It’s Better to Light One Candle

It’s the week of CJ’s death anniversary. I’ve had some thoughts simmering in my head for a few weeks now but can’t seem to write them all down. Let’s see how this goes…

Last year at this time, I reflected upon the 5 years that had passed since Charlotte died and CJSTUF was founded. It was touching to see how many people remembered Charlotte by making a #light4CJSTUF. 

Many people know the proverb, “It is better to light one candle than to curse the darkness.”

2016-01-04-23-11-00
Photo credit: Sara Holloway

When I reach this time of year, it feels easy to curse the darkness; to curl up into a hole with a warm blanket and hide….with the necessary provisions of dark chocolate and wine, of course. Part of it is the cold weather but most of it is memories from 2009 that reach their peak around the Christmas holidays and settle in my chest right around January 1. The darkness won for quite a few years. The holidays were miserable. Now they’re merely tolerable.

I think the light is winning. Perhaps it’s because my attention is diverted. I wrote about 18 months ago on my personal blog, “the busy-ness of child rearing can sometimes be just enough to pull you out of the black hole of grief.” Kiddo is definitely a big part of finding the light. However, I also think that the light is winning because of YOU. The Network has always been there. From day one. It has never faltered. It never went away. The light that is The Network keeps burning. In my mind, it’s like the votive candles in a cathedral. Whenever you enter a Catholic church, you will see the rows of votives. Some are lit; others are not. But it’s always enough. Just when you think that sacred space will be lost to the darkness, someone comes along and offers up another prayer and a candle. They bring the light. That’s how The Network is for us.

So on the sixth anniversary of Charlotte’s death, let me say again: Thank You!

Thank you for allowing us to give back to our community through your gifts to CJSTUF.

Thank you for your moral support, your cheers from the sidelines, and your sympathetic tears.

Thank you for keeping your lights shining.

Let’s make #Light4CJSTUF an annual event. Any time this week, but particularly on January 7, light a candle, take a picture, and post it to social media with the hashtag #light4cjstuf. We’re on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram but you can post anywhere you like. If you’re on Twitter or Instagram, you can tag @cjstuf as well.

By lighting a candle, you are honoring Charlotte’s memory.

By lighting a candle, you are honoring the memory of any child who has died and supporting grieving families.

By lighting a candle, you are giving hope to a family whose child requires constant medical care and frequent hospitalization.

By lighting a candle, you are sharing the mission of CJSTUF with others.

Thank you for being a part of the light.

–Rachel Reynolds
CJSTUF Co-Founder
Mom to CJ

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