MADD honors victims at ceremony
Lisa Varelli described the grief of losing her child at the hands of a drunk driver during a ceremony Thursday.
CONSHOHOCKEN >> “Even on days when I am able to smile, my chest feels the sinking weight of my child’s absence. And sometimes I feel like I will explode from the grief.”
Lisa Varelli described the grief of losing her child at the hands of a drunk driver during a ceremony Thursday honoring victims and their families.
The ceremony, held by Mothers Against Drunk Driving, offered families a chance to grieve, remember and share stories of their children or family members who were lost at the hands of drivers who were under the influence.
The evening, held at Spring Mill Fire Company, began with a short welcome and an address by Claire Drexler from the Center for Loss and Bereavement.
Drexler took her time at the microphone to discuss grief and how the process is unique to each person. In her address, Drexler encouraged families dealing with loss to help others learn about their specific needs while grieving.
“Unfortunately we live in a world that is somewhat death-denying. Because people don’t want to think about death very often, it somehow becomes the job of the people who have experienced the loss to teach the helpers how to help. I call this the burden of the bereaved,” said
Drexler. “It’s an interesting position to be in but I encourage all of you to take on this task; to tell people what you need, what helps you … You know that grief never ends, that it’s always with you but others do not, and not surprisingly, they will look to you to tell them what is helpful and what is not.”
Following Drexler’s address, Lisa Varelli and Linda Sposato addressed the room with readings. Readings focused on the loss of loved ones and put a fine point on what it means for families dealing with tremendous loss.
“What I know to be true or right or fair about the world has been challenged so I’m finding a way, my way, moment to moment in this new place,” read Varelli. “There are so many things about the world which I now struggle to understand. Why do children die? There are so many questions, I’ve learned, that are simply unanswerable.”
The West Chester University a cappella group, Under A Rest performed “Hear You Me” following readings.
Families then had the opportunity to place a candle on the table set at the front of the room and say a few words about the person they were there to remember. While many chose to share happy stories about their loved ones, others chose to place a candle and simply tell the room who they were there to honor.
The Mission of Mothers Against Drunk Driving, which began in 1980, is to end drunk driving, help fight drugged driving, support victims of such crimes and prevent underage drinking, according to the organization’s website.
To learn more about Mothers Against Drunk Driving visit www.madd. org.
Lisa Varelli and Linda Sposato embrace after sharing readings at a ceremony honoring the victims of drunk driving. Both women shared their experiences with grief after losing a child at the hands of a drunk driver.
Linda Sposato reads a poem to the room during a ceremony held by Mothers Against Drunk Driving. Sposato later shared a happy story about her daughter, Bernadette, who she lost 18 years ago.
Guests listen to the West Chester University a capella group Under A Rest perform during Thursday’s ceremony. The ceremony, hosted by Mothers Against Drunk Driving honored victims who died at the hands of drunk drivers.
The West Chester University A Capella group Under A Rest sang “Hear You Me” at a ceremony Thursday honoring the victims of drunk driving crashes.
Lisa Varelli places a candle on the table set up in Spring Mill Fire House Thursday during a ceremony honoring the victims of drunk driving. The ceremony was held by Mothers Against Drunk Driving.