On October 6, 2010 bereaved dad, singer ~ song writer, grief spokesperson Alan Pedersen came to Connecticut,with the mission of ANGELS ACROSS THE USA and touched our hearts with his words. Â Alan shared his own journey after the loss of his daughter, Ashley, while validating the pain, heartache and longing for hope that parents, siblings and grandparents experience after the death of their loved one.
â€œI canâ€™t tell you how much Alan meant to us,â€ one bereaved dad from the Farmington located Central Connecticut Compassionate Friends Chapter said.Â â€œI donâ€™t really know what I was expecting, but being with him that night, listening to him, crying and laughing alongside of him, has meant more to my wife and I than I can tell you.Â Thank you so much for having him [in Connecticut] and inviting us to be part of that evening.â€
Another parent shared, â€œSomething changed for me being there that night listening to Alan.Â He lets us know right from the beginning that its OK to cry and even OK to laugh, but that weâ€™ll never forget.Â Like that song he sang, we wonâ€™t get over but we may move through.â€
At the very beginning of the event Alan shared how one â€œcivilianâ€ approached him after the first year anniversary of Ashleyâ€™s death, wanting to know how long he was going to grieve.Â Alanâ€™s response resonated with every person in the audienceâ€¦â€As long as she is dead.â€
The evening of song and personal stories ended with a candle lighting ceremony in which all were invited to speak their deceased loved oneâ€™s name as their candle was lit, and share a few words about them.Â Plenty of tears were shed, as well as smiles over bittersweet memories as a sea of candles provided a glow of HOPE.
Alan ended the evening by singing TONIGHT I HOLD THIS CANDLE, an anthem for thousands of candle lighting ceremonies worldwide.Â Alan shared, “God wrote this song.Â Â I consider myself fortunate that he trusted me to hold the pen.”Â And though the candles were finally extinguished as family members gathered in the back of the auditorium for connecting, conversation and refreshments, the light of the memories of who they represented will always burn brightly in the hearts of their families.â™¥