The 23rd annual Memory Tree Celebration provided an opportunity for residents to find comfort and healing this holiday season as they remember and commemorate loved ones who have passed away.
Held at Williams Lake City Hall Sunday afternoon, the event is hosted by the Williams Lake Hospice Society.
Daphne Johnson, volunteer services co-ordinator with the WLHS, said each year the event brings people and the community together in what can be a difficult time of year for some.
“It’s a time for healing, and it lets us know we’re not alone,” Johnson said.
Williams Lake City Hall chambers saw a large turnout of residents gather for the ceremony, which saw an opening prayer from the Williams Lake Indian Band’s Virginia Gilbert, performances from the Cariboo Men’s Choir and the Williams Lake Pipe Band, the reading of the Memory Book and a luminary service concluding with the lighting of the Memory Tree outside City Hall.
For those wishing to, ornaments could be hung on a tree inside City Hall donning names of loved ones who’ve passed away.
“We had a good turnout, the weather was good for the lighting of the tree, and our luminary went well,” Johnson said.
During the luminary service guests lit candles outside City Hall while the tree was lit to the singing of Silent Night.
“Every year we add our client’s names to the book and people have a chance to add the names of those who have passed away, also,” Johnson said.
“Ornaments stay on the tree inside at City Hall until after New Year’s, then we pick them up, or people can come pick them up if they like.”
All of the proceeds from the Memory Tree Celebration stay in the community, Johnson added, and go toward services to help families during their end of life care of a loved one.