FARMINGTON — A support organization for bereaved families will take part in a worldwide candle-lighting ceremony on Sunday in remembrance of children who have died.

The Tres Rios Chapter of The Compassionate Friends will hold the ceremony at 6:30 p.m. at the San Juan College Little Theater.

"We have lost so many children this year," said Ginny Jones, the chapter's founder. "For a lot of people, it's difficult to come to their first meeting. The candle-lighting ceremony is a good place to start."

The event is open to the public and will feature poems, writing, music and close with the candle lighting and reading of children's names. Organizers ask any attendees that have lost a child to bring the child's photo to place beside the candles.

There is no admission fee, but a $5 donation is suggested. Donations will help provide for pamphlets and family outreach efforts, said the chapter's co-leader Tracey Howlett.

Membership in the Tres Rios Chapter is open to anyone that has lost a child to suicide, an accident, illness or other cause, Howlett said.

Howlett's son, Bryan, died in 2008 in an accident involving a gun.

"For me, it's a place where I can talk about Bryan, talk about my bad days," she said. "The people in my chapter know where I'm at, they understand it. There's not a big place for us to go. We're here to give hope when it seems there's none."

Jones founded the Tres Rios Chapter in 2011 after she heard about mothers who had miscarriages and stillbirths at San Juan Regional Medical Center.


The medical center has a program for mothers that experience terminated pregnancies, Jones said.

"They do a really good job, but there's no place to go after (the program ends)," she said. "I just felt that it was critical and we decided to create the Farmington chapter."

The organization has no religious affiliation and is not a formal therapy group, Howlett said.

"This isn't a 12-step program of any kind, but it is confidential," she said. "What is said at meetings stays in the meetings."

The Compassionate Friends was incorporated in Illinois in 1978. The organization operates more than 640 chapters in the United States and Puerto Rico to provide assistance to families suffering from the loss of a child.

"Grief has no time period," she said. "It still seems like yesterday. You think you could never live with loss, but you have to. You still have other children, other people. We want parents to know there is hope."