Upcoming ‘light wave’ will signify compassion

ALLENTOWN – Local families will light the way to remembering loved ones who have passed away on Dec. 10.

Joining hundreds of organized memorial services around the world, members of the Mercer County Chapter of The Compassionate Friends (TCF) in Allentown will light candles Sunday, Dec. 10, in an act of symbolic remembrance. TCF is a national self-help support organization for families grieving the death of a child, according to TCF.

Annually, tens of thousands of families, united in loss, light candles for one hour during TCF’s Worldwide Candle Lighting, held the second Sunday in December. Candles are first lit at 7 p.m. just west of the International Date Line. As candles burn down in one time zone, they are lit in the next, creating a 24-hour wave of light as the observance continues around the world, according to TCF.

“The holiday season is an extremely difficult time of the year for families grieving the death of a child,” said Patricia Loder, executive director of the United States TCF. “This marks a decade that the Worldwide Candle Lighting has united bereaved families around the world as a symbolic way of showing the love we continue to carry for our children, even though they can no longer be with us physically.”

This will be the 10th annual Worldwide Candle Lighting. With the theme “That Their Light May Always Shine,” the Worldwide Candle Lighting has grown larger every year with formal services last year in all 50 states, as well as Washington, D.C., and Puerto Rico, and in approximately a dozen countries around the world, according to TCF.

As the local co-chapter leader, Lisa Linkowsky remembers, “Two years ago, we celebrated the candle lighting with about 70 people. Last year, our local event grew to over 200 family members and friends, and we expect even more to attend this year.”

The local candle lighting will be part of a special service held from 6-9 p.m. at the Robert Wood Johnson Wellness Center at 3100 Quakerbridge Road in Mercerville. It will feature a candle lighting for each child, along with readings and a display area for writings and photographs for, by and about the memorialized children.

After the formal, nondenominational ceremony, there will be time for casual discussion and light refreshments.

The national TCF Web site, www.compassionatefriends.org, will offer a remembrance book for families to post tributes. The site will also host extended chat room hours.

To contact the Mercer County chapter of The Compassionate Friends or to R.S.V.P., call Lisa or John Linkowsky at (609) 516-8047.

For more information about the national organization and locations of its chapters nationwide, call 1-877-969-0010 or visit the TCF Web site.