Sorrow and Joy in the Season of Light

I am thinking a lot in this season about loved ones who have passed, and in particular about my daughter, Diane, who died almost 17 years ago in a car accident.

Through much of the year I am able to stay busy with meaningful work and beloved Diane Graduationfamily, but there is a bittersweet aura around the winter holidays that forces me to look at my loss and care for my broken heart.

I know others are grieving too.  Perhaps you’ve lost a parent, sibling, or child, or know someone who has.  Most of us have lost friends.  Perhaps you are caring for a loved one whose illness triggers feelings akin to grief.

While we encourage people to celebrate the joys around them, hold fast to memories, and embrace what is present in our ill loved ones’ lives, this is a time to also honor those who have gone before and those who love them.

Every year I remind folks about the Worldwide Candle Lighting hosted by The Compassionate Friends, an organization that offers peer support groups for bereaved parents, siblings, and grandparents.

The Compassionate Friends group in Binghamton, NY probably saved my life after Diane’s accident.

I encourage you to visit their website at, and to participate with me in lighting a candle for our children who have died. annual ceremony starts at 7 p.m. on the second Sunday evening in December, and by lighting a candle in your time zone, wherever you are, we create a wave of light that ripples around the world for 24 hours.

This year’s Candle Lighting is on Sunday, December 8th.

Thank you to all who have supported me with their encouragement, prayers, and good wishes.

Thank you to all who are doing the hard work of caring for ill loved ones.

It helps to know we do not walk alone.

9 Responses to “Sorrow and Joy in the Season of Light”

  • Robert Levine:

    Beautiful! Your words…particularly…”…hold fast…” remind me of one of my favorite, brief poems by one of my favorite poets, Langston Hughes:

    Hold fast to dreams
    For if dreams die
    Life is a broken-winged bird
    That cannot fly.
    Hold fast to dreams
    For when dreams go
    Life is a barren field
    Frozen with snow.

    Thank you for all you do…for others & for our community & for inspiring other helpers. Without you and your work, I wouldn’t be who I am today.

  • Mary Lilley-Thompson:

    I’m holding you in the Light, Lisa.

  • Pat Lloyd:

    You’re in my heart and prayers. Someday we’ll understand. Love you for all you do and just for being you. MOM

  • Pat Lloyd:

    You’re in my heart and prayers.

  • Pat Lutz:

    Lisa, I am so glad that our paths crossed via Mary Lilley Thompson!
    My mom passed away in February. Her 85 years were difficult ones and I along with my sister struggle with all the emotions that go hand in hand with having a mom who had mental issues.
    I do what I can do, I allow myself to grieve at my own pace and my comfort is that our mom is now healed of her illness.
    I will light a candle today qnd say my prayers for all who are grieving.

    peace, faith, hope

    pat lutz

    • Lisa Kendall:

      Thank you so much, Pat. I will remember you when I light my candle tonight. I am grateful for your contribution, and for the idea that there is ultimate healing in what comes next!

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