New York State Funeral Directors Association

Just a couple of years ago, more than 1,000 New York State families were wrestling with the loss of a child less than a year old.

Around 305 families endured the death of a child less 10 in 2014 – and nearly 500 kids aged 10 – 19 were lost that year.

Accidents claimed the bulk of infants under a year old, followed by heart disease and pneumonia, according to New York State health statistics.

These figures help put pain in perspective – the pain of losing a loved one.

It’s magnified for those who spent months if not years envisioning a happy life for their child.

Parents’ dreams of success for their children and hopes for a better life than they had vanished in an instant – leaving them with the brief memories they were able to capture.

Grief this intense shouldn’t be shouldered alone – which makes the Annual Worldwide Candle Lighting such a meaningful event.

It takes place at 7 p.m. local time on December 11, 2016.

According to the Compassionate Friends website, the Annual Worldwide Candle Lighting is in its 20th year now, and it’s expected to draw participation from hundreds of thousands of people across the globe.

People will be gathering in small and large groups, some will stay home and light a candle with their families.

The events are being coordinated by bereavement organizations and funeral homes, hospices and churches where folks can gather and offer up the support of being there for their neighbors and friends and fellow citizens.

As candles are lit throughout time zones, Compassionate Friends describes the virtual scene as a “24-hour wave of light” moving its way around the planet.

You don’t have to be religious to believe that such a massive outpouring of empathy will mean something for those facing such severe grief.

Often, just being around for someone wrestling with anger, guilt, despair and sadness can make a difference in their lives.

The Compassionate Friends website has a search function you can use to find local commemorations.

There were 16 planned in New York State, where folks will be reading names of the lost, viewing tables with pictures and remembrances and lighting candles as they share their presence with those who could really use it.

And I’ll bet it’s not overly exclusive – those still reeling from the death of a loved one, child or adult – would find a bit of peace at one of these events too.

May all these children – and our friends and relatives we’ve all lost too soon – Rest in Peace.

Click here to search the Compassionate Friends website for Candle Lighting events taking place on December 11.

EdsPhotoEd Munger
Communications & Social Media Specialist
NYS Funeral Directors Association