Life is hard. And one of the most difficult experiences in life is losing someone we love — our spouse, our partner, our child, our parent, our friend.
As a gift to the San Mateo County coast, the Life Opens Through Unexpected Sorrow (LOTUS) Committee of the Independent Order of Odd Fellows in Half Moon Bay is holiding a free “Candlelight Remembrance" on Sunday, Nov. 18, for those who have experienced recent losses and may be hurting and grieving.
LOTUS is a newly formed Odd Fellows committee organized to provide peer grief support, comfort and assistance to those in coastal communities who have lost their partner or spouse.
Montara resident Colleen Delfino originally started the group with some women friends two years ago when they discovered in a pilates class at the Coastal Lifestyles gym that they were all widows and experiecing grief through the loss of their husbands.
"Taking a moment to reflect on and celebrate the one loved often helps with the healing," said Delfino, "memories, music, prayer, meditation, stories and sharing can help us move forward to peaceful acceptance and healing hope."
Delfino, Darlene Pearl and Sandy Gleichmann started meeting once a week, talking about their grief. The group soon expanded to six people.
They later became affiiliated with the Odd Fellows, which has a charter that states: "Take care of the widows, educate the orphans and bury the dead."
"We thought that by joining the Odd Fellows, we could change things with our group and expand it even more to reach more people experiencing loss," said Delfino.
Through the Odd Fellows, the group was able to form a committee.
"We are not grief counselors," said Delfino. "We are just a vehicle for people to talk about their grief."
At the "Candlelight Remembrance" the public is invited to light a candle and then sit down for the program, which will include an eight-minute performance by the Threshold Choir with soothing harmonies.
Dr. Miles Riley will serve as emcee with stories and reflections gained after 49 years in grief counseling. Gifted guitarist, Mark Lemaire, accompanied by Twilight, will provide inspiration with a concert for the second half of the event.
Other types of major loss, such as that of a parent, child, sibling, etc., are counseled with referrals to recommended resources. Members have also suffered the loss of a partner or spouse and meet regularly once a week for support and on other occasions for social and cultural enrichment. For more information, contact Darlene Pearl: 650-728-3740, Colleen Delfino: 650-728-1707, or Sandy Gleichmann: 650-726-9360.