The flickering light of candles pierced the clear night as hundreds of people gathered Thursday night to remember departed family, friends and patients.
Karen Ryans, of Martinez, clung to family members and stared with teary eyes into a luminaria honoring her mother, Elizabeth Horton. Ryans’ mother died in her home on May 4, 2011, while receiving care from Trinity Hospice.
“I’m thankful I did have her for 66 years,” Ryans said as a bagpiper played Amazing Grace. “I’m grateful she could see both of my children and participate in their growing up.”
Nearly 1,000 white luminarias lined the hill in front of Trinity Hospital for the 16th annual A Night of Remembrance. Each luminary bore a name to honor the memory of a loved one.
Loretta Sheffield, the administrator of Trinity Home Services, told the gathering that no one can experience the grief and pain of another, but everyone gathered could find commonality in a thankful spirit.
“No matter your circumstance this evening, my prayer is that you walk around the luminaries with gratitude,” she said.
Dyanna Adams, of Augusta, remembered her father, John Adams Jr., who died March 9, 2009, from stomach cancer.
In returning to the ceremony every year, she has found a family that helps her mourn and heal.
“It helps to remember the good stuff and see those that have been down the same road, the same path,” Adams said.