Local women organize uplifting memorial

Charlotte Guedry
Faith Castilaw and Patience Lobell with be remembered at a memorial held in the parish on March 3. Both girls were killed when the vehicle they were traveling in became submerged in Black Bayou recently.

Saying goodbye to friends is never easy. When people pass away, the goodbyes become all the more difficult. Grief and loss are felt, and tears are shed. For two local mothers in the St.?Amant community, a decision was made to do something a little bit differently when it came time for their own children to bid their final farewells to two very dear friends.

Brandi Brignac and Christina Duhe saw the pain their own children were going through when they found out their two friends, Faith Castilaw and Patience Lobell would no longer be coming to school.

Both girls were killed in a tragic accident off of Stringer Bridge Rd. recently, and the mothers wanted to work with other friends and family to find a way forward for their children as they came to terms with the loss.

“We wanted to do something that could be seen as a beautiful way to remember Faith and Patience,” said Brignac.

The women came up with the idea for a memorial service, as they felt their children, and many within the community, wouldn't understand saying goodbye at a funeral.

“It just seemed like doing something peaceful and meaningful would be more what the kids would want. It would be easier to remember and to say good bye,” said Brignac.

The idea for a balloon release quickly formed.

On Sunday,?March 4, at 3 p.m. at the Pit at St.?Amant Middle School, their children will join with hundreds of area children and families as they say farewell to lost friends.

Pink, purple, and blue balloons will be decorated by area youngsters, and then symbolically released after a brief prayer service in the memory of the two young girls.

“We want everyone to also wear pink, purple and blue,” said Brignac. “They were the favorite colors of Faith and Patience, and it would mean so much.”

Since word got out in the parish about the memorial service, a number of people have pledged their support. The Cheer Teams from the Wildcats of St. Amant Primary will perform. Both Patience and Faith were members of the teams. The school will also provide a lemonade stand, as the girls were said to have a fondness for lemons.

“This memorial will be all about those two girls,” said Brignac. “We ask people to come and show their love as we come together as a community.”

A Public Facebook page has even been created, with an overwhelming number of people saying they will be in attendance.

“This memorial is our way of letting our own children know that we understand what they are feeling.?They want to say goodbye.”

A donation box for the family will also be set up, allowing the community to continue helping with funeral expenses.

“We cannot begin to get over the amount of support this memorial has received,” said Duhe. “To see all the love within our own community has been very heartfelt.”

St.?Amant Fire Chief James E. LeBlanc will be speaking at the event, and St.?Amant Volunteer Fire Department Chaplain Ken Spivey will speak during the prayer service.

For more information on the event, you can contact either Brignac by emailing southernangel97@gmail.com, or Duhe by emailing cduhe1104@yahoo.com. The public is also asked to visit the public event Facebook page by visiting Memorial Balloon Release for Patience and Faith.