GUELPH – Through Hospice Wellington’s Tree of Remembrance, people can contribute to hospice, purchase a festive decoration, and honour someone they miss this holiday season.
“The Tree of Remembrance is a beautiful way to reflect on the past year, remember those we love, and make a moment in memory of a loved one who has passed,” said Hospice Wellington events planner Phil Gourlay.
“The holidays can be a time of wonderful celebration,” he said, but also “a time of loss and deep sadness.”
Hospice Wellington executive director Pat Stuart said the holiday season feels bittersweet for many people, as it brings back memories of loved ones they have lost.
The Tree of Remembrance campaign recognizes this duality and offers support for those who find the season difficult by giving people an opportunity to purchase a festive decoration in memoriam.
Stuart said the Tree of Remembrance initiative often leads people to tell her about memories they have of their loved ones, and that it always feels like a privilege to listen to these stories, and an honour to help people through their grief and bereavement.
Until Dec. 22, Hospice Wellington volunteers will be selling ornaments and knitted hats and scarves at Stone Road Mall in Guelph.
The ornaments are $12 each, and come with a memorial tag that can be filled out in honour of a loved one who has died.
Some people bring the memorial tags home to hang on their own trees, while others don them on Hospice Wellington’s Tree of Remembrance.
Hospice Wellington also brings the Tree of Remembrance initiative to a growing number of sites throughout Wellington County, including the Christmas Market at the Wellington County Museum and Archives on Dec. 1 and 2, in Mount Forest, at Sussman’s of Arthur, the Elora Legion in November, and Erin Legion later this month.
There is also a Tree of Remembrance in the Hospice Wellington residence.
Last year, the Tree of Remembrance initiative raised almost $50,000 for Hospice Wellington’s supportive programming.
The initiative is almost as old as Hospice Wellington itself – officials estimate it’s been going on for at least 40 years. Since 1980, Hospice Wellington has provided a range of services to the Guelph and Wellington community – completely free of charge.