DEAR ABBY: In cities large and small across the globe, a sad reality occurs year after year. Children die. The causes vary -- an auto accident, suicide, drive-by shooting, fire, illness, war or something completely different. Families, friends and entire towns mourn the deaths of children who have died before they could reach their full potential.
For the past 13 years, The Compassionate Friends, a national self-help support organization for families grieving the death of a child, has sponsored a Worldwide Candle Lighting during the difficult holidays to honor the memory of all children -- no matter their age -- who died too young.
Dear Abby readers, whether or not they have been personally touched by such a tragedy, are invited to remember all children who have died by joining in the Worldwide Candle Lighting on Sunday, Dec. 13. Although officially held for one hour at 7 p.m. local time, this has become an event where hundreds of services in memory of children are held throughout the day around the world.
In the U.S. this includes services in all 50 states and Washington, D.C. Dozens of countries are hosts to services. Anyone who is unable to attend is encouraged to light candles in their home, whether alone or with friends and family. Please join us in honoring these children who are loved, missed and always remembered. -- PATRICIA LODER, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, THE COMPASSIONATE FRIENDS
DEAR PATRICIA: I am pleased to help spread the word. Your organization is a valuable resource for families and friends of those who have experienced the loss of a child, and I commend you for the work you do.
Readers, you can locate local services on The Compassionate Friends Web site: � HYPERLINK "http://www.compassionatefriends.org" ��www.compassionatefriends.org� or by calling (toll-free) 877-969-0010. You will also be able to join the thousands of caring individuals who post a memorial message in their online Remembrance Book during the 24-hour period of the Worldwide Candle Lighting and let them know your thoughts are with them.