Attend an event to support those who have lost loved ones to overdose or addiction and honor those who have passed at the Erath County Community Coalition’s 2nd annual candlelight vigil from 7-8 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 26, at Birdsong Amphitheater in Stephenville City Park.
The vigil is free and open to the public.
“We’re holding this for anyone who has lost a loved one to overdose or the mental illness of addiction,” said coalition coordinator Denise Harroff. “We want this to be a place where people feel their loved ones are properly honored and remembered because there are many times people have loved ones pass away to overdose and the response of that death is a lot different than if someone passed away to old age or a heart attack or cancer.”
There is a negative stigma surrounding overdoses and an excerpt from the article, No Time for Goodbyes: Drug Overdose Deaths Carry Stigma, states, “People should treat an overdose death the same as they would any other death. A loss is a loss. And it's worth remembering that the families may have already been going through a grieving process, as they've watched a person trapped in the disease and seemingly losing their core values.”
Candles will be handed out to those attending and a speech will be given by Josh Kemp, a leader of Celebrate Recovery, followed by a prayer and song by the Tarleton State University Texan Troubadours.
“Josh has had some personal experiences with friends and loved ones lost to overdose and addiction so he will be speaking on that,” Harroff said. “We haven’t decided who’s going to lead the prayer yet, we’re still looking. We want a local faith-based figurehead to lead it.”
A resource table and memorial table will be set up at the event.
“University Flowers has donated a big beautiful vase of flowers that’s going to go on the memorial table and people are going to be able to put pictures of their loved ones into frames and have them on the table,” Harroff said. “We’re still working on getting the picture frames. We want them to be a gift to the people who are grieving or remembering their loved one.”
If a way to print your loved one’s picture is not available to you, email firstname.lastname@example.org and it will be printed and placed on the table for you.
Lisa Currier Tong, owner of Memory Lane Desserts, is donating ribbon-shaped cookies for the event.
“We’re going to have a blue ribbon, a red ribbon and a purple ribbon,” Harroff said. “And Chili’s is donating strawberry lemonade and sweet tea.”
Harroff said they want to create an atmosphere where loved ones are truly remembered.
“We’re also bringing awareness about the negative stigma of addiction and about the struggles people deal with as addicts and the struggles their loved ones go through,” Harroff said. “Even if you’ve never lost someone, we definitely want to welcome those people to just come and support others that have.”
For more information contact Harroff at 254-965-5515.