By Juli McDonald

NEWTON (CBS) – Two hundred fourteen candles lit up the steps to Newton City Hall Tuesday night. A bright, beautiful scene – representing bright, beautiful lives – Newton neighbors taken by Covid-19.

“I miss them both very much, very dearly. It’s a big hole in my heart,” said Bruce Miller.

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Last spring, Miller lost both of his parents to the virus. George, and then Bernice, died without family holding their hands, or kissing their foreheads. Now Bruce looks for comfort in the couple’s joys.

“He loved food. He loved being with people. He always had a smile on his face. He was proud veteran too, he served in WWII. She loved her family very much. That was the center of the universe for her,” Miller shared.

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For some Newton neighbors, this vigil was the first opportunity to remember and honor their loved ones with community.

“The first funeral we were not allowed to get out of the car. It was a cold rainy day and we sat in the car and watched from a distance,” recalled Laya Steinberg, of her in-laws’ services.

After months of grieving in isolation, this moment with their city brings some peace in the midst of pain.

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“It’s not the way you’re mean to say goodbye to loved ones,” she added.

Juli McDonald