Turning a sad memorial into a positive memory
… Newburyport chapter of The Compassionate 
Friends add its unique twists to a worldwide event 

Newburyport, MA–December 3, 2013–The Compassionate Friends of Greater Newburyport will hold its 11th annual candle lighting memorial, Sunday, December 8 from 7 to 9 p.m. at the home of its founder Barbara J Hopkinson, 64 Northern Boulevard, Plum Island.

The local group will tie in with the 17th annual Worldwide Candle Lighting event, which is believed to be the largest mass candle lighting on the globe, according to its sponsor, the international organization of The Compassionate Friends.  As each candle is lit, a virtual 24-hour wave of light is created, moving from time zone to time zone throughout the world.  

Hosted to help support families after the loss of a child during the holiday season, the local candle lighting at Hopkinson’s home will also include two unique components to assist those grieving to celebrate those who have died.  These include:

  • A memory tree, where ornaments tailored to the lost loved one can be placed.  Family members may bring their own or custom-create ornaments with materials supplied by the host.
  • A funny or positive story or favorite memory to share of the child who died. This part of the evening will begin with a lovingly, humorous monologue from a bereaved mother about how she named her son (as described in the blog at  

Hopkinson tailors beautiful, relevant music for the event each year and offers light refreshments. 

“It is an honor of to be part of this global memorial event, but I also want to help bereaved families in my chapter focus beyond the grief to the love and positive memories of their children,” Hopkinson noted.  “By personalizing the evening with humorous or positive stories and memories, I hope those who have lost a child will experience a light moment during what can be a difficult holiday season.”  

Hopkinson strongly believes–based on insights she gained while penning her book, A Butterfly’s Journey…Healing Grief After the Loss of a Child—that children who pass on very much want their parents to be happy and experience laughter and hope again.

Anyone interested in attending the local event may email Hopkinson at B, or call her directly at 617-410-6309


Barbara Hopkinson was born in Maine, raised in Massachusetts, and lived several years in New Jersey. A Butterfly’s Journey is her first full-length book, after publishing blogs, articles, and book reviews in the business world. She retired after a successful career in technology sales, including ten years as an IBM executive. One of her passions is travel, having visited more than 40 countries so far. She is a multiple bereaved parent, which inspired her to write about her journey to help others. She founded and continues to lead a local chapter of The Compassionate Friends, an international organization whose mission is to support family after the loss of a child. Barbara has a happy family life with her second husband, James Hopkinson, her remaining son Brad and three adult stepchildren Melanie, Matthew, and Christopher. 



Barbara Hopkinson
P.O. Box 872
Newburyport, MA 01950  


Gail Jones

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