Hospice volunteer Lauren Bock lights the candles representing grief, courage, memories, hope and love, while Caroline Sharpe reads the names of those in hospice’s care this year. Melissa Smalley photo.

More than 70 pay tribute at Memory Tree

By Melissa Smalley

Community members gathered at the 100 Mile Hospital Friday to honour and reflect upon the memories of loved ones over the holiday season.

The 100 Mile District Hospice Palliative Care Society hosted its 27th annual Memory Tree lighting ceremony Dec. 6, and welcomed more than 70 people who gathered to pay tribute to those who can’t be with them over the Christmas season.

“It’s an opportunity to come together in a safe place and honour those who are no longer with us,” explains hospice society program director Tracy Haddow.

For the past few weeks, hospice volunteers have been out in the community selling bulbs to be placed on the tree in the hospital cafeteria. Each bulb represents a person whose memory is cherished by those they’ve left behind.

The evening began with the lighting of five candles – representing grief, courage, memories, hope and love – followed by a poetry reading and song. Friends and family members in attendance were then invited to place their bulb on the cafeteria tree in honour of the loved one they were remembering.

Next, the crowd moved outside where the names of those who have gone through hospice care in 100 Mile were read aloud, followed by the lighting of the hospice tree next to the fire hall.

“The tree symbolically carries those memories throughout the holiday season,” Tracy notes.

Funds raised through the Memory Tree celebration will help the hospice society to fund equipment for patients in the hospital or their homes, as well as education for volunteers and books and DVDs for the community. The event also helps to raise awareness about the many services provided by the hospice society, including bereavement support groups, which are held on a regular basis in the community.

To find out more about the hospice society, call 250-395-7680 or email 100milehospice@shawbiz.ca.


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