Valdosta, GA - December 9, 2012
Grieving parents at Valdosta's Historic Courthouse will tell you after losing a child there is no moving on, only moving forward.
More than 150 people gathered at the courthouse steps Sunday night to remember children who have been lost. Including parents like Gloria Gracia whose son was killed in a car accident.
"So many people were also doing the same thing. They were just crying," said Gloria Gracia. "So it was okay for me to cry and I just let it rip."
This is just one vigil as part of the "Compassionate Friends" network. It honors the memories of children who have died. That could be from illness, car accidents, anything.
"And as I turn around I see other people doing the same thing and it was okay. It was okay to let my feelings out," said Gloria Gracia.
Everyone in attendance received a candle. Organizers say the purpose is to show the child's light will shine on.
These vigils are being held in 18 countries. That means more than 500 vigils worldwide. All of them are lighting up at 7 o'clock respectively.
"That means for the next 24 hours there will be a constant wave of light going through the different time zones," said Wendy Chandler who organized the Valdosta event in honor of her son.
It is a chance for grieving families to take comfort in each other and that means a lot for the Wolfe family who lost their daughter to SIDS, Sudden Infant Death Syndrome. Guy Wolfe has started his own foundation to support families who have a child that has fallen victim to SIDS. It's called the "Baby Butterfly Foundation".
"We know that our daughter is all around us and she's in our future and not our past. And we just want to come out here and show our support," Wolfe said.
This is the first ever vigil in Valdosta. She says it honors 50 kids. And it means so much for grieving parents like Gloria to be surrounded by people who understand.
"Because when you have not experienced that you just have no idea how hard it is," said Gloria Gracia.
There was also a vigil in Tallahassee. Dozens showed up to the Kleman Plaza Amphitheater.