The Heartlight Tree
The Heartlight Tree_1991
The first lighting of The Heartlight Tree was in 1991 (read story on website) Amber (Kevin’s sister, age 9) made theyellow star at the top of the tree. We invited Kevin’s cousins and friends to make ornaments to decorate the tree. Little did I know then that we had created a ritual not only for our family and friends, but for the community at large. A few days after we lit the tree, I received a phone call from someone in our town expressing her joy at seeing out little tree shine so brightly in the park. She asked if anyone else could place an ornament on the tree for Kevin or for another child who died. Blinded by my own grief, it never occurred to me that anyone who didn’t know Kevin would want to honor his memory OR that there were others who NEEDED a place to honor their own children. I was humbled by the request and I knew in that moment that The Heartlight Tree was on hallowed ground. The next year we invited our community to participate. Almost every day throughout the season I would discover a new ornament for Kevin or another precious child. Before we knew parents across the country were sending ornaments in memory of their children.