The holidays can be an especially difficult time for parents who have lost a child.
The Western Wayne County chapter of the Compassionate Friends, which held its 16th annual Worldwide Candlelight Vigil on Sunday in Plymouth's Kellogg Park, aims to ease the pain for those whose children or grandchildren have died.
Families braved the cold, damp weather Sunday to light candles for one hour to pay tribute to children who have died. Onstage, members of the Compassionate Friends read names aloud of children whose lives were being honored.
Afterwards, families walked the Kellogg Park Walk of Trees, a display that includes illuminated and decorated holiday trees paying tribute to deceased loved ones.
Gail Lafferty of Livonia, whose 18-year-old son, Max, died 17 years ago in a car accident, said she started attending the Compassionate Friends' meetings soon after his death. While the group initially helped with her healing, she said, she eventually used the group to help others who have suffered recent tragedies.
"You are with others who experienced the same emotions and feelings of losing your child," Lafferty said.
The Livonia-based group offers a network of parents who have faced similar circumstances to aid and comfort those who are trying to cope with a loss.
To get involved with the group, visit its website, tcflivonia.org, or contact 734-778-0800. The group also meets the first Thursday of each month at St. Timothy's Presbyterian Church, 16700 Newburgh Road, Livonia.