Tributes will flow for deceased loved ones

Victoria Hospice reaches out to grieving through Celebrate-A-Life

Marg Cooke

Marg Cooke

For people grieving the loss of a loved one, Christmas can be a time of anxiety, sadness or turmoil, rather than a time of celebration with family and friends.

Over the years, many Greater Victoria residents have found comfort in taking pen in hand and writing out a simple note in honour of someone they miss.

Every year, hundreds of these notes are hung on Christmas trees set up during Victoria Hospice’s Celebrate-A-Life event. The 26th annual tribute begins today (Nov. 30) at Hillside Centre near Sears, and continues until Dec. 10.

The cards remind people they are not alone in their grief.

“Grief is often a very isolating experience for people, so (the event) breaks some of that down,” said Marg Cooke, bereavement co-ordinator at Victoria Hospice, which cares for people in bereavement or who may be at the end of their lives.

Trained volunteers will welcome people who wish to sit and chat or perhaps take a quiet moment to remember someone special, answer questions about Hospice programs as well as accept donations in support of core services.

“We have people who have been coming for 25 years,” said Rob Janus, media relations manager at the palliative care organization. “I think some people see it as a tradition. It’s a special way to recognize someone who’s been important to them.”

The messages are very heartwarming, said Tamara Dean, who is organizing the event for the non-profit.

“You can have a message from a four-year-old who says, ‘I love you, Dad,’ or a wife married for 50 years (who lost her husband).”

For details, please visit www.VictoriaHospice.org or call 250-952-5720.

Memorial service details:

A Victoria Hospice Celebrate-A-Life memorial service is open to everyone, providing people with a special opportunity to remember a loved one. The hour-long non-denominational service happens Dec. 11, from 3 to 4 p.m. at the University of Victoria’s interfaith chapel on campus. For details, please call 250-952-5720 or email vic.hospice@viha.ca.