On the evening of December 16, 2019, The Compassionate Friends, Wenatchee Valley Chapter held its 13th Annual Holiday Candle Lighting Ceremony. This ceremony was to honor our children and our loved ones who have died and it was absolutely awesome. This is a gift from our Chapter to our Community.

We held our ceremony at Grace Lutheran Church. We asked everyone to come at 6:00 PM if they wished to make an ornament for their loved ones. What a fabulous table we had set up with ornaments and all the possible trimmings for the inside of the glass bulb to writing our loved ones names on the outside of the ornament and the cute decorations of snowflakes, etc. to add to our loved ones names. Deicy and her team were helping everyone decorate their ornaments – they were so kind and gracious - every ornament was just beautiful and so touching.

We served coffee, punch and delicious cookies all evening. Our hospitality was done by Liz who is now 91 years old and donates her time and talents for our events in honor of her daughter and husband whom she lost a few years ago. At this table, we also had a big basket of hand- made butterflies that Debra had made – and she had plenty to share with everyone.

On our Library table we had our Holiday booklets available for everyone to take with them. They discussed issues of anger and despair during the holidays and how to handle them. Keeping our families together and handling all our memories of Christmases past are huge items for us in grief. I hope they have helped our families – Thanks to Bob’s support, many booklets and brochures were taken and we were pleased to have helped.

Then we came to our “Wreath of Remembrance.” Everyone had an opportunity to write a card to their loved one and place it on the Wreath – it was full and so beautiful. Our Wreath was designed by Apple Blossom Floral and was just wonderful. I introduced the Wreath in July at Waterville Days. It gave a lot of people who might not live here locally or be able to come to the Candle Lighting Ceremony, the opportunity to place a memory card on the Wreath. I had carried our Wreath to many events since then so we had a lot of cards on it. Our Boy Scouts later carried the Wreath up to the Candle Lighting Table where Chaplain Scott blessed it. It will now be retired and into our Memory Book for 2019.

MUSIC: We had beautiful music – so soft, warming and very well received. Amy came with her Hammered Dulcimer and everyone commented on her beautiful music and how pleasing it was. She ended our Candle Lighting Ceremony with playing “Silent Night, Holy Night” – it was just awesome.

We had all of our Memory Boards set up with some new pictures and stories to add soon. Lisa did a great job in helping people place their pictures and sharing stories of their loved ones.

And finally at 7:00 PM we started our candle lighting ceremony with opening remarks from Chaplain Scott. Lights were turned down as each family was called up, could share about their loved one if they wanted to, light a candle(s), and take a glass angel ornament for their homes. We lit about 125 candles and it was stunning.

It was a beautiful evening. A special Thank You to Tiffany for capturing this evening on film – taking about 150 pictures. And we ended the evening with offering everyone a Treasure Box to write down and hold your memories of your loved one. During these holidays, may this simple act of lighting a candle for your loved one bring you peace, love, and light.

Carol Sunada

Chapter Leader