Archive for Lights of Love

Speaking the Name, Among Friends and Strangers

Last week, at my hospice’s annual Lights of Love ceremony, music was played, candles became flamed reminders of deceased loved ones, a “holiday tree” was lighted in the midst of a busy outdoor mall, and nearly four hundred beloved names were read aloud.

Lights of Love is one of the simplest things we do for the year-end holidays.

Lights of Love is one of the best things we do, especially for grievers facing a holiday season that can seem . . . endless.

I was one of the readers, probably speaking close to a hundred names, one after the other, on a portable stage, surrounded by a crowd of “strangers.” And yet not strangers. With candles held aloft (real, drippy, cheap, wonderful, burn-to-a-nub wax candles), with kids crying and playing and wriggling, with shoppers scurrying from store to store, with a Santa’s Workshop plying its trade not far behind the stage, I read names written in large permanent ink on 3×5 cards.

In the California town where I live, there’s an abundance of ethnic groups. We have first and tenth generation folks here from lands afar. We have parents that dubbed their children with wondrous names that could be pronounced in a multitude of ways. The hospice volunteers filling out the 3×5 cards often ran out of paper real estate and squeezed vowels and consonants together.

In the dark, with barely enough light, reading was an adventure! Read More →

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Even Kim Kardashian Matters!

Please read aloud the following list of six “famous*” people:

  • Waris Ahluwalia
  • Gloria Macapagal Arroyo
  • Varaztad Hovhannes Kazanjian
  • Houa Vue Moua
  • Larry Patten
  • Vasyl Virastyuk
  • Maite Perroni
Lights of Love

Lights of Love

Yes, there are seven names. You probably noticed that the guy alphabetically sandwiched between author Houa Vue Moua and actress Maite Perroni was the not-so-famous . . . me!

But wasn’t my name the easiest to pronounce?

Or was it? Read More →

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