure, neurotic and emotional.

It is a little code the group uses when checking up on each other.

“We all know what ‘I’m fine’ means,” Pauline added.

For some, lighting that candle on December 13 will be a very personal thing to do.  For others it is a show of support for others experiencing this loss at time when support is needed like no other.

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