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About Sickkids
About SickKids

December 12, 2014

Bereaved families find comfort and support at the SickKids Candle Lighting Service

“Our lives will never be the same. We will have good days and bad. And through it all, we know our love for Josiah is eternal; a love that transcends time and space.”

Bereaved mother Shari Morash served as a pillar of strength as she delivered her keynote speech to a group of 195 family and friends of deceased children, at the first annual SickKids Family Candle Lighting Service on Nov. 29, 2014.

Hosted by the SickKids Paediatric Advanced Care Team (PACT), the event was a chance for bereaved families to share their grief with others, like Shari and her family who lost their son Josiah in 2009.

“While the world around us is celebrating, how can we manage the pain and navigate this incredibly difficult time?”

Coinciding with the holidays, the first portion of the event was a creative outlet for friends and families to design a personalized candleholder to represent the child who has died. While creating their holders, the bereaved shared memories of their children with one another as a way to remember them during the holiday season. PACT members were also on hand to provide them with resources on coping with loss over the holidays.

“Seek solace in others who share your pain. Find comfort in someone who can listen.”

candle lighting

It was in the soft glow of the dimmed auditorium of the Peter Gilgan Centre for Research and Learning that bereaved families found comfort. Each family was invited to approach the front of the room when their deceased child’s name was called and to light a candle in memory of that child. Candles were lit atop a mirrored surface that reflected candlelight into the room. It was a space where families could openly discuss their grief and find support in others who shared a similar tragedy.

“People seemed nervous when they first arrived, as though they didn’t know what to expect from the event,” said Lori Ives-Baine, PACT Grief Support Coordinator. “That all changed after the ceremony. There was a collective feeling of release, like they understood that they were not alone in what they were feeling.”

Fifty-four candles were lit and countless bonds were created through the course of the ceremony. 

Families continue to receive support through the Pathways Grief Support program and by connecting with the PACT team via email.