23 days to go: Let their little lights shine
Some of our ideas come from the heart, but come to our minds in all kinds of places. So it was with the “Let their little lights shine” luminary service that we have each year. If you aren’t familiar with the luminaries or the remembrance, then you have missed my most favorite part of the evening. My heart soars when the luminaries are lit. The bags are in remembrance of any child who has died. Each name is said aloud followed by a family member or volunteer placing the bags in the designated area for the evening.
Last year the bags twinkled throughout the outdoor movie. When I look out at a field of faces at the movie, I am always moved by the faces that are not there, because I know what the bags mean. Each flicker is a loved one that isn’t here with us enjoying this time. Our family alone has four of those bags – one for each of our children (Reed and our 3 babies) in heaven. But also represented by those bags are friends and friends’ children. Some of those are for children that I deeply miss having at our lives.
So it was in the summer of 2009 (a few months before the first Reed’s Run) when Erin and I were running in the hospital’s 5k race. At some point I connected with a mom of young lady who had passed away about 7 months before Reed. That young lady was Erin’s swim coach who made her feel like she was the most important swimmer in the world. She encouraged her, challenged her, and supported her. Erin was only seven years old when she died, and she still has her pictures in her room/ She still dedicates swims for her each year. She brought so much light to my little girl’s world.
During the race, the mom and I chatted only briefly. All I could think about was how her daughter’s light was extinguished much too early. It hit me that while Reed’s name might be on the event, I wanted it to be a place where all children could be remembered. I wanted to remember her daughter who meant so much to mine. I know how much candlelight services mean to our family, and that was the idea that popped into my head as I jogged along. As the concept mulled over in my head, I was committed to having each name read aloud. Mostly I felt so passionately because after losing a child, one of the greatest fears is no one saying their name again. I ran across a poem last year that succinctly said what my heart feels regarding Reed.
The mention of my child’s name may bring tears to my eyes,
But it never fails to bring music to my ears.
If you are really my friend,
let me hear the music of her name!
It soothes my broken heart and sings to my soul!
~Author Unknown ~
It also explains why the luminaries are my favorite part of the night. I get to sing to someone else’s soul, and by doing so, it helps my own heal. In that healing, I carry a little piece of each of their lights with me. With that remembrance, they are never truly forgotten.
Special note: We always have extra bags, candles, and room to add another child to our list. If you would like a child added to our list, please contact us or come to Reed’s Run where we can provide one for you. If you would like a child remembered but are unable to attend, simply forward the information to www.reedsrun.com and we will make a luminary for you.