Lawton, OKLa._Lawton residents who have lost a child gathered at a local church Sunday night, to honor a loved one's memory in a world-wide candle light vigil. The Compassionate Friends Network offers parents who have lost a child, no matter when or how they died, a support system to help them through the grieving process. Each year, on December 9th, they light a candle along with millions of other parents across the world to remember a loved one, whose life was cut short.
One by one, members of the crowd and across the world, lit a candle in memory of their lost loved one. Nancy Vap, whose nephew was killed in a car accident in 2007, said it's bitter sweet .
"We didn't ask for this. But its nice to come here and see people that you've hugged and you've cried with. There's a common denominator there. So, there's a fellowship that we can all come together and be here", said Vap.
Melody White has been singing at the annual vigil for years. She said she knows all too well what losing a loved one is like, after suffering a miscarriage and losing her sister over twenty years ago.
"I've got two children that have lived and I can not imaging losing them. I can't imagine what my mother went through losing my sister. When I went through my miscarriage, I didn't want to get out of bed or do anything else. Its like a dagger through a heart. It's unexplainable", said White.
Tonya Rock said that unexplainable feeling is exactly what makes the support at The Compassionate Friends Network so important. She began working as a volunteer several years after her husband died, and knows what the members are going through.
"Even though each loss is different, just being there for newly bereaved or somebody that's just finally wanting to get help. It's a joyous feeling to reach out to others", said Rock.
After each candle was lit, the members had a moment of silence. A moment shared with others across the world, so that all of their lost loved ones will never be forgotten.
"I don't want anyone to forget. I don't want anybody to forget him or any of these children. Because they mean something to everyone here. So, its important that we remember them", said Vap.
The Compassionate Friends Network has a group meeting once a month for parents who have lost their children. They meet the first Thursday of every month at the Oklahoma Blood Institute, on Southwest "A" avenue. The meeting starts at 6:30 PM.