To lose a loved one at a young age is a tragedy that is unfathomable and for the parents it is often unbearable. This is especially true when the cause of death is avoidable, with reckless driving or driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol ruining so many lives each year.
Alice Renolds, who lost her two sons, Tim and Danny Renolds, in 2000 to a reckless driver grieved twice as much but has found a way to motivate not only herself but others around her in an extraordinary way.
Renolds is an active participant in getting the message out to young drivers that driving recklessly could cost your life. “Every decision they make can affect them. Even though they got away with speeding once before, the next time they may not,” Renolds said.
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Following the loss of her sons, a friend convinced Renolds to attend a Compassionate Friends meeting. Renolds was hesitant at first and though it took her six months to attend her first meeting, she found herself attending on a regular basis. Renolds participated so much that she became the Compassionate Friends newsletter editor and soon thereafter, the co leader of the Santa Clarita Chapter of The Compassionate Friends.
“Compassionate Friends is one way of helping newly bereaved parents learn that there is a light at the end of the tunnel,” Renolds said. Renolds admits that she struggled to get out of bed in the morning after the loss of her sons but she found out after attending Compassionate Friends meetings that though the pain of losing a child may never go away, there is a way to get through it.
On December 12, The Santa Clarita Chapter of The Compassionate Friends will participate in the 14th annual Worldwide Candle Lighting ceremony to commemorate children and teens of all ages that have passed away too soon. The theme of the ceremony is “…that their light may always shine,” and will be expressed in all 50 states as well as 15 other countries around the world.
Renolds believes that the message that the candle light ceremony conveys is clear.
“It is a night of remembrance. To remember children of all ages and children of all ethnic backgrounds. To remember that they were once here,” said Renolds. “The holidays are a really tough time for [the parents] to get through, so it’s a night for them to come out and join forces, to remember, and let their light shine.”
This year’s candle lighting will be held at Canyon Country Park, 17615 W. Soledad Canyon Road, and will begin at 6:30 p.m. The event will include live music, poetry, and other readings. Candles will be provided to those who attend. Candles are first lit at 7 p.m. local time. As candles are lit in one time zone, they are lighted in the next, creating a 24 hour wave of light to observe the young one lost around the world.
The Compassionate Friends assist families following the death of a child of any age and help them toward a positive resolution of grief.
To learn more about The Compassionate Friends, click here.
To contact the Santa Clarita Chapter of Compassionate Friends, Call Diane Briones at 252-4654 or Alice Renolds at 252-4374