Christmas in Nanaimo: Hospice celebrates life at Christmas

Annual gathering provides an opportunity to honour the memory of a lost loved one.

When the family circle is broken by loss, the holidays can be a time some people are not looking forward to.

Nanaimo Community Hospice Society tries to ease that pain through opportunities to honour a lost loved one.

The Gathering to Remember takes place Dec. 4 from 2:30-4:30 p.m. at St. Paul’s Anglican Church, 100 Chapel St.

It’s an afternoon of music, inspirational readings and candlelight remembrance to honour and celebrate the lives of those whose memories people hold close in their hearts.

“We believe by creating that kind of a moment for them, they can include the other pieces of the holiday as well,” said Wendy Pratt, hospice executive director. “It supports the community by allowing people who have suffered a loss over the last year – or want to remember their loved one every year – to remember in a special way.”

Hospice also hosts Celebrate a Life at Woodgrove Centre from Dec. 2-18.

People can write the name of a loved one on a memory card, place it on the tree, and let the light shine in memory and celebration.

A heart ornament or elegant votive will be available by donation.  These are symbols of remembrance that can be added to a family tree.

Pratt said while Celebrate a Life is a fundraiser,  it’s more of an opportunity to create awareness of hospice programs and allow people to remember and celebrate

“The whole family will come  to remember grandma and put her name on the tree,” she said. “They’ll remember that hospice helped them and they want to give something back while honouring the memory of their loved one. And you  don’t have to make a donation to participate.”

New this year to the hospice celebration is the Canadian Country Christmas Concert, 7 p.m. Dec. 19 at the Port Theatre. It features Duane Steel, Jake Mathews, Samanatha King, Pear and Gary Fjellgaard.

“We wanted to bring something more to the Celebrate a Life event and having the joy of a Christmas concert seemed just the right thing,” said Pratt.

The Celebrate a Life trees will be moved to the Port Theatre from Woodgrove for the concert.

Nanaimo Community Hospice is at 1729 Boundary Ave. For more information on its programs, please call 250-758-8857 or go to www.nanaimohospice.com.