PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Hundreds of people gathered for another vigil, this time in Portland, to pay their respects to a family who lost both of their children to the Pacific Ocean.
Seven-year-old Lola and 4-year-old William were swept out to sea at Cannon Beach on Saturday. Their father, Jeremy Stiles, was holding both children while walking on an off-beach trail when a sneaker wave came up and pulled them out.
Lola and Jeremy were rescued but Lola later died at a hospital. William’s body has not been recovered. As of Wednesday, Jeremy was still recovering from hyperthermia at Seaside Hospital.
Portland’s Montavilla community held a vigil on Thursday night at the school Lola attended — Vestal Elementary School. Organizers asked guests to wear Lola and William’s favorite color, purple.
There were tears and smiles as kids and adults shared memories of the children. Speakers read from a note written by their mom, Jamie Stiles, who wrote that the two were always up for an adventure together.
“Your words have been bubbling up like a big wave, bigger than the one that took my babies out to sea and those words continue to wash over me again and again as I navigate my way out of the darkness,” read the speaker.
Members of the community also signed a memorial card in the hallway for the children.
Dozens of people filled a room at the Hoffman Center for the Arts in Manzanita for a vigil on Wednesday. Most of those in attendance didn’t know the Stiles family but wanted them to know they were grieving with them. Letters and thoughts were shared from people throughout the coastal community who have been rattled by the tragedy.
Family members set up a GoFundMe account to help them through this time.
Watch the full vigil