Today at Santi Aposoli

Today at Santi Apostoli

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.

The Duomo in Florence

The Duomo in Florence

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.

Tall tapers in the church of Santi Apostoli in Piazza LImbo.  Matt came across this church.  It was the oldest church we visited, build sometime in the first millennium.

Tall tapers in the church of Santi Apostoli in Piazza Limbo. Matt came across this church. It was the oldest church we visited, built sometime in the first millennium.

Matt in Santo Spirito

Matt in Santo Spirito

Ray, Oliver, Tom and Kelli in  Santa Croce

Ray, Oliver, Tom and Kelli in Santa Croce


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:

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16 thoughts on “Candles

  1. You may not believe in God, but I believe God loves you. I pray for you and Matt, Ray and Tom as you continue to remember Luke and keep his light burning.

  2. When we just seem at a loss for words today, somehow you find the perfect ones. Dad and I love you all so much. Mom and Dad

  3. Culturally, we have always lit candles in my family, at church. I never truly understood it until I needed them myself. It seems to me, it is and when i learned this as a child, it had been a beacon to those not with us in body, so i lit them in the churches that i found comfort, when i traveled. i filled the message with hope that there is peace and presence of those we miss. Now, lighting a candle has become a beacon of hope for me, in knowing and connecting with spirits, in knowing the prayers are heard and trust that healing can accompany these messages tucked within the tiny flames, healing for all of us. Thank you for sharing and may your candles be a beacon for you all today. xox

    • Jen, You were very much a part of our day. Everywhere we went, we lit a candle for you too. It was Luke and Jen all day. You are both so deeply loved. And that’s what I wanted to say to you each time we found another candle. Please know that we are sending healing thoughts to you. Thank you for sending us to Santo Spirito.

      • Grazie mille! Thank you ever so much for sharing your day with me. It was heard and felt, as I woke up thinking of how the visit was going, unaware of the date. Santo spirito was/is such an amazing place. I love the energy. So much appreciation for you all. Be well. xoxo

  4. Thank you for so much. For so beautifully and openly expressing yourself and for keeping Luke’s lights glowing. Thank you for your year of adventure and for welcoming Kelli & Oliver. Peace and love. Carol

  5. Hi Jill, Matt, Tom and Ray: I am so sorry that I did not respond sooner I am so far behind on my personal e mails that I am just now getting caught up. I do read everyone of your postings, sometimes I save them up until I have some quite time and can really appreciate them. This one really got me. It was beautifully written and helps us all remember and keep Lukes memories fresh and alive. I have a little reminder in my shop at Sun Valley that I look at often, I’ll send you a picture when I return. The pain of that awful day will always be with us, the candles are a great reminder of just how precious and sometimes short life can be. You said it all so well. Love you, thinkin of you and can’t wait to see you in May. We’ll light a candle then as well.

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