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Families gather to honor the memories of their loved ones

By Jamie Mayes

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    ELIZABETHTOWN, Kentucky (WLKY) — On Sunday night, families in Elizabethtown gathered for the Remember Me Candle Lighting ceremony.

Patti Stewart is one of many parents who continues to feel the pain of losing a child.

“We’re going to remember every child that is not with us Christmas,” Stewart said.

Stewart lost her daughter about five years ago. Deana Tessie Stewart Blevins had battled cancer for a decade and was 42 years old.

”It gave me a heart for people who are hurting. People that go through tragedy,” Stewart said.

It’s why last year, Stewart helped create a group called “Moms Left Behind.”

“We’re not counselors. We’re not therapists,” said Stewart, “We’re just moms who know how to love hug and grieve and vent together.”

That was the comfort Jasmin Mykytiuk says she needed when her son Andrew died last year from a fentanyl overdose. He was 18 years old.

“You don’t have to pretend all the time. It is ok when you break down and cry because everybody around you feels the same way,” Mykytiuk said.

For the second year, these families are gathering to light candles in their children’s honor, an idea Stewart says comes from a worldwide memorial service. For the people who were there, this night holds special significance.

“It’s ok to have a rough day. It’s ok to struggle. They’re not the only ones,” Mykytiuk said.

“Even though there’s darkness and even though she’s not with us, her light still shines,” said Stewart.

There’s also a group called Dads Left Behind that was a big part of organizing the memorial.

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