It was dark outside with very few stars peaking through a thick blanket of clouds. And it was late. Most humans were tucked in behind locked doors and pulled shades, so we had the street to ourselves. Chirping crickets and other noisy insects blended their voices in an orchestra of sorts to serenade us in the humid night air.
Our footsteps beat a rhythm as we passed by house after house. This night walk was unique in several ways. It was made up of a family gathered together from near and far – all brought together for one purpose: to mourn the loss of our son, brother, nephew, cousin, grandson.
This walk wasn’t for exercise. We had been told that there was something special for us if we stepped outside and walked down the street. So that is what we were doing together.
It was a moonless night with very few street lamps to light our way, but we had light. Nearly every home we passed by had set a candle burning in a window, just for us.
The candles were a gift from the children in our church. They wanted to quietly tell us they were sad for us and in this small, thoughtful way, share their love. So they had decorated electric candles and added a card to each one, and then went from house to house on our street, asking our neighbors to join with them to show our family their tender regard for our loss.
The card read: “One candle in the window. One life remembered, showing that our love, support, and prayers are surrounding you.”
One could hear muffled sobs, mostly mine. I was powerless to stop the flow of tears as I saw the lit candles in nearly every neighboring window. I felt the love and prayers from each one.
It was yet another way that God was showing us His eyes were on us and through the hearts of young children and neighbors, He was reaching down to hold us.
There have been many memories created during this time of sorrow, but the candles . . . some still lit in windows, including ours . . . are a symbol and a reminder that God cares and remembers and so do His children.
~from “Shattered by Suicide” by Gracie Thompson