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Prayers for the departed

A parent should never outlive her children. When it happens, the circle of life fractures, creating an anguish that neither time nor faith can fully heal.

Yet understanding can.

In cases like these, the best therapy is group therapy, where parents that have lost their children gather together, remember and console one another.

Members of the Madison-Marine Park Chapter of The Compassionate Friends, a nationwide support group for parents who have lost children, will once again remember their loved ones during a special candle-lighting ceremony on Sunday, December 14.

The remembrances will begin at the Good Shepherd Lutheran Church House, 2139 New York Avenue, at 6:30 p.m.

Weather permitting, those in attendance will hold a brief march before returning to the church to honor their child’s memory.

“All of us who have lost children, no matter what the circumstances, will be able to get together and given an opportunity to talk about them,” said Patricia Limongelli, founder and co-chair of the Madison-Marine Park chapter of Compassionate Friends.

Limongelli, who lost her 17-year-old son Stephen in a car accident back in 1994, said that many of the parents swap stories about their children. Others read poems or sing songs, she said.

“We share a lot of happy memories because we can’t go on thinking about the bad. We have to think about the good because all the happy times will get us through.”

The Madison-Marine Park chapter holds monthly support meetings, where parents are given a chance to share stories about their children and seek consolation from those suffering the same pain.

“It’s very helpful,” Limongelli said. “When [parents] go into work or they’re with their friends, they’ll tell them you have to get on with your life. But it’s not all that easy.”

“It’s 14 years for me and the hole still didn’t completely heal,” she said. “It never completely heals.”

The upcoming ceremony is part of the Compassionate Friends Worldwide Candle Lighting ceremony, where family and friends around the globe gather together and light candles for one hour to honor and remember their children.

Officials from Compassionate Friends said that the candles “create a virtual wave of light as hundreds of thousands of people commemorate and honor the memories of children in a way that transcends all ethnic, cultural, religious and political boundaries.”

Last year’s Worldwide Candle Lighting ceremony was held in 21 countries outside the United States. Candle-lighting ceremonies were held in all 50 states, organizers said.

For information about upcoming meetings of the Madison-Marine Park chapter of Compassionate Friends or the candle lighting ceremony, one can contact 718-605-1783.

To learn about resources provided by Compassionate Friends, log onto www.compassionatefriends.org.

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