Wisconsin News

Christmas Candlelight Vigil helps remember children who've died

LA CROSSE, Wis. - Losing a child is devastating enough for parents, but the holidays can bring up even more painful memories.

People who've lost babies gathered for a Christmas Candlelight Memorial Service at Mayo Clinic Health System in La Crosse Monday night.

Family and friends placed ornaments on the Christmas trees as well as lit a candle in their child's memory.


It's a time for people to come together who've experienced similar situations. "It's become a tradition as part of the Christmas season, it's a way of celebrating my son's brief life," said Lee Grosskreutz.

"Not always knowing if the public always sees stillborn or early infant deaths as someone who was alive and very important to all of us so to be able to share this holiday time with people who've also had those loses and find those experiences as real experiences was really helpful to me," said Gretchen Heilman.

The event has been around since at least the late 1980's and is co-sponsored by Gundersen Lutheran. About 75 to 100 families attend every year.

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