Hospice holding annual Memory Tree Ceremony

A way to honour loved ones who passed away

The 100 Mile & District Hospice Society are gearing up to hold their annual Hospice Memory Tree ceremony.

The event is a way to honour memories of someone people cared about but who is no longer there, says Caroline Sharpe in an email.

“Twenty-six years ago the [then] recently formed 100 Mile & District Hospice Society realised that the season of Christmas was not always a happy one for the bereaved. Usually, this time is one of joy with families and friends but very often someone is missing from the celebrations.”

They decided people needed a way to remember their loved ones, she says. At that time, people were asked to write the name of the person they’re remembering in a book and give a donation to the Hospice and, in return, a bulb would be placed on a big tree by the fire hall.

Due to safety reasons people can take a bulb home nowadays but don’t put one on a tree at the fire hall, she says.

“Nowadays the donors can receive a bulb for their own tree at home if they wish and also an ornament to hang on the tree. But the names are still written in a book and early in December a ceremony is held at which all the names are read out, there is music and poetry and the tree outside the fire hall is lit.”

This year Hospice Society volunteers will be at the Cariboo Mall on Nov. 24 and 25. from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. The following week they will be at Save-On-Foods on Dec. 4 and 7 from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. There will be a book in which people can write names of the ones they are remembering and symbolic Christmas tree light bulbs which can be put on the tree in the Mall.

There will also be a basket of bulbs and a book for names at Donex on the back counter from Nov. 17, according to Sharpe.

“Donations to Hospice are used to fund equipment for patients in the hospital or their homes, education for volunteers, books and DVDs for the community and for the bereavement support groups which are held on a regular basis.”

This year the Memory Tree Ceremony will be held in the Health Centre cafeteria where the names of those remembered will be read out, there will be music and readings and the large tree across the road outside the fire hall will come alive with lights, she says.

“Those present share tears and companionship and keep the memories alive. This is a community event and it has grown over the last twenty-six years; everyone is welcome to attend.”

For further information, contact the Hospice office at 250-395-7680. All messages are answered.

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