100 Mile District Hospice Palliative Care Society held their annual Memory Tree ceremony. (File photo - 100 Mile Free Press)

More than 80 gather for Memory Tree light-up

‘Looking around the room, you could see people embracing one another’

An annual holiday memorial by the 100 Mile and District Hospice Palliative Care Society has been keeping memories alive.

Locals gathered at the 100 Mile District Hospital for the Memory Tree lighting ceremony on Dec. 6., welcoming more than 80 people who paid tribute.

“It gives the community an opportunity to honour their loved ones and the memories of them,” said Tracey Haddow, executive director to the hospice.

It’s been a tradition for nearly three decades.

Haddow said hospice volunteers were 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 still here. The ceremony includes the lighting of five candles – representing grief, courage, memories, hope and love – followed by poetry and some songs.

“People have an opportunity to embrace the fact that we don’t forget, whether it was a month or 20 years ago,” said Haddow. “We don’t forget and it’s important that we acknowledge that there is somebody missing in our lives and we still care.”

Names are read from the memory book and those in attendance are invited to place their bulb on the cafeteria tree in honour of the loved one they were remembering.

Following the ceremony, 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 at the fire hall will carry those lights,” said Haddow. “The lights are kept on throughout the Holiday season and every light has a purpose – to remember loved ones who aren’t here.”

Overall, Haddow said the evening was a very nice tribute.

“Looking around the room, you could see, people embracing one another,” said Haddow. “I think the people left feeling really good about the evening.”

Next year, the hospice is looking to add more lights to the tree outside the fire hall.

“We would like to see a lot more lights.”

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