My early years were spent living closely with family, we were evacuated and lived in a small village in the Swabian Alb region (Schwäbische Alb), in 1951 we returned to Stuttgart and it was the first time I lived away from Oma. I often took the streetcar to the other side of town to spend a night with Oma, Tante and Ilka.
Whenever there was a thunder and lightening storm Oma would light a candle, she was a non-practicing catholic. For some reason I took it for more than it was, I think she just wanted to see her way if the lights went out. That didn't dawn on me until a few years ago which doesn't make me look like the brightest bulb in the attic.
In any case my translation was that if there was trouble in the family or with friends or when my dear friend went to Desert Storm I would light the catholic candle you can buy in the grocery store for a buck and I knew that things would get better. It did not always work, my friend Jack who flew a Cobra Gunship accompanying a Medevac flight lost his life the day Desert Shield turned into Desert storm.
A sister-in-law laughed at me but when her baby who was born with water on the brain had yet another surgery she called me and asked if I would light a candle, I did and when she called she said "it worked, he's alive."
Today is the first time in a while that I have lit a candle, I lit it for a friend in Chicago who was found unresponsive from a drug overdose. I guess in a way it is my prayer when I light the candle and you can too, whether you are catholic, protestant, Buddhist, agnostic or atheist, we all in our own way believe in something, so I ask you today to send thoughts to Kevin in Chicago that he may find his way back to himself, that he can believe in himself and that he can truly believe that he is too young to die.