Families gather at Angel of Hope statue for candlelight vigil.

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DOTHAN, AL (WTVY) -- Dozens of families braved the rain at Westgate Park's Angel of Hope statue to honor the memory of the children they lost.

December 6th serves as an evening for mourning families to cope with the loss of their children, no matter how long it may have been.

The statue is the effort of Steve Hardwick, a man who never lost a child, but wanted to offer a beacon of hope.

He said "It's a group of people you don't want to be a member of, but unfortunately when you are, they all each understand each others grief. And a lot of people who never lost a child don't understand. They'll say, 'I know how you feel.' Well, you don't know how they feel."

Devy Leonard, who spoke at the vigil, lost her son unexpectedly to suicide in 2014, and no matter how much time passes, the feeling stays the same.

Leonard says "We all know it hurts. It hurts every day. We're always in this process, and for me I keep terming grief as a process."

She says the support system that the angel of hope provides to families is comforting in the face of tragedy.

She replied "It's something we wade through, day in and day out for the rest of our lives. But to know we have other people who care about us so deeply and that we can have this connection to, that a wonderful thing."

The vigil is planned to become an annual event on December 6th in Dothan.



 
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