Suicide is complicated and those bereaved have few opportunities to share their feelings and connect with others who share this complicated grief.
Upon learning about a similar event, hosted by Northwest Bereaved by Suicide Group (supported by Western Health & Social Care Trust in Derry, Northern Ireland), this event first took place in 2005. This inaugural event, based on a Memory Tree of Lights for those bereaved by suicide, continues to be held simultaneously with the Memory Tree of Lights as relayed to event creator by Barry McGale, Suicide Liaison Officer, of Northern Ireland.
This event always takes place on the second Sunday of December to coincide with the International Day to Remember Children Who Have Died and to help people prepare for the upcoming holiday season.
The purpose of the vigil is to support family and friends who have been touched by suicide. This vigil was created to remember those who have died by suicide and to provide hope and healing to survivors and those who are bereaved by suicide. Participants remember their loved ones and acknowledge loss and grief through songs, poetry, and story. Each person lights a candle for the person they remember and photos of loved ones are displayed amid candles so as to collectively visualize the many faces of loved ones and the many faces of suicide.