Tuesday, March 6, 2012
Remembering ( The Luminaria Ceremony)
Quietly with a gentle reminder of what is happening, the lights go down. The light to walk by now, is the light of candles, flickering inside the hundreds of bags lining the track. The Luminaria Ceremony has begun.
What is the luminary? It is simply a paper bag, inside the paper bag is a block of wood with a round cut out. Inside the cut out, a small candle. On the outside of the bag is a name. Above the name are two choices of the words. It will either say "In Memory of..." or it will read, "in honor of" followed of course by the name of the cancer warrior.
The Luminaria Ceremony is a quiet moment. A moment to reflect, to remember, to think of, to honor. Walking around the track reading the name on each and every bag. Some will cry, some will smile at a thought or a memory. That is part of the purpose, to spark that special memory. To show, that the person who lost their personal battle with cancer has not been forgotten. Some names may only have one bag- some may have dozens lining the track. The number of bags not important, what is important is that an individual has not been tucked away in some closest of the mind, forgotten but for something to be brought out on occasion and dusted off and discussed when old friends or relatives get together and discuss 'old times' and the people from 'back then'. It won't of course bring that person physically back, but it will give one a chance to feel a moment of closeness as you remember them.
The Luminaria Ceremony gives you a chance to honor the fighter you know that has battled and won, or who is currently in the battle. It lets them know they are being thought of and cared about.
Circling the track by candle light, you will hear the voices of those around you, most more subdued as they discuss the names. Talk about this person or that as they remember them. They night sky overhead stretching on forever, giving you the feeling that eternity thing must be real for the sky itself seems endless, as endless and the special memories brought about each trip around. Each time you see the name of that special someone again. The night air just beginning to take on a chill, one that reminds you of the place in your heart that at times feels cold without the one that has gone on before you. But the candle flickering, the light shining forth, leads you to a treasure of memories that warms that empty place in your heart.
Seeing something new you stop to look. Circling the Survivor tent are more bags. These bags are different, special in their own right. These bags are not for the cancer warrior, but for their caregiver. The names emblazoned across the bags are the names of those who helped the warrior in their fight. The names of the ones who called and checked on the warrior, the names of the ones who made sure that the warrior was able to get to treatments, to doctors, to the grocery store. These are the names of the people who brought over a meal, who helped clean a house, do a load of laundry, who walked the dog or took children to school or simply to their house for a time to allow the warrior a moment of rest. These are the names of the caregivers, the earthly angels, the ones without wings or halos, but with hearts as big as the whole outdoors. Same paper bags, same block of wood same candles flickering inside creating light, but with an entirely different meaning and set of thoughts. The amount of bags lining the area a heartwarming sight. So many caregivers, so many people ready, able and willing to take care of another who is at their lowest.
The Luminaria Ceremony.............a few solemn laps a few laps where the voices are softer, a few laps where thoughts and memories and love reigns. Walking around a track, lit only by candles of love. Remembering
If you would like to purchase a luminaria for someone, either in memory, or in honor of a cancer warrior.. or a luminaria in honor of caregivers... the cost is $10 each. Contact me- let me know what you want-give me the name of the person-- make out checks to the American Cancer Society-if you're local give me a holler and I can pick it up..if you're not local but wish to purchase one you can mail the check to my po box:
Rebecca S. Revels
po box 371
Stanley, NC 28164
You can include a note telling me the name of the person whether it is in memory or honor of or if its a caregiver..I will photograph the bag on Relay night and make sure you get a copy if you give me an email addy to send it to or if you are on FB I can get it to you there..We can and do take names right up to moments before the ceremony, (our Relay event being May 4, 2012) but the earlier we can get the names and make the bags up the better it is for all concerned..