Every year, on the 2nd Sunday in December, bereaved families around the world light candles in their own homes or with others for one hour, 7-8 P.M., in honor and memory of all children who have died. This poem explains why we do it.

On a Night in December

In the midst of winter
and all the trees turned bare,
we were faced with shopping malls
where carols filled the air.

And thoughts all turned to loved ones,
those present, and those not.
For us, whose lives were drained of light,
it was solace that we sought.

And so began a journey
of candles round the earth
bringing light to darkness
and honoring the worth

of children held so dear to us
but never to grow old,
whose lives filled ours like tapestries,
their threads the finest gold.

Now we gather on this night
and watch the candles burn
see their pictures, say their names
one by one, in turn.

And our children, brothers, sisters,
for whom we gather here,
let us know, in the candles glow,
that they are always near.

Their light will e’er surround us;
their love will always flow.
As we leave may we remember,
that this is ever so.

Genesse Bourdeau Gentry 2011

Genesse Gentry

Genesse Gentry is the author of two books of poetry, Stars in the Deepest Night - After the Death of a Child and Catching the Light – Coming Back to Life after the Death of a Child. She lives in northern California with her husband Bill. They are the parents of daughters Megan and Lori, who died in a car accident in 1991 at the age of 21. Following Lori’s death, Genesse and Bill joined the Marin County, California Chapter of The Compassionate Friends (TCF). Genesse has continued being involved in that organization ever since. She has been meeting group facilitator for both the Marin County and San Francisco meetings as well as chapter leader. She is currently on the steering committee of TCF Marin, as well as Regional Coordinator for Northern California. She presents writing workshops at national conferences of The Compassionate Friends as well as for northern California chapters. Genesse appeared on the radio show “Healing the Grieving Heart” with Dr. Gloria & Dr. Heidi Horsley to discuss “Compassionate Friends: Finding Hope Through Service.” To hear Genesse being interviewed on this show, click on the following link:

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