Six years ago, Luke died. Suddenly and unexpectedly, he stopped breathing after an insidious bacterial infection took over his body. On that day, we started lighting candles. That little bit of light gave us something to look at. Now every year on February 17th, we get together with friends; we talk about Luke; we miss Luke; and we always light candles.
We are lucky here in Italy because there are candles everywhere. Every city has a hundred churches. And every church has a corner where candles wait for a prayer. We started our day in Florence with our great friends Kelli and Oliver, then tonight we will return to Perugia. We will light candles along the way.
I don’t completely understand the allure, but I know it must be done. I want to strike a match and say his name. I want to leave a sign. I want fire. These candles are our little messages in the dark. They are our mysterious, small, hot, dangerous intentions. They are quiet testaments to our hope and our heartbreak. And today they are proof that while I may not believe in God, I believe in something stronger than myself.
Even though it’s still morning for all our friends and family back home, we have received so many emails. They come with pictures of candles. There are flames across the world for Luke: