It was our wedding anniversary.
It was the day Kyria Hope, our second loss, could have been born in 2010.
And it was the second annual Family Remembrance Day for Naomi's Circle ministries.
We started this last year at the suggestion of one of our members, and it seemed natural to continue it this year. We gathered together for a cookout and fun, and closed the evening with a candlelighting ceremony and a sky lantern release.
And it was amazing. Mothers, fathers, siblings, grandparents. All of us together remembering each other's children - some lost as early as four weeks and some lost as infants, some years ago, some much more recently. But all of us remembering them together - and not only remembering, but celebrating that they lived and that they touched our lives...forever.
After the ceremony, when the candles had been blown out and the lanterns had disappeared from view, the sounds of children's laughter filtering across the yard was a bittersweet reminder that life goes on. And that one of the resources God has given us in this journey of loss is the friendships of others who have been on this road long enough to have the strength to double back and walk with those who are just beginning, to say, "You're not alone. You'll make it. I promise."
Because although each family released its own lantern, it was together that they lit up the night sky.