No matter how many years pass, the memories, both good and bad, of children never fade.
On Sunday, families gathered to remember, honor and celebrate the lives of children gone too soon at a memorial service hosted by Day by Day, a grief support group for bereaved parents and family members.
The recreation center at CrossPoint Church was full of family members who shared stories of heartbreak and loss.
Some held tissues in one hand and their memorial candles in the other.
But it wasn’t all tears and sorrow. Laughs also could be heard as stories and memories were shared and smiles spread across faces as pictures of loved ones showed on two large projection screens.
Some were newly bereaved, having lost their loved one just months ago, and others have grieved for 40 years or more.
Day to Day is about healing and hope. Events like Sunday’s service are good for that, Norman Hargett, a leader of the Day to Day group, told the crowd.
“There are four words that are heard at each of our meetings,” said Hargett, who honored his son, Robert, during the memorial service. “You will get better.”
The lights in the large room were shut off, the darkness likely resembled the feelings many of the families felt in the days, weeks, months and maybe years that followed the death of their loved one. But as names of lost children were called and messages and memories shared, small flickers of light from candles being lit began to illuminate the room again.
As the dozens and dozens of names were called the room got brighter and brighter.
It was almost a metaphor for families traveling out of the darkness of loss into the light of hope.
Nancy Sanford, who honored her brother, Clay Meeks, during the memorial, read a passage, titled “Tears are the Proof of Life,” to illustrate that journey.
“But the thing to remember is not only that the pain will last, but the blessed memories as well,” she read. “Tears are the proof of life. The more love, the more tears.”
Jennifer Edwards can be reached at 256-740-5754 or jennifer.edwards@Times Daily.com.