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Gathering to remember loved ones

  • Nick Celario / The Garden Island

    Sharon West, of Kapaa, lights a candle during a candle lighting memorial Monday at the Immaculate Conception Church in Lihue. West lit a candle in remembrance of her daughters Gabrielle and Christiana West, her nephew Phillip Seldon and her friend Don Desenza.

  • Nick Celario / The Garden Island

    Lori Miller, Kauai Hospice Executive Director, speaks to guests during a candle lighting memorial Monday at the Immaculate Conception Church in Lihue.

  • Nick Celario / The Garden Island

    Darryl Darnell, of Puhi, lights a candle during a candle lighting memorial Monday at the Immaculate Conception Church in Lihue. Darnell lit a candle in remembrance of his uncles Mike and Paul Mills.

  • Nick Celario / The Garden Island

    From left: Jane, Ridel and Alaysia Navor light candles during a candle lighting memorial Monday at the Immaculate Conception Church in Lihue.

LIHUE — Vera Benedek remembered her parents, Les and Sidi, Monday night.

Her father died in 2009, and mother died in July.

“It all comes back in the memory when someone recently dies,” the Kapaa woman said. “It’s always good to be here. It’s just a beautiful ceremony.”

About 100 people gathered to remember loved ones in a candle lighting memorial at the Immaculate Conception Church.

People gathered to honor those who have either passed away or those who are far away during this holiday season.

“For over 20 years, Kauai Hospice has offered this annual experience to remember or acknowledge the life through the symbolism of lighting the candle,” said Lori Miller, Kauai Hospice executive director.

As people walked down the aisle to light their candles, the names of those who were being remembered were said aloud through the church’s loudspeakers.

“People come to hear their loved ones name, and to know that their life mattered,” Miller said. “There’s meaning in their existence. So to come together, knowing you’re not alone, the holidays are difficult for (some) people. It’s not always the most wonderful time of the year. People aren’t always decking the halls. So, this is a way to acknowledge the grief and the loss in a public way, and to share this experience together.”

Benedek said the act of lighting a candle carries significance.

“In most religions, there’s a candle lighting to remember people. Personally, I’m Jewish. And we light candles on Friday nights, but it’s always in memory of somebody also. It’s just nice to be part of a community,” she said.

Jane Navor, of Puhi, along with her family attended. She lit a candle to remember her mother Apolonia Ramelb.

“We lost her suddenly. This is the first of one of these we’ve been to,” Navor said. “(I came for) the remembrance, to not forget that — her spirit.”

Two more candle lighting memorials will take place:

• On Thursday at 6 p.m. at the Hanapepe Hawaiian Congregational Church

• On Monday, Dec. 11 at 6 p.m. at the Church of the Pacific in Princeville

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