VINTON — For some, the ideal Christmas is a white one filled with friends, family, food and colorful decorations. Still, for many, the holidays only serve to underscore the absence of loved ones who have passed on. For some, every Christmas is blue, but James Vinson, who knows a thing or two about loss from his own perspective, is leading an effort Sunday to bring a little peace to those who have lost people close to them.
Vinson, a Vinton resident, started the Healing After Losing One’s Child (HALO) support group earlier this year after sharing the heartbreaking story of his son Matthew who died unexpectedly as a toddler after falling from his crib more than ten years ago. The group meets at 7 p.m. the third Thursday of each month and welcomes anyone who has shouldered a loss of any kind.
Vinson said that he knows how difficult the holidays have been on him over the years, and he wanted to reach out to others who are struggling with loss during these otherwise festive and family-filled times.
“I thought, ‘Let’s do something uplifting to raise people’s spirits’,” said Vinson. “Let’s provide a place where loved ones can remember for a moment what it was like before the loss. Maybe it was the smell of baking cookies with grandma, the excitement of a traditional hunting trip with good ‘ole dad or the feeling of being pregnant.
“When you think of Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year, what do you think? … Family,” said Vinson. “So we wanted to remember those who aren’t with us anymore but in an uplifting, positive light.”
The memorial candle-lighting ceremony will take place at 6 p.m. Sunday, December 15 at the Community Christian Fellowship, located at 290 Trails End, Thurman, Ohio.
Vinson emphasized that the ceremony is for anyone struggling with loss this holiday season and that no one will be turned away. The event will also feature music, poetry and testimony. Those who want to participate in some way are encouraged to do so. Candles will be provided.
When asked what a successful event would look like to Vinson, he thought quietly to himself for a moment before answering.
“I will see it as a success if people leave with a smile in their hearts,” said Vinson. “It’s hard to always bring a smile to your face, but it’s all about touching hearts.”
Doors will open Sunday at 5:30 p.m. Those interested in participating are encouraged to contact Vinson in advance at 740-645-2776 or Fishersofmen2004@yahoo.com. For those interested in HALO and its activities, visit their Facebook page at www.facebook.com/