ROCKFORD, Ill. (WTVO) — Grieving families across the nation, and here in the “Forest City,” gathered to remember the loss of a child.
For the past 15 years, Rockford area families gather at the Angel of Hope, 114 N Water St, and hold a vigil to remember all the children that have passed away. People there said that it is comforting to stand aside one another.
“He was six days old when he died,” said Linda Cambier, who lost her great-grandson.
Cambier lights a candle near the Angel of Hope each year to remember her great-grandson, Iver.
“I come here every year to honor him and to remember him, and just to bring back those wonderful memories. Even though we didn’t get to meet him, we still love him and like to think of him,” Cambier said. “Just standing amongst everybody else, just thinking about everyone’s loss, and that we’re all here for the same reason, it’s very comforting.”
Moms, dads, siblings and grandparents all gather at the Angel of Hope every December 6. Although the vigil is a reminder of loss, they said that it is comforting to stand among others who know how it feels.
“I think that’s so moving, because everyone here has lost a child, and it’s so important to remember them and not let them just fade away,” Cambier said. “I worked as a nursing instructor on the pediatric unit at SwedishAmerican, and we dealt with a lot of families who had loss, and one of the things that they always said was that they were afraid people would forget their child.”
“The candle lighting, and just being together, is very helpful,” added Melinda Hagerman, Director of Fitzgerald Funeral Home. “They have something very strong in common, and it’s always helpful to share that with other people when you know they understand.”
Hagerman said that it brings together a community of people that need support.
“Watching the families interact with each other, they may not have met each other before, but on December 6th at 6 p.m. they have something very powerful in common,” Hagerman said.
Families were also given an Ornament of Hope to help remember their child.