Emotions flowed Thursday evening at the Kauai Hospice Candle Lighting Memorial at the West Kauai Hongwanji, Hanapepe Temple.
“Here and now, we gather to honor each other and acknowledge we are not alone in our grief, in our tears and in our memories,” said Lori Miller, director of Kauai Hospice. ”We reach out to one another with love, with understanding and with hope.”
Alton Miyamoto, who along with Tricia Yamashita pronounced the names of remembered ones, said this is the first time Kauai Hospice has hosted a candle lighting memorial at the Hanapepe Temple.
Miller said the service was needed because when she spoke with Waimea students and asked how many had suffered losses, more than half raised their hands.
Yamashita said in honor of Kauai Hospice’s 30th anniversary, three candle lighting memorials will be hosted — the first was held Monday at the Immaculate Conception Church, the second at the Hanapepe Temple and the third will be at the Church of the Pacific in Princeville at 5:30 p.m. Dec. 16.
Miller said the candle lighting is a time to remember.
“We are here to remember those we love who have died,” Miller said. “We are also here to remember those we love who are separated from us during this holiday season.”
She said for those who have departed, though death ended their life on Earth, it does not mean there is an end to a treasured relationship.
“Our hearts may ache,” the Kauai Hospice director said. “Our tears may flow. We may feel a deep, tender wound because someone precious is no longer part of our life here on Earth. We grieve because of that physical absence, but we also rejoice to have known that love.”
Through the evening filled with emotion from people who filled the temple, Paul Togioka’s mellow slack key guitar sounds soothed the air, punctuated with the performance from the Waimea High School students and a message of life delivered by Michelle Emura of Omao.
“Whatever we bring to this gathering, it is clear — we are not alone,” Miller said. “Here and now — together — we create a space of support, comfort and love.”
Yamashita said the Kauai Hospice is also presenting a benefit concert by the Society of Seven Monday night at the Kauai Community College Performing Arts Center.
Tickets are available at www.kauaihospice.org, or the Kauai Hospice office.