My friend Lewie recently asked if I understood the significance of candlelight vigils for those who met untimely or tragic deaths.
“Can you please tell be about vigil?,” he thoughtfully asked. “I am not sure I know what they are all about.”
One definition of vigil is “evening or nocturnal devotions or prayers,” which is the definition that made the most sense for my friend at the time.
I also shared with Lewie that vigils give people an opportunity to come together in support for and of the person who died and their family and friends.
Lewie paused for a moment, and then said that if he met an untimely death, or any death, for that matter, that there would be no vigil.
“Promise me there will not be a vigil,” he exclaimed, “especially if I die in the winter. I do not want family members and friends standing outside with ice cycles on their faces, frozen tears on their cheeks, holding little candles in their shivering hands.”
My friend did, however, suggest a gathering of good friends and family members, a celebration of sorts, inside his house.
The event, I was informed, would be a “candle kegger.”
Candles were “eligible to be lit, but only for ambiance,” my friend said.
Copious amounts of beer and wine are to be served, along with an assortment of favorite foods. All of the information was shared as if placing a future order at a restaurant.
“There will be fried mushrooms and fish, perhaps, and homemade coleslaw,” Lewie rapidly said, as if he hatched the plan right on the spot while we were talking. “There will be laughter, frivolity, shared stories about my life, and maybe a reading of James Whitcomb Riley poems.”
There will not be, my friend reiterated again, a vigil.