Forming a wave of light from time zone to time zone, groups of people came together worldwide to commemorate loved ones who’ve passed on during The Compassionate Friends’ annual candle-lighting ceremony.
Held on Saipan last Saturday at the Garapan Central Park, the program allowed people who’ve lost a loved one to come together with others who share the same loss.
Michael Roy Ortizo, a volunteer from Mount Carmel School, said, “A lot of people here came early just to show support. As much as the event was solemn, I still think it went well.”
Ortizo explained that MCS has been helping with the event annually. Members from the school arrived on site about four hours prior to the event.
“We have to remember our loved ones, especially those who have passed away. It helps us cherish the moments we have with the people in our lives as well as reminds us that we have so many blessings,” Ortizo said.
Jill Derickson, founder of The Compassionate Friends chapter on island, said: “We’re a support group, so we know what it’s like to lose someone like that. The outside world often doesn’t understand; they think the grief would go away in a month at most and for people to just get over it. People don’t get over things like this quickly.”
The Compassionate Friends is a national mutual assistance, self-help organization that offers friendship, understanding and support to family members who have experienced the death of a son, daughter, brother, sister, grandchild, or friend, and helps others better assist grieving families.
“We hold events like this at the end of the year because the holidays tend to make it very hard for people who have lost a child or sibling. They don’t want to go out, be merry, or see the bright lights. This is our way to acknowledge the people who have passed and maintain their memory,” Derickson said. “It’s sad to lose a mother or grandparent but those things are natural, it’s supposed to happen. To lose a child, however, how does a person get over it? It’s just unexpected and something unfortunately a lot of people have to carry with them.”
This was the 5th annual Candle Lighting Remembrance Program on Saipan, and was a part of The Compassionate Friends’ 20th Annual Worldwide Candle Lighting Service.
Approximately 100 candles were lit in remembrance of those who were “gone too soon.” Over 70 children and siblings were honored with a candle and memories by their loved ones.
The Compassionate Friends of Saipan would like to thank Eli Cabrera and CNMI Department of Lands and Natural Resources, Division of Parks & Recreation; Blossom Floral; Marianas Variety; Saipan Tribune; Tina Palacios and Sorensen Media Saipan; KSPN Channel 2; Gary Sword and KKMP; Brianna Hunter, Zeno Camacho Deleon Guerrero, Jr. and the Honor Society and other student volunteers from Mt. Carmel School; Jim Arenovski; and Allan and Lorna Arcega and family.
Saturday’s program included two video presentations composed by Dr. Nelson Krum.
The Compassionate Friends of Saipan’s monthly meetings are held on the first Thursday of the month, at 6pm in the NMPASI conference room on Middle Road in Gualo Rai. Contact Jill Derickson, 989-9821, Donna Krum, 783-1900, or e-mail TCFSaipan@gmail.com if you are interested in further information.