More than a dozen lights flickered from a table Monday evening at Rose Arbor Assisted Living, each one a representative of a life remembered.
We really believe that during this busy time of the holidays, we need to take some time to reflect, Carollyn Robinson said Monday. Holidays are not always a happy time for everyone. It brings back memories of those who are no longer with us.
Robinson is the director of Vange John Memorial Hospice, and Monday, the organization hosted its 15th annual Candlelight Memorial Service.
Fifteen years ago, a group from our hospice realized that after our work with patients who are terminally ill, we also need an opportunity to remember those loved ones who have died, she said. We think this is a great way to start the holiday season with remembrance.
The service began with a brief history of the program, musical selections and a message before the Lighting of the Candles. Audience members were invited to step to the front of the room, light a candle and say the name of a loved one. Stories about that person also were encouraged.
Theres something about being able to share our lives with each other. Theres healing for us, but theres also healing for everyone else, said Scott Zielke, who led the lighting. I encourage people to share memories of those who are no longer with us, especially around the holidays, to keep those memories alive.
About 40 people attended the service, and more than a dozen candles were lit.
We appreciate the support of the community in all our activities, Robinson said. If people didnt get an opportunity to come to our memorial service this year, we hope theyll consider it next year.
This month, the hospice also is running its annual Light Up a Life fundraiser, which will continue until Christmas.
Part of a national fundraising program, the event gives people a chance to participate by purchasing a light and ornament for a memorial tree. That tree will be placed in Victory Baptist Church on Main Street this week, and all names received by Dec. 20 will be broadcast in a special reading dubbed the Recognition of Light at 6 p.m. Christmas Eve on KOHU 1360 AM.
This is another way of remembering and honoring people who have passed while also raising money for hospice, which then goes back to our services, Robinson said. The suggested donation for inclusion in Lights Up a Life is $10.
For more information, contact Vange John Memorial Hospice at 541-667-3542.