Those grieving the loss of a loved one can seek comfort in a community event hosted by the Williams Lake Hospice Society this weekend.
The 23rd annual Memory Tree Celebration is taking place Sunday, Dec. 2 from 3 to 4:30 p.m. at Williams Lake City Hall.
WLHS volunteer services co-ordinator Daphne Johnson said the event provides an opportunity to remember and commemorate those who have passed away and join others for a service of remembrance and healing.
“I believe it’s a time for everyone to gather and support each other with their losses and know they are not alone,” said Johnson, who has been at the WLHS for almost five years, and will be grieving the loss of a loved one this year herself as well.
“Christmas can be a very difficult time. This [event] is an action to help people mourn.”
The service will include performances by the Williams Lake Pipe Band and Cariboo Men’s Choir as well as a poem reading and lighting of candles in remembrance of loved ones.
Johnson said all names written in the Memory Book will be read aloud before the service is moved outside City Hall where there will be a community luminary service and tree lighting ceremony.
Last year the names of 405 loved ones were read out from the Memory Book.
Those wishing to add a loved one’s name to the book and an ornament which will hang on a tree inside Williams Lake City Hall, can do so by calling the society at 250-392-5430. The last day to do so would be Friday, Nov. 30.
So far this year the hospice society has assisted and provided end-of- life support to 97 clients and their families.
“It’s my passion,” Johnson said of why she works at hospice.
“Families are so grateful for the support they receive. We get thank you cards and donations, and that’s all showing us that we’ve made an impact in their lives.”
Currently there are two suites and a family room at Deni House that families can access. As well, a room in Cariboo Memorial Hospital is currently being converted into a palliative care room which the hospice society will furnish and provide other comforts such as tea and coffee. Other items the society provides clients includes sheepskins, safety monitors, bed alarms and, hopefully in the future, cafeteria vouchers.
Johnson said donations from the Memory Tree Celebration will go toward items and services to help families during the end of life care of a loved one.