, Newburyport, MA

December 11, 2013

A world-wide candlelight vigil for Jackie

Newburyport Daily News

---- — To the editor:

On Feb. 3, 2013, we lost our beloved Jackie. Within a few days a candlelight vigil was well attended at the local high school where Jackie had made her mark as a young performer on stage, but later also as a mentor to many. Those of us who attended were able to temper our grief with Jackie’s beautiful song.

The outpouring of love expanded beyond our own borders of town and school. While the Kastrinelis family waited many agonizing days for Jackie to come home from Australia, friends, co-workers, admirers and strangers placed a light in their windows to provide support.

And so “Candles for Jackie” began first in her hometown of Groveland, but then rapidly expanded all over the world. The Facebook page that commemorates Jackie’s life, “We Remember Jackie Kastrinelis,” became the conduit for people to share their grief and lend support to the Kastrinelis family. Amazingly, messages began to be posted such as “ candle here for Jackie ... Romania,” “ … light in our window … Rome, Italy,” and so forth. All told there were hundreds of loving messages and indications of commemorative lights in windows placed stateside and all over the world for 10 days. This is the period marked by the day that Jackie passed and the day she finally arrived home to her family.

Jackie’s reach through her song had touched countless people from everywhere! The outpouring was almost tangible and the expression through a global vigil was very reassuring to a family stricken with grief.

On Feb. 3, 2014, “Candles for Jackie” will be repeated and continued until the first anniversary of her arrival to her family and our community: Feb. 11, 2014. Therefore, those candles that burn brightly tonight in celebration of our life and families during the Christmas season will not all be put away after Christmas. For many around the world, one will be kept lovingly in reserve for use a bit later on.

This will be a fitting tribute to a beautiful soul who has touched many and is dearly missed.

Joe D’Amore