“During the holidays there is so much tradition and gift giving and time that used to include this family member who isn’t there any longer,” said Anne Norris, the manager of Samaritan North Lincoln Hospice and Home Health.
Samaritan’s hospice programs in Lincoln City, Newport and Albany host an event every November called Light Up A Life, to help families and friends who have lost a loved one.
Although not restricted to those who had a loved one in hospice, or even to those who lost someone recently, Norris notes that the Light Up A Life ceremony can become a focal point for those who might have difficulty getting through the holidays.
“Attending a ceremony like Light Up A Life, where a loved one is honored often helps give people ‘permission’ to move forward into the holiday season,” said Norris. “The only other formal ceremony to remember people is the memorial service right after death, and then there’s a big gap in time where there isn’t a place to say that person’s name in public or remember them.”
During the Light Up A Life ceremony, the names of those who have passed away are read aloud and an ornament with the loved one’s name hangs on a wall for family to take home as a keepsake. A donation of $25 per name is suggested. These generous donations support the hospice fund, which provides assistance to hospice patients and their families, such as gas and meal vouchers, therapeutic music and massage. It also supports training and supplies for hospice volunteers.
“Light Up A Life a nice way for families of hospice patients to reconnect with staff, but it’s also a time of support and warmth,” said Norris.
For those whom an event is not a good fit, Norris recommends other ways to remember a loved one:
• Pick a day and do something you and your loved one enjoyed doing together.
• Tell someone a special memory you have of your loved one.
• Light a candle or say a special prayer.
• Write down your favorite holiday memories with your loved one.
• Donate time, money, food or gifts to those around you who are in need, or toward causes your loved one supported.
• Attend a grief support group.
Samaritan’s hospice programs will hold Light Up A Life ceremonies on Nov. 11 in Newport, Nov. 18 in Lincoln City, and Nov. 20 in Lebanon.