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Families share moment for deceased kids

Posted: December 11, 2011 11:27 p.m.
Updated: December 11, 2011 11:27 p.m.

Singer Brianna Hanzmann and guitarist Savannah Perino perform at the Compassionate Friends candle-lighting ceremony at Canyon Country Park on Sunday night.

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For Alice Renolds, who lit a candle Sunday in memory of her sons, the nightmare began Feb. 17, 2000.
Tim and Danny Renolds, 18 and 15 respectively, were killed in a head-on collision on Soledad Canyon Road.

On Sunday night, at the Compassionate Friends gathering in Canyon Country Park, she and her husband, Tom, joined more than 100 other people, many of them parents, who also live with the nightmare of having lost a child.

Since the pain is universal, parents around the world shared in the event, lighting candles simultaneously from Naples, Italy, to Vancouver, and from Colombia to Puerto Rico, all in the name of children who have died.

“It’s a crack in your heart that never mends, never comes together,” said local-event organizer Alice Renolds. “It’s something you never get over.

“You just have to find a new normal.”

At 6:30 p.m., parents finding solace in being part of the Santa Clarita Chapter of the Compassionate Friends group gathered, as many have done for the last 11 years, met at the park on Soledad Canyon Road.

At 7 p.m., in coordination with Compassionate Friends’ groups around the world, they lit candles in honor of their children who died.

For Josh and Gina Reniker, whose son Kyle was born Dec. 21, 2005 and died one year later, the annual candle-lighting marks both his birth and his death.

“It definitely makes us cry,” Gina Reniker said. “But, it also makes us lighter.”

Kyle’s sisters Lorenza and Ashley, 11 and 3 respectively, look forward to the ceremony every year as an event designated specifically for him.

“They look forward to remembering him,” Josh Reniker said.

Young and old holding candles listened to poetry and songs and watched a slide show honoring scores of people who have died.

“We do it to remember all the children who died so that they will always shine,” Renolds said. “This for lost children, lost for any reason at any age, to come together with other parents living without their children.”

Renolds, co-chair of the local Compassionate Friends group, has created a “new normal” for herself, trying to educate teens about staying safe and alive.

She and her husband, take part in the Every 15 Minutes program, giving regular talks about staying safe.

“It’s one way we can get out of bed,” Renolds said. “To spare one other kid from going down that road, saving a parent from this nightmare.

“I don’t want any other parent to go through this.”


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