While the holidays are a joyful time for many, those who have experienced a loss may feel all the more lonely or saddened.
Finding community with others and taking time to remember their loved one in a safe, welcoming environment can help.
“The holidays can be difficult if you have experienced a loss, but you are not alone,” says Sands Victoria manager Laura Van Sprang, inviting the community to the annual Candlelight Memorial Service at the chapel on Friday, Dec. 14. “Everyone who is in the room has experienced a loss and for many, this will be their first Christmas without their loved one. There’s a common bond.”
For Sands, whose staff will all be on hand for the service, it’s a way of giving back to the families they’ve served in the previous year or so, but all are welcome, Van Sprang notes.
It can be rewarding to see how far families have come through their grief.
“The first time we meet people is at their time of loss, so to reconnect with them six, eight or 12 months later and see the progress they’ve made in their grief is comforting for us. The relationship doesn’t end with the funeral service. We’re here for families throughout the grieving process and beyond,” Van Sprang says.
“It’s just such a community of healing, and really shows that we’re all in this together.”
A time to remember
Upon entering the funeral home, guests will find their personalized candle with their loved one’s name to take into the chapel with them. At a special time in the service of remembrance, the families are invited to bring the candle to the front place it on the memorial table and light it. Those who would prefer to wait for a quieter and more private moment at the end of the service are welcome to do so as well.
The power of these services is remarkable, and the mood noticeably shifts during the reception, when people often begin sharing stories and connecting in a lighter atmosphere, Van Sprang reflects.
“I think one of the most powerful benefits people find from these services is that they realize they’re not alone. Losing someone special in our lives can leave a void, and coming together can help fill that void through the support of our community.”
The memorial service, which will include light refreshments, live music, and readings and reflections, is free, but guests are asked to bring an unwrapped toy for C-FAX Santas Anonymous, who Sands is proud to support.
All welcome to the 7 p.m. service, but please RSVP to 250-388-5155 by Dec. 11.
The holidays can be a difficult time after a loss, but you are not alone.