Like many others, Webster Hill Elementary School math tutor Madelyn Filomeno was incredibly distraught and saddened about the horrific tragedy that occured at Sandy Hook Elementary School on Dec. 14.
She decided to use New Year's Eve as an occasion to pay tribute to the victims of the Newtown shooting, as well as to honor the memories of loved ones lost by her neighbors during 2012.
Filomeno created luminary bags with the names and ages of each child killed at Sandy Hook Elementary School, as well as personal bags dedicated to neighbors who also suffered a loss during the past year, said neighbor Lori Simons.
"We had neighbors who lost their best friend to cancer at 45, neighbors who had lost mothers, fathers and many more. [Madelyn Filomeno] dropped off the luminary to each person, asking if they would like to light it and put it out in front on New Year's Eve, in remembrance of their loved one," said Simons in an email.
The luminaries were lit at 7 p.m. on New Year's Eve. Simons, who lives across the street from Filomeno, said that there were about 50 bags in both of their yards. "It was a lovely and bittersweet sight in the snow," she said.
Simons said that their own children helped prepare the luminaries, decorating them, writing out the names and ages of the victims, and filling them with sand.
The luminary bags for the children who died were illuminated by snowglobes that changed colors. Single candles glowed in the bags for the adults.
"She made up individual bags for the mother and killer of Sandy Hook that said 'Peace,' as well as a bag with a beautiful prayer that started the line of luminaries last night," Simons said on Tuesday.
"It was a very moving and emotional tribute and truly exemplifies Madelyn's beautiful, generous and kind spirit and her loving heart as a teacher and neighbor in our community," said Simons.
"It takes a speciall person to take the time and effort these days to think of others in times of sadness, and reflects our sadness [about this tragedy] in the West Hartford community."