I was never a big candle user before we lost Abi. Having young children meant we needed to keep hazards to a minimum, they were a luxury in that regard! So, they were used for special events only and the odd occasion when I took one of those ‘mummy time’ baths purely to relax and unwind.
Candles are a significant addition to our lives now. We first lit a candle for Abi in the hospital chapel, while we knew family and her friends were lighting their own candles of hope back home. While Abi was in the Chapel of Rest, we lit her baptismal candle (see bottom left montage). It lasted until the day before her funeral and we have kept a small section of it in her memory box. In the early days after her death, we kept a candle burning most of the time at home, day or night. Now, we light a candle most evenings for Abi, it feels as though something is missing if we don’t have this comforting light near us. In fact, we light a few. We have collected several very special holders too, some bought, others given to us as gifts. We even take them (usually a simple tealight) on holiday with us, though I’m more wary about keeping an eye on them in rented accommodation.
Candles help me feel we are including Abi in our day; they focus my prayers. The symbol of light can mean many things: life, death, comfort, remembrance, thanks, an offering, purity, prayer. It can be used to remember a loved one at any time, whether you have faith or not.
While visiting York Minster at Christmas, we lit candles for Abi and as a prayer for others who we knew were grieving too. The simple words summed it up very well.
Candles are a firm part of our way of life now; they will help keep Abi’s light close, always.
‘You, Lord, keep my lamp burning; my God turns my darkness into light.’
Psalm 18:28 NIV