About a week ago, I got a heartbreaking text message from a neighbor. She shared that the 9-month old son of a couple down our street had died suddenly. In this message came the question we all ask in a time like this…what can we do to support this heartbroken couple? One thing that was decided among neighbors was to light luminaries down our street last night to offer a visual representation of the care, love, and support we have for this couple. The combined efforts of many neighbors set up and set out the luminaries lining our street which were then lit at dusk.
When I went to bed, the luminaries were still burning bright and while we slept, they continued to burn. But I was surprised to see them still burning as I woke up. As I prayed for this couple once again this morning, I wondered how they slept and whether they woke up for stretches in the night and saw the luminaries continuing to line our street. I prayed that they could feel the support and care of their neighbors even as no words can be said to lessen the grief.
As the luminaries continued to burn as the sun started to rise a few later, I reflected on how those 14 hours speak to a time such as this. In the midst of the long stretches of the night, the luminaries were there burning and speaking love and care and were there through until the new day dawned.
As I’ve written before, in a time like this, I go to the book of Job and especially chapter 2 verse 13 where Job’s three friends arrive after all of Job’s losses and suffering. As these three friends arrive, it says that “they sat with him on the ground seven days and seven nights, and no one spoke a word to him, for they saw that his suffering was very great.“
I imagine maybe they lit a fire to give them light and warmth over those seven days. Maybe their version of a luminary to speak their care in the long stretches of grief.
If you would like to donate to help create a memorial garden for little Sami, please click here.