MANZANITA, OR (KPTV) – A candlelight vigil was held Wednesday evening to honor two children who were swept out to sea on the Oregon coast over the weekend.
The tragedy unfolded Saturday, south of Cannon Beach. That’s when a sneaker wave pulled Jeremy Stiles and his two children, 7-year-old Lola and 4-year-old William, into the ocean. The little girl didn’t survive, and the boy was never found.
“What is called for now, is compassion in the face of an unspeakable loss,” said a speaker at Wednesday night’s vigil. “None of us knew these people, and yet here we are.”
Many in the room, illuminated by candles, don’t even know the Portland family. Still, they feel the pain and heartbreak.
“I could hear during, when we had the lights off and the candles on, the crying and how deeply it impacted them… the outpouring of love was mind-blowing,” said Vaneta Lower.
Lower said she was touched by all the light and love inside this room.
She works with the mother, Jamie, and has even played on beach with Lola and William.
“I just want people to know that I don’t want them to feel like they weren’t loved or that this was a careless act. This was, it was Jamie’s birthday the day before… and it was a special time for them,” Lower said.
Their memory here, she says, lives on forever.
“I just really want to make sure that everyone knows that Lola and Will were held deeply, closely, consistently, regularly, often and that they were deeply, deeply loved,” Lower said.
She added, “What we do have in common here living on the coast is the ocean, and it’s beautiful but it can be brutal.”
The father, Jeremy, is in the hospital recovering.
Meanwhile, a GoFundMe page has been created to help support the family with funeral expenses and grief and trauma support for the parents.
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